It feels like forever ago, but really it has been about 8 years ago now that I met my friend Melissa. Our sons were on the same little league baseball team. Growing up in LA county, baseball is a dry season sport. Heck, any sport in LA is a dry season sport. But that’s definitely not the case here in the Northwest, where baseball, as a spring sport, runs through the very worst of our weather as spring is known for its pretty much perpetual drizzle and gray. I had seen Melissa at the games and thought she’d be someone I’d like to know better, so one rainy Saturday, as we were huddled under a covered picnic area at a nearby park on a wet, chilly day, I presumptively moved my chair beside Melissa’s and another mom’s and just joined in the conversation–a spot of warmth as we were surrounded by the soggy cold day.
As is typical for what I now know of Melissa, she embraced my joining in and we’ve been dear friends ever since. In this world so populated by inwardly turned, selfishly motivated people, Melissa is a rare gem that is all about you. Every conversation, every email that I share with Melissa leaves me feeling like the most astoundingly talented, clever artist–even though I full well know I’m not–and the wonderful thing is that, over 8 years of the honor of her friendship and seeing her interact with other friends, it’s not just me. Melissa is one of the rare people who move through the world with an outward focus and a sincere love for and interest in people. Melissa is a treasure to anyone who has the pleasure of knowing her.
So it was truly my pleasure when Melissa asked me for a birthday cake for her sweet, smart, quiet-spirited son, whose temperament is so similar to that of my own son, Owen. Neil is not the kind of kid who will grab for your attention in a crowded room. But should you make your way through the throng and engage him in conversation, you’ll immediately sense his intelligence and tender compassion and see that, like his mom, he too is a gem.
It was great fun to make for Neil a chocolate sour cream cake with salted caramel frosting, drizzled with salted caramel, dusted with flaky sea salt, and encircled in an armor of smashed Heath bars. A perfectly sensible choice for people with such richness of spirit.