This is actually the second bit of poetry I've written in honor of dear Heidi.
The first was written a few years ago. I was going to be in Arizona on Heidi's birthday, and so I wrote her a poem, and coerced several of our friends to do the same. Getting and reading all those poems great fun for me, possibly even more fun for me than it was for Heidi.
Heidi is a BIG celebrator of birthdays, which always turned out to be such a blessing for me. In the many years that we were roommates, Heidi arranged parties for me pretty much every year. Once year, she coerced many of our friends to create pictures, photos, drawings, paintings, sculptures (well, one sculpture), and other fun things, and she had a "Charlotte Museum", all of which she did without me suspecting a thing. Another year she and Amanda put together a travel party for me, where we went to different homes and had different foods throughout the night. We had a pinata and everything. Even this past birthday, she secretly got the e-mail addresses of many of my friends and family, and invited them to send me birthday cards and letters to her home in Alabama, since that's where Eric and I were on March 13 this year.
I'm less creative AND less confident when it comes to birthdays, unfortunately for Heidi. At times in past years I would get I get a wild hare about some great fun thing I could plan for Heidi's birthday, but I would always talk myself out of it, telling myself that it was a little too crazy, and that probably no one would enjoy it, least of all Heidi. Silly Charlotte. Anyway, because of that, the celebrations that we had for Heidi in those roommate years were significantly less extravagant, and more predictable. We would nearly always have a party of some sort with all our friends and acquaintances invited around May 30, and then often we would do something involving fewer people (local-ish roadtrip, dinner, movie, picnic, etc.) on the actual birthday. One year we went to Park City for some shopping and girl time, another year we took our men (the ones we were dating anyway, neither of us were married yet) to Antelope Island (by the Great Salt Lake) for a little adventure with the brine shrimp.
So, anyway, that's a longer-than-I-was-expecting-to-write description of birthdays past. And now we get on to the poem:
Ode to Heidi Jo
by Charlotte C. Cantwell
"Excellent notion!"* I say as I hear
Another brilliant Heidi-idea that makes its way to my ear.
As we snack on brownies (topped with coconut of course)
And discuss the doings of our day, until we're nearly hoarse.
It was from 10:30 to 11:00 or so every night,
We called it "Heidi/Charlotte time", and it fit just right.
We'd talk about our day, and the thoughts that we'd had
We'd talk about the troubles, the joys, the good and the bad.
For years it went on like this, we thought it might never end,
But little did we know what was waiting around the bend.
Big changes for Heidi were looming quite near,
She became a wife, an Alabamian (is that a word?), and a mother all in less than a year.
But thanks to our friendship and our in-calling plan (thanks, Verizon!),
We still talk over our lives, as often as we can.
She's given me counsel about dating and being wed,
about pregnancy, and adjustments, and keeping babies fed.
(You have no idea how I picked Heidi's brain about pregnancy, infant care and mommy survival last March when we were out there! I can hardly express what a blessing it has been for me to have her just a couple of steps ahead of me in engagement, marriage, pregnancy, and (soon) motherhood. What a relief!)
But mostly we laugh, and that's best of all
We laugh over everything, both big and small.
And as I look over the years, I can say with absolute glee,
I was blessed with a friend who is the best she could be!
(Sappy, but true. And hey, if you've been reading here for very long at all, you know that there's going to be sap from time to time)
So to my dear Heidi, I leave a wish on your day,
May your birthday be happy, one great big HOORAY!
"Excellent Notion!" is a phrase that Robert Ferrars uses in the movie (and possibly the book, it's been awhile since I read it) Sense and Sensibility when his sister informs him that she has invited (the devious) Miss Lucy Steele to their home for a visit. Robert later marries Miss Lucy Steele, once he has secured himself as the one to inherit the Ferrars fortune. Anyway, I just think that particular line in the movie is pretty funny, and Heidi and I both get a kick out of using the phrase "Excellent Notion!" whenever we can get away with it.