In my field, we are in the middle of tax season. The best news we give to a client is that their money is in Safe Harbor, a special place where part of their investment is recoverable and not taxed. It doesn't happen often, but it's a welcome place financially.
Also in the middle of tax season I take St. Patrick's day off. I read this week that Massachusetts has the largest number of Irish residents in the country. I'm not surprised - I so wanted to be Irish like everyone else growing up. Now I travel back to my hometown in Massachusetts to experience a traditional Irish feast with my beau and his brother, the in-house chef in their fine old treasure-filled home. This year we were joined by an old family friend.
Lunch was a marvel. The chef made the traditional Irish meal of corned beef, cabbage, onions, turnips, potatoes. I brought the Irish soda bread. We don't drink ale but I had a small glass of red wine and afterwards I was brought a cup of Earl Grey, in a usually tea-less house. The other guest was a joy to talk to. We touched upon many subjects and at one point the British monarchy came up, and the guest, with shy reservation mentioned that she loved Prince Charles. The brothers found shark food in this comment and instantly feigned an "outraged" air and jokingly grilled and teased her. We all laughed uproariously. Sometime later, she noticed a vintage photograph of a handsome relative over my left shoulder and said, "Oh...I just love the face of the man in that picture...he's so handsome!" My host's leather chair creaked as he leaned away from it to crane his neckand peer around me. "Is it Charles???", he asked innocently. We all burst into gales of laughter that I think they could hear on the street. Great fun was had by the four of us.
When it was time for me to make my departure, my beau donned his wool coat and walked me to my car. Surrounding the bothers' property are the tallest oak trees I've ever seen on city residential land. The sun was that bright late winter afternoon kind - blinding, useless...but so beautiful it made everything sparkle. Soon I was wrapped in my beau's arms and then enveloped in his open coat. I barely reach his shoulders and as he held me, my chin was awkwardly tipped upward. I noticed the oaks' spindly branches and the rapturous rays of light stabbing through them in the icy air. In that moment I realized I would not soon forget this day, the sensation of iron arms holding me close, of being tucked inside a warm coat - the sun, the trees, the terrific old house with a personality all its own. And of course, the hours of convivial conversation and laughter that went before. Once in a while, life throws you a bone for all its struggles, for its thousands of daily inequities, for the sadness that accompanies our inevitable wrenching losses. We find we have sailed into still waters, where we rest for a time in safe harbor, alongside the fellow travelers we admire and love the most.