Wednesday, April 30, 2014

You Always Know When She's Coming and Where She's Been

Reunions are in the air this week, both Heavenly and earthbound it seems. As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, my cherished hometown friend Lydia and her husband John visited with me on a stopover here and as always, Miss Lydia knows how to make an entrance. When I first met her eons ago, my first sight of her was tumbling down the center aisle of the First Baptist Church sanctuary, all gangly arms and legs and a laugh and smile as big as Texas. She's never stopped entering a room or a life any differently, both are made instantly brighter upon arrival. 

Sure enough, on this visit, Lyd had me stirred up before I had even laid eyes on her. I asked her to keep me abreast of her arrival time as I had to time it out with errands and my going to work at the hotel where she would also be staying that night.  The previous night, I went to bed thinking they would be arriving at 3 pm that Saturday which would work out perfectly as I could pick them up at the airport on the way into work. That morning I woke up to her text saying, true to form...

"We're coming earlier to beat the storm, around 11-11:30...damn the tornadoes!"

Indeed, we had very unsettled weather over the weekend and as it was a major snowstorm the last time they flew their own small plane in to visit; I should not be surprised that crazy weather be the case again.  Next text quickly thereafter:

"No worries, we'll be there in another three hours". 

At which point, I relaxed and Keith and I went about running our errands before I went to work. No sooner had we begun, then the next text:

"Actually, we'll be there in 45 minutes."
Then: "John says we'll be there in 15 minutes"
Then: "We're landing!"

...all in the succession of a few minutes, which resulted in me riotously running in circles about the house like the proverbial poultry. Darling Lyd ,of course, also chose an extremely busy weekend for the hotel to stay at the Elms, so their first night was a whirlwind a two weddings, a writer's retreat and the first night of a Triumph classic car convention.

 No amount of fancy hoopla could outshine my  Lyd, though. In the middle of the night when she couldn't sleep, she sauntered down to the lobby and into the Grand Ballroom where she proceeded to play the piano and serenade our staff while they cleaned up after one of the events. Picture her wailing away on "Sweet Caroline" while the banquet staff sang the chorus with her. That's my girl in all her glory and damnation, do I wish I had video of this.

The next day we would meet for lunch and introduce our friends to the joys of the Willow Springs Mercantile and the supreme hospitality of owners and friends Daphne and Jim. Daphne led them through a Missouri wine tasting and demonstrated her impressive know-how on Missouri wines.

 We settled in for a relaxing lunch, but as life with Lyd is rarely boring, we soon saw this pop up:

...turns out there's no better shelter we could take than in Willow's cozy wine cellar and thankfully the weather didn't yield any twisters over us. We and our guests unwound once again and noshed on Willow's bacon-cheddar dip, gourmet grilled cheese with red pepper hummus and spinach and roast beef wraps with bacon-gorgonzola mayo while enjoying a nice bottle of semi-dry Alluvium red from Augusta Winery.

Once we had finished sharing a goat cheese and honey tart for dessert along with steaming cups of Highlander Grogg java to fend off the new chill in the air, we departed to take them a tour of the Hall of Waters. She was immediately drawn to the vintage spa equipment as evidenced below:

Back at the hotel, the Elms lobby was hopping with classic car enthusiasts.  Despite all of the madness, Lyd and I shared deep, meaningful moments and candid conversations; the kind of heartfelt shares that only chums of a lifetime experience and indeed, we are blessed to enjoy just that kind of friendship. It was an afternoon of hearty laughter, warm tears and revelations that simply deepen an already strong bond. Over a breakfast of bagels with smoked salmon at the hotel on the following Monday morning, we recounted our weekend and soon I was off to return them to their plane.

Lord knows our lives have changed a thousand-fold over the years. We marveled about how we are reuniting in western Missouri of all places, with our soulmates at our sides, and how we could never have predicted we'd be where we were in life at that moment. Other things in life blessedly stay the same, though: my beloved Lydia still knows how to make an entrance, bursting into my life in the most over-the-top, joyous way and she still knows how leave my life as well: a little richer and warmer than it was before.

My sweet Lyd: whatever may be going on in that crazy life of yours, you are always YOU and for that I am ever grateful.


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