Santa Barbara Harbor
“All right mates! Let’s go.” Rob, an Aussie, called out to us when we parked in front of an apartment complex in Santa Barbara.
We jumped into his car without unloading ours. Off we went to the harbor where he said his wife Debbie was waiting for us on their sailboat.
That’s the first time I met the couple who would become our close friends. It was “BK” before kids — and around 35 years ago. My husband and Rob met on the East Coast training with a large brokerage firm. They had hit it off and decided we all needed to get together once they returned to California.
On the boat, Rob shouted orders like “Skirt the jib!” “Ready about!” or “Trim the main.”
My husband and I were expected to jump in and help, but we didn’t now what to do. Debbie showed us “the ropes” and how to respond to each command.
Years before, I had taken sailing at the University of Washington in college with my brother. We were in a small sailboat and I remember getting hit in the head by the boom. My earrings popped out and a clump of hair ripped out of my head onto the boom as we “came about.” I had a small amount of experience — which was more than my husband had.
We soon learned that this was not a leisurely sail. We found ourself in a Santa Barbara Yacht Club race!
That weekend was the beginning of years of friendship. In the early years, we visited them and stayed in their apartment because they were too busy to visit us. Rob left the brokerage business and they opened a savory Aussie pie shop that sold hand-held pies about the size of hamburgers.
My favorite pies were scallop and cheese, spinach and feta — and best of all — Shepherd’s pie. The pie shop was the first of several entrepreneurial businesses.
I remember one afternoon driving to a beach for a picnic. We got stuck in traffic that wasn’t moving. They pulled off the road and set up a picnic on a red and white checkered tablecloth with smoked oysters, tomatoes, cheese, crackers, and a bottle of “cab sav” in a field dotted with cows in the far off distance.
Time spent with Rob and Debbie is always an adventure. I can’t wait to see them in August on our vacation.
My husband and me on our friends’ sailboat decades after meeting them.
Rob at the tiller with Debbie.
Fred and Honey, our friends’ Galahs. Rob had to give up his Australian citizenship to bring them to the U.S.
How did you meet your close friends from decades ago? Do you stay in touch today?