My recent donation to Jefferson County Relay for Life honors my friend Lael who died too soon from cancer.
I first met Lael when I reported for work at Montgomery County Parks and Planning in 1977. I was coming from a rural planning department in Monroe, Michigan and was dressed in my best “virgin polyester” blouse and skirt, sporting a plastic purse and wearing shoes from the local Shoes for Less.
And there was Lael, a beautiful, well-coiffed, blonde beauty, adorned in a classic outfit, wearing gorgeous jewelry and exuding confidence.
My reaction was immediate. NO WAY were we going to be friends…this Lael person was out of my league.
It did not take me long to discover that Lael was as warm and caring and fun as she was gorgeous and sophisticated.
Lael took me under her wing in 1977 and we went shopping together. First stop: a new purse. “What’s that smell?” I asked when we entered the accessories department at Woodward&Lothrop. “Leather,” Lael replied. I left with a Coach bag. Then we updated my wardrobe. I kept gravitating to navy blue (my growing up in Catholic school uniforms assured I would always gravitate to the Virgin Mary’s color palette) but Lael had bigger plans for me. At the end of the day, I no longer looked like a refugee from the Corn Belt.
We travelled together, most memorably to Argentina in 2005. Lael was so darn much fun. We roomed together for 10 days and laughed our way through Patagonia, Mendoza and Buenos Aires.
In sports, television announcers always refer to special athletes as “the complete package.” When it comes to life, Lael was the complete package. She was gorgeous, elegant, classy yet warm and caring.
Lael died in 2012 and I miss her every day. I can’t figure out why Lael is gone. The world needs more people like Lael. I am just going to have to trust in God that there is some cosmic reason why family and friends have to go on without her.
Maybe some angels need fashion advice.