Two Men and Three Caps

As an adult, I’ve been single more than I’ve been partnered. Here’s one thing I’ve learned: it’s difficult to make new friends with a married couple.

I can be friends with a couple if I already know one of them well, and then that person introduces me to their spouse. But if that’s not the situation, if we’re all new to each other, it tends not to work.

But I have made new friends with a couple!

Their names are Robert and Saul, and they moved into my condo building about a year ago.

We met at a building function, maybe the annual holiday party, and Saul and I were talking. It was one of those conversations you have to fulfill the obligation of getting to know the other residents. Then you find you are enjoying the conversation so much you decide to stay in the conversation and forget the other residents.

Saul and I met several times in the hallways when Saul was taking their pug, Oliver, for a walk. We talked about our apartments (that’s what we call them, even though they’re condos) and Saul asked if I had seen theirs when the previous owners opened it up for a cocktail reception after a prior year holiday party. (Their unit had been gut renovated and, based on the photos on, was gorgeous.)

I said I had not seen it.

Saul said I must see their place, and I said they must see mine—”it’s gut renovated, too!”

That is how I came to have coffee cake and tea (delicious tea!) with Robert and Saul and how they came to have lemonade (with lemon slices!) with me.

Recently, Saul and Robert had a flood in their unit. Their new wood floors warped, their hand-knotted rugs were sent off for special care.

I wanted to do something nice for them, as a friend would. Armfuls of flowers wouldn’t be enough.

I made them cookies.

The recipe is one I’ve been making since I was in college, adapted over the years. They’re oatmeal cookies with peanut butter, pecans, and semi-sweet chocolate chips. If you don’t overbake them, they’re delicious.

Because the recipe makes six dozen, I gave Robert and Saul the cookies in a big ceramic cookie jar. (Yes, I’ve tried cutting the recipe, but it never comes out the same.)

They loved the cookies.

Saul said he wanted to think about what to put in the jar when he returned it.

“Saul, your place is a mess. I don’t want you to make anything to put in the jar. I’ll just swing by and pick it up.”

When Saul opened the door, he held the jar with both hands, eyes dancing.

“Better than food!” is what he said as he handed it to me.

Inside were three caps. One pinwale corduroy (for Fall), one madras print (for Summer), and one from the Salty Dog on Martha’s Vineyard (where they know I’ll be vacationing with friends in a few months).

My hair has been continuing its retreat, and I pretty much wear hats or scarves all the time now. What I like about these caps is they’re not a covering. They’re a decoration.

Chewing the Cud of Good

Closeup of green and maroon coleus leaves
Thankful for new friends.



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