Tuesday, August 26, 2008

An A-mazing Afternoon

Sunday, I had brunch with my dear friend of 17 years Marilyn, in town from Ohio. It was a very special afternoon for us, because we were joined by our mutual friend, actor A Martinez and his family.

This get together was nearly two decades in the making. Marilyn and I connected back in 1991 over our shared affection for A and his work on the NBC soap opera “Santa Barbara.” As I blogged last week (http://melissa-singlegalinthecity.blogspot.com/2008/08/brunch-with-one-of-my-heroes.html), A and I became friends after meeting at the 1988 Daytime Emmys. Marilyn too has become good friends with him.

Still, with Marilyn in Ohio, A in California and me in New York, the stars never aligned for all of us to be in the same place at the same time. Serendipity finally smiled upon us on the other day, with an afternoon that was more than worth the wait.

While I had met A’s delightful wife Leslie years ago at the Emmys, this was my first encounter with their children--Cody, 21, Devon, 19, and Ren, 14. All three of them are exceptional--engaging, intelligent people who have inherited their parents’ warmth and compassion, not to mention their father’s acting and musical talents.

Over a three-hour brunch at Arte CafĂ© on the Upper West Side--which serves a brioche French Toast with apple cinnamon sauce that is to die for--the free-flowing conversation covered a lot of ground. Devon mentioned her excitement about going to see “Rent” with her siblings, while the rest of the Martinez clan raved so much about “Osage: August County” that I’m going to see it this weekend. Cody shared his poignant take on the artistic struggles of a musician while Ren told us about building homes this summer on a Navajo reservation.

By the time we got around to sharing an assortment of desserts--cheesecake, chocolate mousse, caramel gelato, and passionfruit sorbet--I felt like I had come to know another side of A. Through the years, he has spoken at great length and with great affection for his family. Now I know why.

With hugs all around, we parted outside the restaurant, but not before taking one last picture…

Together At Last: Marilyn, A and me

As Marilyn and I walked away, we marveled over our memorable afternoon. And I felt thankful all over again for the blessing of good friends, including one who just happens to be one of the greatest stars in the galaxy.

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