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The story, as I like to tell is, is that I knew immediately, when Kirsten punched me (hard!) in the arm while we were meeting for, perhaps, the first time at a volunteer gig in high school: I’m going to be this woman’s friend. That’s it. Ever since.

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In high school, Kirsten introduced me to some of my favorite musicians. Her family always held smiles for me when I visited and treated me like I was an equal, not just their oldest daughter’s friend. Her sister and friends didn’t seem to mind that I tagged along to their parties and events.

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We grew and changed and moved, as friends often do. Yet, the central piece of our friendship remains. That curiosity, that humor, that attention to what is simple and sweet and beautiful.

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Dear Kirsten, I’m sorry I’m late in saying (as I often am, but . . . ) thanks. Those West Coast pinecones are gorgeous.

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