Saturday, August 7, 2010

Mission Impeccable

Seeing the Magic by Juli Ryan, courtesy Smart Group and Gallery, Springfield, Missouri
From Jo Floyd Lucas

I was involved last week in a special covert operation with the mission to reunite with a friend from high school days (Vicki), and along with her, surprise another mutual friend (Dubby) with a little assist for his gallery's grand opening. What can one say when describing what it’s like to come together with two childhood friends after 40 years? Special just doesn’t cut it. It was all I wanted it to be and more. More funny. More loving. More inviting. More supportive. Just plain MORE than I could have hoped for! The fact that both these dear friends are fellow Smiling Heart bloggers was icing on the cake!

It would take an entire long weekend on a beach in Florida to tell all the stories of those short few hours we were together, but I’ll share with you a few bullet points of the highlights, and what I’ve learned from them.

• ALWAYS pad the time you will need in advance of a covert operation. It was the smartest thing Vicki and I did. WOW. We needed every minute of that extra time to do reconnaissance work, cruising past the gallery, looking in, taking photos from the street, and planning the surprise assault. Oh, and the hysterical laughter took up a good chunk of time, too.

• It becomes necessary at some point during any visit to try and break the world record for accumulating hotel room keycards. I think we ended our stay with 18. Someone call Guiness.

• When both women bring their vials of precious lavender oil (a gift from fellow blogger, Reya) to the hotel without knowing the other one has it, a pedestal/altar to The Lavender WILL be built. It may only be an upturned, decorated trash can, but it's a pedestal, just the same.

• Vicki is more than a ‘master stylist.’ As we prepared for the party, she looked at my wilted, road-weary hair and simply said, “Come here.” I kid you not, she took 15 SECONDS to spray, fluff, and finger comb my sad straight locks into big and sexy hair. The flyer for her new business should read “Miracle Worker.”

• Don’t ever ask me to carry your camera. It can end up on the floor “unexpectedly,” shall we say.

• If you DO ask me to carry your camera, and it DOES end up on the floor unexpectedly, you can always repay me by later sweeping an entire pitcher of ice water off the table and onto the floor in front of me, leaving scores of people with the impression that I was the one who spilled it.

• I’m living proof that your abs really can get such an intense workout from laughing that you are sore the next day. I’ll take that workout any day.

• Always remember to admire your friend’s brand new stylish and classy designer shoes (Bruno Magli) loudly and often, so that when she comes to hate her stylish and classy (though very impractical) designer shoes by the end of the evening (and after the sangria), she thinks giving them to you is a good idea…which, it is. Wearing the exact same shoe size is a bonus.

• During the course of the evening, whenever you say to someone, “I have some ‘Little Black Dress’ back at the hotel for later,” the immediate response is ALWAYS, “What?” It’s often even more humorous when this statement and response is repeated four times in a row. No, Vicki, most people don’t know that ‘Little Black Dress’ means great wine. At least, Dubby and I don’t.

• Ordering Domino’s pizza online (classic Hawaiian is awesome) at 1:08 am is a definite must. Both of you going out in your jammies to greet the delivery guy, neither of you having your keycard, is optional.

• Watching the online status of your pizza order after a little sangria, beer, champagne, liqueur, and ‘Little Black Dress’ is especially entertaining.

• Even more entertaining is reading Nancy’s already hysterically funny post about collie people. Yes, Nancy, I fell off the bed laughing. Vicki nearly passed out from her inability to breathe. I hope you’re happy, Nancy. You should perform penance by posting your piece on Smiling Heart.

• Typing a sentence, indeed, THINKING of a sentence, can be challenging under these circumstances. We calculated that it took an average of six times longer than it should have to post one coherent thought, let alone five or six. This can result in an inordinate number of usages of the word ‘incredible.’ I couldn’t come up with any other words, and Vicki had fallen asleep on me, muttering something about, “I need my eight hours of sleep.”

You get the idea. It was a dear, sweet, marvelous, precious time.

I haven’t even mentioned Dubby and his beautiful, exciting, interesting gallery. It's located in an historic building in Springfield, Missouri, which happens to be a surprisingly cosmopolitan city for its size, and very supportive of the arts. Dubby planned his grand opening to coincide with the city's First Friday Art Walk, and that idea was genius. Over 500 patrons came through the door on an evening blessed by cooler temperatures and kissed by a gentle breeze.

Dubby was an amazing and gracious host. He offered delightful food catered from Big Mike's Crab Shack and Pizza, refreshing homemade sangria (which Vicki and I dutifully served and replenished through the evening), and fresh baked cookies to all the of charge. A great young jazz combo named "Bella Donna" provided the perfect musical backdrop. We got to meet Dubby's partners (Kevin, Brannon, and Chris), his luminous wife, Anne, his beautiful daughter, Darby, his in-laws, and my personal favorite, his cousin, Steve. On display in the gallery were paintings, drawings, photographs, and textiles by many different artists. Many in attendance bought works of art. The air was filled with conversation, music, and laughter, as folks of all ages explored the rooms. People laughed and stayed and stayed and stayed some more, not wanting to move to other venues. It was crowded, yes, warm , yes, but a ton and a half of fun.
The entire evening was a great success. I was thrilled to be there, and pleased to be part of the covert operation which surprised a friend and brought him a little bit of unsolicited help. To our delight, we even succeeded (we think) in surprising Dubby! I guess you'd have to call it a Mission Impeccable.

Wordle: Mission Impeccable


  1. No words necessary, just so much love!!!

  2. the opening would have been flat and gray without my lovely guests of honor. i wasn't nearly the host they've given me credit for because any body with class would have had these two seated and pampered all night. the most lovely huge flower arrangement still sits near the window of the gallery for all to see. that was just the start of their gifts. the champagne christening was the official launch of our ship, and she may not have even pulled out of the port without it. but then what does the host do instead of heaping attention of pampering on two of my most cherished friends of old? allows them to work non stop like cinderella twins, brooming and pouring and dashing here and there to every whimsy the crazed landlord may have decided to dish out. but still, please accept these feeble words of thanks for everything, including this delightful epilogue. i love you.

  3. If you felt for one moment that we weren't completely enjoying every minute of the experience, then we'd both be very sad. I thought we were being SO transparent! In fact, I'm pretty sure we were so giddy that even your partners were convinced we'd been drinking before we even arrived at the gallery (which was neither true nor necessary). We were both delighted to be there to help in any capacity.

    We were the Ambassadors of Smiling Hearts that night, and proud to represent all your friends who love you so dearly. Just soak it in, Dub.

  4. All I can say is "incredible"

  5. I see you received my subliminal message! :-)

  6. I laughed and got a good case of warm fuzzies while reading your post. Particularly since I just reunited with 2 old friends. When you spend a weekend like that, it's hard not to believe that your one of the luckiest people in the world. In fact, there are some people that have really never laughed until their stomach hurts. REALLY. Can you imagine?

  7. You're so right, Delana. I still am carrying around that "I'm the luckiest person in the world" feeling!

    I feel sorry for anyone who hasn't experience the Ab Laugh Workout.

  8. Delana, I must also tell you that every time I take out the vial of wild lavender oil from Reya, I think of those glorious photos of the lavender fields in France from your blog. Extraordinary! Thank you for those.

  9. Beautiful post. When any of us coincide, it's always such a good thing.

    LOVE the wordle. I'm way into wordle all of a sudden. Go figure.

  10. Love the additions!!! I love wordle too~~~~~

  11. You both find the coolest new discoveries! xoxo


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