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The story behind how a little Mazda Miata was the catalyst for a 21-year-old friendship.

People come into our lives in many ways. Some encounters are fleeting. In others, we make connections, and then life sometimes takes us on different paths. However, if we're lucky, we bond with a few, and those ties deepen despite the test of time.

I've had my share of fleeting encounters — a chat with a seat mate on a train, pleasantries exchanged while standing in a grocery store line, a conversation while waiting to be seated at a restaurant. And yes, there was that "close encounter in a distant land," incident I wrote about, which coincidentally was published in this column a little over a year ago today!

I've connected with many people whom I'm still friends with today. Others I've lost touch with and wish I hadn't. But alas, life happened, and our paths diverged. I'll be the first to confess I'm not the greatest at staying in touch. But occasionally I get lucky…COURTESY PHOTO: LILISA HALL - Hall

My husband and I met a couple 21 years ago. We'll call them T&H. They were looking to sell their Mazda Miata; we were looking for a convertible. T&H had purchased the brand-new car not long ago. It was H's new toy. He showered love and care on it, added bells and whistles, and kept it in pristine condition. But alas, the Miata soon discovered it had serious competition: Costco. H's love of Costco made the car a totally impracticable ride. So, having gone through the first four stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining and depression — H was finally ready for the fifth stage: acceptance. An ad was placed in the newspaper and thus began their quest to find a loving home for the Miata.

On our end we spotted the ad in the paper, called and agreed to meet at a mutually convenient time. As conversation flowed and we inspected the car, we learned more about T&H and why they were looking for a new home for it, which we found hilarious! T and I connected over our love of good food and all things under the sun, and H and my husband bonded over cars and mechanical marvels. A few days later the transaction was completed.

A bit sad but relieved that H's love affair with Costco could continue and that the car would be in a loving home, T&H said goodbye to the Miata. We assured them that they had visitation rights to the Miata any time they wanted. For within the short span of time, the four of us had connected.

Fast forward to 2022. We have been fast friends for the past 21 years. We've bonded over shared values, love of food and travel, and life's milestones. We're uncle and aunty to T&H's kids, who are not kids anymore! Our get togethers are always lively, wickedly witty punctuated by fun and laughter, and the obligatory full tummies. We get along so well that about 18 years ago we began a tradition of celebrating each of our birthdays together over dinner every year.

While the Miata is no longer in my garage, it has a special place in my heart. For who would have thought that a little Miata could be the catalyst for a 21-year-old friendship? I am lucky and forever grateful for a friendship that I hope continues for years to come.

Lilisa Hall is a member of the Jottings Group at The Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.

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