There's no missing Garr: he can be found on any day, every day, all day, pushing his daughter Toni around the neighborhood in the stroller. The world is their playground.
I love Garr and Toni. I love Toni's mom Adrien too but I don't see her as often. Their family lives around the corner from ours - literally - and sometimes when Andrien comes home from work she parks right in front of our place and so there have been a couple times when I've witnessed the happy family reunion at the end of the work day. There have been many times where I've run into Garr - sometimes alone, but usually pushing Toni - and chatted about whatever is going on in the neighborhood or in our lives. He's a musician, a Seattle guy, always in sandals and showing some chest hair. He's so affable and easy to get along with. And Toni is one of very few children I know who is as verbally precocious as our son.
Garr is the one who told me that our neighborhood used to be movie studio property where the bigwigs would have secret louche parties. He knows our mail carrier's name (Lizzie). Garr has street smarts.
Garr invited us to Toni's third birthday party and we attended this past weekend. It was our first time visiting their home. Sometimes if we are playing in our front yard we will invite Toni and Garr in to play with us. I was pleasantly surprised to find that their home has a beautiful backyard with Adirondack chairs and garden furniture. It was a wonderful party with many toys for the kids: balls to throw, bikes to try, whistles to toot.
I met a woman named Lindsey at the party, a white-haired doyenne in a blue pantsuit. She was a reporter for 48 years with the Associated Press; recently retired, she's working on her book. She covered the Manson trials, the OJ trials, the MJ trials, and more. She met Garr's father - a Broadway actor, who married the star of a show they both appeared in - when she was in California to cover Manson. Garr's father was a hairdresser at the hotel who cut the hair for all the reporters. Lindsey met Garr when he was a little child.
Also at the party were Garr's neighbors Alexis and Sierra who are artists. Alexis does wigs and make-up along with much more design and Sierra is a sculptor who makes works that resemble skulls, among others. They invited me into their apartment to show me a YouTube video they appeared in and I was impressed by their tasteful home and the original artwork on display. Laurel visited them too before the party was over and she was really quite taken with these accomplished ladies. Just another wonderful attribute of our neighborhood.
It turns out that Alexis has been friends for multiple decades across many time zones with Robert, whom I know from a networking group. So Robert was at the party too. It was just this tranquil garden party with happy, healthy children and it felt like a snapshot in time, of being in just the right place at the right time and feeling like the years of building a community are bearing fruit.
And Fenton enjoyed throwing a tennis ball for the dog.