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Senior Moments: Crying in the Fire Garden and feeling warmed by the memories

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The Fire Garden made me cry. The music misted my eyes as the words slipped from the fire and tumbled down the road to take my hand. I had come light of heart to the Lightscape show at the Los Angeles Arboretum, happy to have found a safe outdoor holiday event.

But the unexpected melody and lyrics of “Auld Lang Syne” brought me to a deeper place: “Should auld acquaintance be forgot…”

My life in a one-act play began unfolding scenes.

Knowing it would be chilly, I had wrapped up in my fur vest before I left home. Of course, it’s not real fur; it actually came from Costco. All four of them did. They were a gift from Louise to the other three of us in what became known as The Squares.

“The four of us are a perfect square,” she said one day and the name stuck.

Whenever one of us was sick, sad or celebrating, the other three were there. Tonie folded our square into a triangle on New Year’s Eve 10 years ago. We all wore our faux vests to her funeral and Louise carried Tonie’s. A few years later, when Louise reduced us to a duo, Zandra and I continued to call ourselves The Squares. Until she announced that she was leaving this world for her next adventure.

Now I have three more vests and three fewer Squares.

Although holiday music was artfully weaved into the light show, the music of the Pasadena Pops serenaded me secretly. To me, the Arboretum will always be George and me holding hands on a blanket in our early years, and later, on the supportive lawn chairs he bought.

“I think our backs are old enough for chairs,” he announced presenting his gifts. So we aged together on the Green, summer after summer, to the tunes of Michael Feinstein’s songbook.

All this I thought about as the Fire Garden’s flames sang me out of the old year.

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If I had not taken the rest of the 1.2-mile stroll through the Moonlight Forest, I would still have felt the evening worthwhile. But the video in my head of days gone by brought me warmth in the cold evening, so I hopped onto a memory and floated through the rest of the walk. Summer fireflies, disguised as twinkle lights, winked at me from winter trees.

Neither memories nor acquaintances shall be forgotten.

Email [email protected], follow her on Twitter @patriciabunin or visit PatriciaBunin.com

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