Meems had a very special visitor this weekend. Our friend, Laura Ard, flew down from DC to spend time with her. Laura lived next door to me in the dorm my freshman year at Baylor. Back in the 1900's. I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun we had that year.
There was that one night when we froze all of "Popnoe's" panties in the kitchenette freezer. I still have a picture of Deborah holding up that icy blob of undies. The look on her face was priceless. The thought of her going to class commando was more than we could bear. We laughed until our jaws and bellies ached.
Then, there were the Mr. Pibb "incidents." Sneaking down the hall in the middle of the night to stack empty Mr. Pibb cans (yes, we collected them) in front of sleeping girls' doors was one of our favorite madcap adventures. Waking to the sound of crashing cans and startled squeals was deeply satisfying. The popcorn parties and creative pranks were top notch. Our grades? Not so much. And, it was all so worth it.
One of the sweetest relationships that bloomed out of that crazy year was that between my mother and Laura. Laura's parents and relatives lived far away. Mom loved adopting Baylor girls in need of home-cooked meals. Long after Laura and I graduated from Baylor, their friendship continued.
To say that Meems was fascinated by Laura is a vast understatement. Laura is a world traveler. She is a smart business woman. She has a beautiful, impeccable wardrobe. AND, she loves gardening. She and Mom could talk for hours on the phone. I was so grateful to Laura because I don't particularly enjoy talking on the phone. The only catch was that after their heart-to-hearts, Mom would then call me and tell me every single tiny thing that she and Laura had discussed. Through Mom, I kept up with my globe-trotting partner in crime.
After Baylor, Laura lived in London and New York City and San Francisco. Once she settled down in DC, Mom began to go visit her. At least 2 weeks prior to her pilgrimage to Laura's, she would begin laying out her travel wardrobe complete with shoes and accessories on one of the guest beds. You see, Meems and Laura were both meticulous planners. "On Tuesday, we're going to go to Wolftrap! Laura got us seats in the very best section! I'm going to wear my yellow Chico's outfit with my new white sandals and the earrings I bought on sale last summer at Dillards! Do you think that will be cute enough, or should I wear my new Sharon Young outfit with the matching button covers?!" It was Laura who accompanied my mother to her baby brother's funeral in Maryland because I was unable to attend.
When Leonard has lunch with Meems on Mondays and Fridays, they (meaning Leonard) make their "weekly telephone calls." Laura is on the list of about 10 people. Because she works for the World Bank, there is no telling where in the world she will be when her telephone rings. As much as possible, she will answer. "Laura! It's Helen and Leonard making our weekly phone calls!" "Hello, Leonard. I'm in Vietnam. It's 2:30 in the morning. How are you?" "I'm fine! Miss Helen! Say 'hello' to your friend, Laura! She's talking to us all the way from VIETNAM!" If, for whatever reason, Laura doesn't receive her weekly call, I'll soon get a text from her. "R ur mom and Leonard ok? didn't get my call."
This past Thursday when Laura bent down to greet Meems she asked, "Helen, do you know who I am?" Mom's face lit up and she replied, "Laura." Laura beamed and said, "I'm so happy you remember me!" Mom looked up at her smiling and quipped, "Carolyn told me you were coming."
For the next two days, Laura spent many hours by Meems' side reminding her of all of the fun times that they have had together over the years.
"I'm so glad you came."
As usual, Leonard came to have lunch with Mom on Friday. Laura joined them. He was thrilled to get to see her. "Miss Helen, are you enjoying your visitation with your dear friend, Laura?!" he asked.
Meems quickly set him straight. "It's not a visitation. That's just for when you die. This is a visit."
I love the relationship that they've shared. Two peas in a pod. Two fashionistas. Two lovers of art. Two women who can name every plant in an arboretum.
Laura, I'm so grateful that you made the trip to "visitate" Meems. Your loyalty. I have no words. Only you and I can know how much that meant to her. Come back soon, dear friend.