The stretch limo was flashing this ungodly hour when the driver carefully pulled up in my little cul de sac in early January '06. The limo had been hired by my good friends, the Lunch Bunch, to take us to the airport for a weekend celebration for me in Chicago. In the past couple of months, I had turned 60 and retired from the company where all of us worked together for almost 20 years.
Limo aside: if you haven't been to a prom or other fancy do in the last few years, let me tell you, stretch travel is highly overrated--especially for women of a certain age. I had to crawl on my knees to reach the other five members of the Lunch Bunch in the back of the limo. Luckily I had learned from Brittany that you really must wear underwear before mounting or dismounting a limo, but it was still a challenge. And then there's the champagne in a plastic glass. At that time of the morning I would have been happier with a Starbucks tall, extra cream. The thought was very much appreciated, though.
With the assistance of our able limo driver we were in the air and landed in Chicago before early morning traffic even settled down. Our hotel was in downtown Chicago handy to the best shopping. We got into our rooms and then headed to the nearest multi-story shopping center. We all found things to buy that we wouldn't consider in Louisville, especially with a little egging on from others in the group. Most notably, Sally and Linda found themselves in a foundation shop in the hands--quite literally--of a French fitter. Their "girls" had never looked prouder than they did on leaving that store! We were all excited to go through L'Occitane trying all the lotions and potions of Provence since we were still waiting for this store in Louisville. We all sat on a bench outside the store and sent all six of our Lunch Bunch group back in individually under the pretext of learning how to pronounce "L'Occitane" properly. And, by the way could we have samples for six people?
We had a memorable brunch in the elegant Drake Hotel. This sparkling floral display was in the lobby, hanging on from holiday decorations, I suppose. As I'm writing this, can't remember that we did anything in particular except shop, laugh, and enjoy each others company. I may have been the honoree, but that doesn't mean I got to go to concerts, museums, or art galleries. The mission was to hang out with a group of good friends. It was a pretty good plan.
I hope each of you are fortunate to have a few good friends who are always there to see you through the times of celebration and sadness that come to us all. I know I'm fortunate to have the Lunch Bunch. Now head over to Dungarees Ablaze to find out how the other half celebrates birthdays.