I had lunch with some friends at Puffy Muffin on recently. Unless you live in Nashville, you can’t grasp the full effect of this lunch spot. It’s not my favorite place in town, but the company was worth it.
As one friend and I left the restaurant, we spotted a beautiful blonde getting ready to leave as well. Pushing a three-wheeled cruiser, I assumed that holding the door for her was not only the proper Southern thing to do, she probably needed me to. The three of us started chatting and it wasn’t long before I knew that Libby could take care of herself.
Why share my beautiful new friend with you today? Because people like her don’t come around all the time.
We started towards the car where Libby’s daughter was waiting. I thought we should let the line of cars pass before crossing but she had a different plan. “Let’s go. They can wait!” 85 year old ladies get to tell the traffic when to stop (and they better listen)!
I walked slowly. I needed to build up the courage to ask Libby if I could take her picture for Beautiful Thursday. I’m not one to ask directions, let alone approach a complete stranger about taking her picture. “Learn to be bold,” I told myself. “Starting now.” (For the record, this is the first time I’ve asked a stranger for a picture…but it won’t be the last.)
The funny thing is that it took all of 3o seconds for Libby to feel like my friend. Have you ever met someone like that? Someone who holds a story in their smile and you can’t do anything until you find out where it comes from?
Here’s what I found out about Libby. Her motto? (She told me I had to write it down.)
“I don’t smoke. Don’t drink. And I don’t do drugs. But I do bracelets.”
And that my friends, is what drew me to her. Those who know me know I like bracelets…lots of them. Libby had no less than 20 silver bracelets on her arm which caught my eye the second I saw her. Sometimes finding the simplest thing in common with someone opens the door to a beautiful conversation. You really should try it.
Libby told me about meeting Elvis. Years ago, a friend of hers worked at the state capitol and asked if she wanted to come for a reception the Governor was having for Elvis. (Her daughter said, “She of course ditched us kids with a neighbor and went right away!!” I would have done the exact same thing, Libby!) I can only imagine her looking into the mirror, smiling ear to ear, as she got ready to meet The King. There’s no way she looked any more beautiful than when I met her. The King was a lucky man that day.
Libby was a cheerleader for Central High (a school that is no longer here in Nashville), and I believe if I had asked, she would have performed a cheer for me right there. That was the kind of life that bubbled out of her! Her daughter even told me that Libby won a beauty contest at Cascade Plunge, an old public swimming pool that was once located at the Nashville fairgrounds. Unfortunately that picture has been misplaced but I still can envision her lounged out in a bathing suit that stretched down to her thighs…smiling, laughing. Overwhelmed with joy because she was Queen of the World that day. (When she finds that picture one day, I will post it. You watch.) And get this. She is even in charge of her class reunion this May. Libby, you inspire me!
See why I had to share my friend with you?
Libby blessed me by showing me what 85 years of kindness and true beauty looks like. I only hope that when I’m her age I can laugh, remember, and share stories about my life well-lived.
When you are 85, will you have laughter in your soul?
It wouldn’t be a bad thing if we started practicing what it’s like to be joy. Today. Right now. Because I look forward to when I’m 85 years old and it’s a Beautiful Thursday, that I’ll have a stack of bracelets on my arm when someone offers to walk me across the parking lot. The first thing I’ll say is, “I had a friend knew Elvis. I need to tell you about her!”
The day I met Libby was special. She reminded me that beauty is found deep in the soul and doesn’t age like the rest of our body. I’m so glad I took the time to talk to her.
Find someone and tell them how much you appreciate them. How beautiful they are. And remember, don’t be afraid to talk to a stranger. Believe me, she may have something to tell you.