Part of the March focus on refresh, rejuvenate and rejoice in spring …
For the first time since college, I’d pulled an all nighter. My deadlines had piled up, one after the other, so I just had to crank them out. I’d been working way too many hours with little time for anything else. My husband Allen was out of town. Everything was fine until I got ready to leave the office around 7:00 A.M. to go home, take a shower, and then take the booklet to the printer in Savannah who had agreed to meet me at her office.
My car keys were nowhere in sight. I dumped the contents of my purse onto the conference table. Pens, lipstick, and various metal objects pinged against the table. My Blackberry hit the tabletop and slid onto the hardwood floor below with a thud. I rummaged through the various receipts to get to the bottom of the purse. I searched every hidden pocket in the dark, cavernous pocketbook lined with black fabric. No keys.
I searched my desk … and then the kitchen … and the bathroom. Still no keys.
All the while I had a sinking feeling. Could I have locked them in the center office when I turned off the light?
I glanced at the clock. My friend, Joyce, was an early riser. She’d have an idea. So I made the call and sure enough, in no time, Joyce arrived at the scene with a grin. Of course, she looked perfect — rested, dressed for the day, and ready to go. Even this morning, her trademark smile made me feel better.
I didn’t even want to think about my appearance at that point — sleep deprived, rumpled. It couldn’t be a pretty sight.
But I was so glad to see Joyce, my bud. She was my friend through thick and thin. Oprah had Gayle. Laverne had Shirley. Lucy had Ethel. And I’d had Joyce from the day I’d met her several years earlier at a Yellow Bluff barbecue. She’d offered to help out immediately. It was easy to see that she wasn’t one to arrive just in time for the picture. Like recognized like. We had an instant connection. “I’m glad Joyce is your bud,” my daughter Meredith said. “Me, too.” So from that day, we shared our dreams and our disappointments. Early Saturday morning, we shared my dilemma.
In an instant, Joyce said with a Lucy-esque gleam in her eyes, “I’ve got an idea.”
“What?” I asked with Ethel’s reluctant hope.
“We can break in.”
“Have you been into the vitameatavegamin?” I asked, remembering Lucy’s attempt to sell the tonic that was full of alcohol. She’d ended up soused. “We can’t break in. Neither of us are strong enough to break down the door.” Maybe we did need a little vitameatavegamin to put some oomph behind our muscles.
Wide-eyed and eager to get started, Joyce said, “Don’t be silly. I’ve got tools in the car.”
Great, I thought, as I waited at my desk. Joyce was always prepared with everything MacGyver might need to save the world. But what would Ren think when he returned to find that we’d taken the hinges off the door? Or broken the lock? We’d had lots of deadlines and pressures at work so I wasn’t quite sure how he’d react. He might get testy, and quite frankly, I wasn’t in the mood to deal with it. So I started back-pedaling.
The front door slammed. Joyce whirled into the room. “I can’t find one tool.”
“That’s okay,” I said, relieved.
“We can’t stop now,” she said. “You need your keys. We can get them. I’m sure.”
Joyce rummaged in the kitchen drawers, crumpling papers, and clanging junk against each other. Drawers slid shut; the next opened. Cabinet doors creaked and slammed.
While Joyce plundered, my fatigue started to get the best of me. Even without vitameatavegamin, I felt like my words were already slurred. I was dead tired. What was vita meat a veg a min, anyway? With blurry eyes, I decided to face reality before we went too far. We were heading for trouble. I could feel it in my weary bones.
“It’s okay, Joyce,” I said, brushing my hair away from my face with both hands. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll be okay.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. We can do this,” she said. “Just give me a minute.” One more door slammed shut. “Aha, this should do!”
Joyce wielded a plastic knife. She handed me a pair of scissors. Immediately, she pulled up on the door. “Stick the scissors in there.”
I gulped, but I followed her instructions. I inserted Ren’s favorite scissors into the narrow opening. The ones he dared anyone to lose. But he hadn’t mentioned not using them to break in, I reasoned. So I twisted the point around, trying to find something that might release the lock.
Meanwhile, Joyce poked and prodded with her knife at a higher level. “Push!” she said, and I automatically pushed. “Push again!” My knuckles ached, but I pushed harder.
I looked over at Joyce. She turned her head toward me. A slow grin spread across her face. I beamed. I saw Lucy’s dead ringer with a devilish smile, big eyes, and a look that said, “We did it.”
“Ren will never know,” she said.
“Not unless he tries to lock the door.” At that point, I’d deal with it later.
I had to laugh. Just what would Ren think about our break in? Would he appreciate Lucy’s nerve and inventiveness? Or Ethel’s “okay, I’ll give it a try” attitude as long as Lucy didn’t go too far?
I looked at Joyce’s plastic knife she still had gripped between fingers.
“Oops,” I said with a mischievous grin as I held up the battered scissors.
Right then and there, I realized how lucky I was to have a Lucy in my life. Joyce definitely pulled me right into whatever she was doing. Most times, it was to attend some interesting event even when I was tired. Once there, I’d have a great time.
Today, it was a mild case of breaking and entering. Who would know unless Ren wondered why his best scissors didn’t feel just right? Would he notice that the tip was missing?
I looked at Joyce with a twinkle in my eye. “How are you at sharpening scissors?” I had a little sneaky Lucy in me at times. “If we can file this down, he’ll never know what happened.” I assured Joyce, “We can do this … and then we’ll go get breakfast.”
There are rewards in this life. A good friend was definitely one of the best.