Lost and Found

January 27, 2016

IMG_0652My heart is heavy today, yet full of gratitude for my friend, Marjorie who died earlier this week at the age of 99. I have written about her before, for she was always worthy of a story. By far, she was the most inspiring, fascinating person I have ever known. Apologies to my fascinating family and friends, but Marjorie was one of a kind. She was consistently kind, generous, gracious, energetic, enthusiastic, intellectual and humble. She was baffled that the rest of the world had their televisions on throughout the day. She rarely dined in restaurants, for the gentle meals she prepared for herself and her flock were quite perfect. She would embrace anyone whom she found interesting regardless of background, appearance or station in life. If they offered conversation that was considerate and engaging, they were sure to be invited into her presence. She wore a sparkly sense of humor about the world and herself. Thank goodness, because…

Late one night in 2014, Marjorie and I attended a formal gathering at the Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge. As usual, she chatted her way through the evening, champagne in hand, and unashamedly expressed disappointment that the party was soon closing shop. In fact, we were two of the last guests to leave this party of hundreds. But off we went, down the grand steps and out onto the sidewalk in search of our (my) car. We quickly realized that, wrapped in the excitement of the approaching affair, neither of us had paid much attention to where we had parked the car. After all, the lots were all jammed and we did have to search a bit before we found a spot. Details, details. So we walked…and walked…and walked. Me and my 96 year old buddy. It was late at night and at first, we found it amusing that we could misplace a car. But then, as our steps grew in number and the clock ticked away, even she became concerned. It was dark, there were no people around, and the area was fairly abandoned. Frankly, it was scary. As we attempted to devise a plan, a car approached us. Inside was a couple in formal attire who had also attended the event.

“You ladies shouldn’t be walking around this place like this. Can we give you a ride to your car?” We looked at each other and laughed, admitting that we had no idea where that car was. So, this chivalrous couple drove us back to the Old State Capitol so that, at least, we could solicit assistance there. We waved as they drove off, and we headed back up the steps to the door…which was locked. We heard not a sound from the inside. It was 11:00pm. I suggested that we make a call to my husband or her son, and just fess up.

“Oh no, Dawlin! It has GOT to be right around here somewhere! I think it was this way!” And off she went, me trailing behind her in angry shoes. She turned corners and turned in circles. She was baffled. I was tired. Just when I was about to make the call, a police car rounded the corner. I flagged him down as though he were a life raft in an ocean of nothingness. We explained our predicament and he offered to drive us around the surrounding area to search for our car. Marjorie was giddy.

“Oh, boy! I have never ridden in a police vehicle. May I sit in the back?” The officer cut his eyes over at me.

“Well, it isn’t very comfortable back there. There is no real seat. It is more like a hard bench…”

But before he could finish his sentence she was in. I got in the front passenger seat and off we went, Marjorie firing questions at the officer about the vehicle, criminals, the lost car, seat belts, her life, the party we had attended, his family. You get the picture. What made this awkward, other than everything, was that there was a barrier between the back seat and the front seat, so she had to position her face as close to the plexiglass divider as possible, and raise her voice. Got it? It was dark, but I could see the multiple strands of pearls around her neck shifting as she moved around. Surreal. Finally, she spotted my car.

“Oh, thay-uh it is! Thay-uh it is! See?? Right thay-uh!” And thay-uh it was indeed, in the middle of a huge lot which had finally emptied of other vehicles. She chatted with the officer as I unlocked the car and shook his hand. Before we drove away, I insisted on taking a photo of her in the back seat of the squad car; not an everyday sighting. It was almost midnight, and we headed home as she waved a little piece of paper under my nose.

“I got that nice man’s address. Now, which one of us is going to write the note?” I took her cue.

“I will do that, Marjorie. I will be happy to do that.”

“Wun-duh-ful. Wun-duh-ful! Oh! I forgot, I brought brownies for the ride home!” She reached into the back seat and retrieved a little basket full of goodies. She handed one to me with a little napkin, then took one for herself. She nibbled on her brownie and giggled in between bites.

“Wasn’t this just a delightful adventure? Ha! Unbelieeee-vable, but delightful!” And that pretty much summed it all up. Unbelievable, but delightful. Yes, Marjorie, it was indeed.

 

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