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By Belinda
A couple of weeks ago, when I was still in England, Brenda sent me a message to ask if I could "hold May 28th" for some "mom and daughter" time.

"Sure," I said, "Consider it booked."

Friday came, and at the end of the day I was zonked after an all day meeting at our home, where we have our managers meetings. Susan left, hugging me and saying, "See you next week." She was off to her annual, "Girls weekend away," at the cottage, with her 6 daughters, counting daughter-in-law Heather.

Before going out with Brenda, I unwound by watching the end of a series that Paul and I had almost finished. In the bathroom afterwards I tried to do something with the puffy eyed face, surrounded by a mop of uncooperative hair, that stared back at me from the mirror! Glued and sprayed together, I looked at the clock. It was 7.00, the time we had arranged to go out,  but Brenda, who  is always hyper-punctual, had not come upstairs. I went to look for her.

"Just have to do one more thing," she said, unusually casual, as she tapped away on her laptop, and then she came upstairs.

We left Paul behind on the couch and meandered over the road to Poco Cappello, a restaurant in our little hamlet of Bond Head that we hadn't been to since it changed hands a while ago.

We walked through the shady perennial garden and past the patio. I was beginning to worry that we should have made reservations. It seemed busy and there was not a restaurant staff in view, but as we poked our heads around the corner of a room, my mouth fell open at the sight of 3 of my dearest friends--Frances, Irene, and Susan, who was supposed to be on her way to a cottage at that very moment. It was a surprise early 60th birthday celebration for me!

A fragrant bouquet of flowers lay at my place, from Irene.

Beside the flowers were four cards addressed to Ba; Bo; Quilla, and Mom. B'a is a contraction of Belinda; Susan's nickname for me. Bo originated with the name Bolinda-Sue, which was my name in a fun rap that was performed at a staff retreat years ago--to Irene I have been Bo ever since. Frances's name for me, when she isn't calling me Bel, is Quilla; an allusion to my passion for writing. And "Mom"--well, it goes without saying who the 4th dear friend was!

Each card and message was as unique as each of the dear friends are. In Frances's was a receipt for a book on order about Frances Ridley Havergal, the hymn writer, born in my home county of Worcestershire, in England. Readers here know of my love of hymns and how they shaped my early faith.

Frances had a gift bag too, from which she drew a copy of my beloved Daily Light, the devotional I have read daily ever since Aunt Agnes, another of my dear friends, long in heaven, introduced me to it. "It isn't for you, dear," Frances said, and went on to tell that it was for the husband in a new young couple at church, who had asked her what "that book" was, from which she was always quoting during worship services. She said that her desire to give him a copy was prompted by the many that I have given to people over the years. Someone giving a Daily Light to someone, sort of in my name, and passing on the blessing, was a great gift.

I was already wearing Brenda's gift, a family ring with our birthstones set in white gold. She wanted me to have it in time for my trip to England, so Mum could see it. I will treasure this beautiful ring as long as I live.

Susan's gift was the most beautiful hand bag I have ever seen. It is a soft green and aqua leather, with detachable tulips, hanging from leather cords. I love it of course and will have fun using it with the detachable straps that can change it into many different styles of bag.

Irene emailed me the next day to say, "Frances wanted me to bring my gift for you to supper last night hence I’m looking forward giving it to you when we get together next week." :-))

In all of the kerfuffle about my birthday, which isn't even here yet, I had not got Frances's gift to her, for her birthday that was on May 27th, but I brought it with me to church on Sunday. I gave it to her in the parking lot before we went in to worship practice; a picture of two oriental poppies on a background of black. She loved it as much as I hope she would. My nickname for Frances is Poppy, because that flower perfectly captures her flamboyant and yet delicately fragile persona. Frances's teenaged daughter Summer, looked on in interest as her mom opened her gift, and then said, "
We have so many things with poppies on in our house."

"That's funny," I said, "We have a lot of things with poppies in our house, too."

"Lest we forget!" said Frances, with a smile.


Deidra said…
Oh so much fun! Happy birthday, my friend!
Belinda said…
Thank you Deidra! I am fully embracing the fun. :)

This is a big birthday, EAT CAKE!!!

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