There is no tidy way to wrap up the extraordinary gift of friendship, too big to box up, too golden a light for mere gift bags and ribbons! 

Let me tell you about my friend, Mary, a non-cottager instantly saddled with all the responsibilities of cottage ownership, a non-pet-person who inherited a dog in the blink of an eye, and a sociable, people-person who became a temporary recluse. Two days ago when my guy ended up in ER, I abandoned Mary, leaving her with the dog at the island cottage while I raced to the city, first by boat and then car, to be with  him.  Did I mention Mary is not a boater either? 

Last night her hubby made it up there to fetch her back. (Yeah for water taxis!)  Today she makes preparations to leave doing all the things necessary to close up and secure the property.  Instead of being the cherished guest, with her feet up, relaxing and sipping a cool one, she’ll strip the beds in the cottage and guest bunkie and grab all the used towels (no laundry facilities on the island).  She’ll also pack what I left in my panic: suitcase, camera equipment, books and lap top.  She’ll lock up all the doors and windows of all buildings on the property, remove the garbage and lock it in the shed safe from animals and shut down the water system. On top of all that, she’s developed a painful case of pink eye, the dog has been throwing up, and it’s raining up there.