Today I am reflecting on the reality of art and culture in a single subject, my friend Kate. Kate and I have been good, close friends since 1973. In fact, she remains one of my three closest girlfriends. She is 48 today.
Kate is definitely a Kate, not a Kathy, not a Kat, not even a Katherine, which is her given name. Kate was the girl who melted Barbie-doll heads in a saucepan, then stuck the saucepan in the freezer to hide the evidence. Kate was the girl almost sent home for bare arms in eighth grade. A borrowed white cardigan came to the rescue. Kate was the girl who voluntarily took a trip down the laundry chute at one of her now legendary parties in Lake Forest. I so wish I had a picture of her legs hanging out into the kitchen. Kate was the girl who would make you a custom Gingerbread man in the likeness of the boy you least wanted to remember. Kate was the girl whose Halloween costumes contained the least amount of fabric. Kate was also the girl who didn’t miss class, and regularly achieved good grades.
Adult life has not spared her adult sadness. Too early, she lost her sister, best friend and confidante, Megan. Kate herself narrowly escaped death two years ago when, during a storm, a large tree crushed the car she and her daughter were sitting in. It remains one of the few occasions on which I am grateful for large, gas-guzzling vehicles. Kate was one of the earliest friends to see and express concern about a darker road I was once on.
Kate is a wonderful wife to a wonderful husband, with whom she is raising four happy, funny, inquisitive children. She is one of the few people I know that reads the newspaper, in print form, in entirety, every day. She reads books voraciously, loves music, loves art and loves fun. Considering the uncertain times in which we live, there is a consistency about Kate that I have come to rely on. She is a touchstone.
The balancing act of life is an Art. I admire Kate’s ability to navigate it with tenacity and pluck. Happy Birthday!