FYI - the playfriends and mavens are safe, but without power, phones or Internet. Keep Alabama in your thoughts.
I will admit that I have dreaded this post all week. Not because I didn't love Beverly and not because she doesn't deserve every moment of tribute we give her. Aside from it just being difficult to write, I find myself in an odd place because Beverly and I didn't have many 'moments.' She and Angel were close. PC was her diva-in-training. But I always sort of gravitated to the Lindas. I'm fairly quiet and logical, Beverly was loud and emotional. I didn't always know how to relate to her like I did the other Mavens, who were more like I was.
Beverly was always fully done, from head to toe. You had to get up early to catch her before her hair and makeup were done. Her outfits were always perfectly selected and accessorized. In this area, I was the opposite again. If we weren't at conference, you'd catch me with a pony tail, jeans, a t-shirt and little to no jewelry or makeup. When I did dress up for the luncheon or the RITAs, Beverly would always be sure to compliment me. I always figured she was gently steering me in the direction of being more of a meticulously groomed Southern Lady.
We were hosting a librarian's tea one year before the luncheon, an opportunity for our authors to mingle with librarians and booksellers in the area. I volunteered to cater the event and save the chapter money. I think most people know I do cakes, but I also cater with my mother from time to time. Everything from 400 person church dinners, to weddings, to 10 person baby showers. My mother knows food and what works and I know the logistics, layout and display.
I don't know what Beverly was expecting of me, especially since I was flying solo. I guess to look at me - decidedly missing the fancy dish gene and steering far from most things prissy - she was just praying she had enough time to follow behind me and fix things so it wasn't a total disaster. But most people underestimate my creative and artistic eye, which can apply to many things, including food. I whipped out my multi-tier floating dishes, silver serving trays and fancy dispensers for lemonade and tea with sliced fruit floating in it. I decorated my platters with beds of greens and garnishes of raspberries before setting out dainty cups of chicken salad and spirals of sandwich pinwheels. We couldn't do real plates and cloth napkins, but I had pretty clear plates and red napkins set in decoratively fanned stacks. When it was done, you'd think I had absolutely nothing to do with it.
I wasn't paying much attention to what was going on around me. I was in the catering zone where my laser focus is set on getting the food out and perfect in time for guests. But when I finished and took a step back, I noticed Beverly watching me. She was absolutely beaming. Somehow, with my raspberry garnishes, I had proven to her that maybe I wasn't such a lost cause after all. I might not always walk the walk, but I knew the difference and could pull it out when necessary. She hugged me and told me how lovely everything looked. Coming from the queen of cloth napkins and good china, that meant a lot.
I think the best thing about the Mavens is that they each teach you something different, not only about writing, but about life. As fancy as Beverly may have appeared, she was really just focused on appreciating the beauty of the simple pleasures in life. No one valued a bouquet of fresh cut flowers or a delicate tea cup like she did. The laughter of her grandchildren or value of making someone feel welcome and special in her home. It wasn't about anything other than making the most of every moment. Why save that china for a special occasion? Make today special and enjoy what you have in your life. And now that there won't be any more moments with Beverly, it makes me all the more aware of the idea that I need to do the same.