Our friends lost power in a recent storm. Bad enough in this heat but they were also leaving on a five-week trip abroad four days hence.  “Do you have room in your fridge and freezer?” We made room quickly and then made plans to have Shabbat dinner together the following evening. Our house. Their food and ours. M. would cook. The menu came together swiftly: soup, green salad, pizza for an appetizer, beyond burgers, green beans, challah, fruit and babka for dessert.

I ran errands all morning and into the early afternoon. When I returned M. was just arriving. Soon enough the house filled with the delicious aroma of cream of asparagus soup.  While he worked in one part of the kitchen, I set the table, made a green salad and a fruit salad. We sat down to eat at 6:30. In addition to the traditional Shabbat blessings, I offered an impromptu blessing for their upcoming trip. The multi-course meal was delicious. M.’s choice of wines was, as always, terrific. By the time they departed, their electricity had returned. Eggs and milk went back home with them along with one of the challahs and half of a watermelon.

We often have Shabbat dinner together, their house or ours. M. usually brings wine and his legendary challah. My contribution is often a big fruit salad and/or green salad. Yet this most recent dinner had a different flavor. We all remarked upon it. There was  something noticeably deeper, more special and meaningful. Perhaps it was the ad hoc nature of the meal. On a dime we had joined forces to turn inconvenience and uncertainty into a serendipitous and festive dinner. But there was something else, too. Our friendship spans three decades now. We have seen one another through the joys and sorrows visited upon us all. Our children remain friends and now our granddaughters are friends, too. Our friendship is palpable, evidential on so many planes. I think what we all felt is that we are there for one another. On a moment’s notice one of us can say, “We. need…” and the others are ready before even hearing what is needed.