“Your name, O Lord, endures forever, your renown, O Lord, throughout all ages.”
Hello sweet friends…the arctic blast has made its way to the Appalachian Foothills! It’s cold and sunny here, which makes for a perfect morning to stay in and drink coffee! It’s the third Monday of the month and that means it’s time for Monday Morning Blooms…and today is a really special one for me. I hope you’re ready for a story of flowers and friendship!
On my search for flowers this week at our local grocery stores, I was having absolutely no luck. So, what’s a girl to do? I called my favorite florist to see if he could order me coral roses, pale blue hydrangeas, and seeded eucalyptus. He called me the next afternoon to say his truck had arrived and he thought he had what I wanted. When I got there, I went to the back of his shop where he keeps all of his flowers. He had several bunches of roses, but then I saw this particular bunch that I knew was exactly what I was hoping for. Of course I always want to know the name of the variety of rose. It is called “free spirit”, he said. And that led to a sweet time of reminiscing about our dear and mutual friend that fit the name of the roses perfectly. Putting together this week’s Monday Morning Blooms was very special and enjoyable for me as it took me down a road of precious memories and one of the sweetest friendships I have ever known…
It was 1974 that I met this bigger than life, bubbly personality, with a south Alabama accent that would melt butter. She had just moved here, and I was immediately drawn to her charm and warmth. She was one that as soon as you met her, you knew you would become friends.
So of course, I became friends with this girl from South Alabama. We had much in common. I had a love for fashion, she had a degree in fashion merchandising. She was a fabulous story teller, I was the best listener. Before long, it was like we had known each other forever! When I saw these “free spirit” roses, they immediately took me down memory lane, thinking of my dear friend Bonnie Jean. Notice their ruffled petals and their big smiling face. They have personality that lights up any room, just like they’re doing in my family room! They even have a lovely fragrance that you can’t help but notice as it fills the room. I was hard at work trying to meet our Monday Morning Blooms challenge of using a clear glass vessel to place the arrangement in, but I had a little more on my mind. I was thinking of so many memories of Bonnie Jean.
One of my favorite memories was when four of us friends decided to have a girls’ weekend in Callaway Gardens. We arrived at Bonnie Jean’s house, and much to our surprise, she bounced out the door wearing the most darling skirt and a colorful bandana as a top. Yes, she was wearing a bandana! No, that’s not your normal attire, but my “free spirit” friend pulled it off beautifully!
By the time my son was born, she was divorced. Even through her heartbreak, she continued to love with abandon. She loved children and she loved our son. Bonnie Jean never remarried or had children, but that didn’t stop her from loving her friends’ little ones and showering them with gifts.
During our son’s junior year in high school, his class took a trip to Europe that included London, Paris, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. I went as a chaperone and invited Bonnie to go with me. Did we ever have fun and make memories!
Bonnie and I particularly loved Paris. With her sense of fashion, we whirled in and out of the most elegant boutiques. She handled the French shop keepers with ease, knowing just enough of their language to communicate. I am sure glad she could do that, because I could not! I watched her southern charm even on the streets of Paris.
As I was photographing, I suddenly remembered I still had shoes that I bought on that trip, and I knew exactly where they were. Taking them out of the box, I had to place them next to the flowers and under the Paris painting. These shoes are a story in themselves…
As Bonnie Jean and I walked into the Heyraud shop on the Champs Elysees the sales associate did not speak or even smile at us. It didn’t take Bonnie long to charm her with her vibrant personality…she even began speaking English. That is just how Bonnie was…she always brought the best out in people. The beautiful French lady fell over herself wanting to help us. Looking over the shoes and handbags, I saw the most gorgeous floral and leopard shoes. As I stood there admiring them, Bonnie kept convincing me to buy them since I loved them so much. They were quite expensive and I just didn’t spend that much money on shoes. She wouldn’t give up, she told me that they would be a memory of our trip. She had a good point…
And the painting…it’s also a reflection of my love for Paris. It was done by a local artist and a friend of My Renaissance Man. He is well known around the South for his beautiful artwork. This is a scene from the Latin Quarter of Paris. You might see Craig Reynold’s work in some art galleries.
Back to Bonnie Jean. In 2007, during the really hard time of Butch’s accident, Bonnie Jean drove 240 miles round trip several times to be with me. If you read our story, you will remember I didn’t pack very many clothes. As only she would do, Bonnie left the hospital to go shop for clothes. She came back with sacks of cute outfits, underwear, comfortable shoes, and beauty products. She was a true friend!
It was while Butch was recovering in a rehab hospital in Birmingham that she told me she had breast cancer. She wouldn’t tell me sooner, because she didn’t want me to worry…that’s just how she was. She beat breast cancer and never once stopped smiling. But in early 2009, cancer returned. Once again she faced it with her strong faith in our Lord and Savior. But this time, she would not beat the cancer. I was so honored to give a eulogy at her funeral and share my memories of our thirty six year friendship. She was a friend of rare qualities that loved so well and gave so selflessly. Her beautiful smile would light up a room…just like these free spirit roses!
Thank you so much for your visits and the comments that you leave. A special thank you for allowing me to share my precious friend and my memories with you. Her memory always brings a smile to my face. Wishing you all a joy-filled day!
Pieced Pastimes, Dwellings-Heart of Your Home, French Country Cottage, Stone Gable, Confessions of a Plate Addict, Worthing Court, Between Naps on the Porch, Cedar Hill Farmhouse, A Stroll Thru Life, The Charm of Home, Katherines Corner, Petit Haus, Follow The Yellow Brick Home, Vintage Mama’s Cottage, Marilyn’s Treats Eclectic Red Barn, Love Of Home, My Soulful Home, Celebrating Everyday Life, Little Farmstead, Starfish Cottage, Rustic & Refined, The Freckled Rose, Life and Linda, DIY 180, Celebrate & Decorate, Sweet Sensations, Me and My Captain, The Dedicated House, Shabby Fufu, Designthusiasm, Imparting Grace, Calypso in the Country