You gotta have friends…that’s what gets us through the days. Linda, whom I’ve known for more than fifty years, visited for the holidays. I didn’t get the usual holiday blues this year. We ate out, shopped, saw movies, went to Suns games, and talked.

Security is an issue when you live alone. I live in a small condo complex. My next door neighbor is about thirty. She caught a guy breaking into her house this week! This was truly shocking as I often go across the way to visit another neighbor (Donna,) or walk the dog, without locking my door. No more.

Donna’s boyfriend was worried enough that he hired a locksmith to install new locks on all of her doors. While I was out shopping, having dinner with one of my sons and his wife, and going to the Suns/Celtics game, Donna decided to get new locks for my doors as an early birthday present. She called to tell me that the new key would be in the usual place in my front patio area. When Linda and I returned, about ten p.m., from the great game (Suns rule!) we couldn’t get into the house. Donna had locked the front gate and the locksmith had locked the dead bolt on the door from the garage to the house. What to do?

I called Donna on the phone but she didn’t answer. I went over to her house. The lights were still on but I couldn’t get up to her door because her patio gate was locked. I called and called her name and her dog’s name, but to no avail. She tends to keep the television at high volume, so even she was awake, and I doubted she would hear me calling to her. I telephoned several more times, but no answer.

What to do? Of course we would have to figure out a way to get into the front patio. The gate is six feet high. Linda suggested that we upend the pink recycle bin and one of us scale the wall and get the key. As I tried to climb on the plastic bin, I could feel the middle start to cave in. Linda volunteered to try since she is inches shorter than me and pounds lighter. She was able to get on the bin and climb on top of the wall. Unfortunately there was a large clay pot with a huge plant in front of that part of the wall. She was able to move the plant but not the pot. I handed her the bin and she threw it down inside the patio. It was off center and wobbly because the pot was in the way. She managed to land without breaking or spraining any part of her body and to retrieve the key. Success!

This morning Linda and I went in the complex’s spa. The outside temperature was forty-one degrees, but we didn’t freeze walking down to the pool area in our suits, I had on my fleece bathrobe. A vision of beauty, I’m sure. The spa is heated and I turned on the jets. What relaxation! We took our hot tea and coffee with us. Total relaxation. I’ll have to do this more often. We were so heated up from the spa water that it wasn’t cold getting out or walking back to my condo. I’ve made a resolution to do this more often this year.

I was sad to drop Linda off at the airport. She thought a week might have been too long a visit, but it wasn’t. I feel honored and lucky to have good friends here in Phoenix and far away.

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