When I first met Brenda, I admired how beautiful she was. When I got to know her, I admired the messes she managed to get into and out of so gracefully. I nicknamed her "Beautiful Mess." She let me know she wasn’t so fond of it and didn’t want it to stick, and that the initials were, frankly, not very flattering. We kept it our secret.
At her first wedding she was beautiful and her groom, Smitty (a former teammate of mine in the Town Race series), was a very handsome mess. If you were there, you know what I’m talking about. I left thinking, "There go Mr. and Mrs. Beautiful Mess."
When I heard they were having a son, I thought, "He’ll be rough, tough, handsome and hopefully not a mess." Way to go, Koty!
Often, when Brenda scurried down the stairs of the flower shop to buy something beautiful, it was for someone in a mess, or to get out of a mess, or for someone who messed up. She always wanted to work a deal and her Big Beautiful Heart always talked me into one. That doesn’t surprise anyone, does it?
My admiration for Brenda never changed. We both got busy raising kids and building our businesses and spent less time together being a mess.
When Brenda planned anything, it was with a lust for life: Clown Day, martini bashes, Fourth of July, showers and parties for the girlfriends, she always showed up beautiful and often left a mess, with everyone close behind, especially the boys. You know who you are.
At Christmastime, Brenda handed me a photo of her and Koty in Alaska. She signed it, "Merry Christmas, dear friend. BM." Those nasty initials. She shared our mutual respect and I told her I always admired how buff she remained and how busy she kept planting beauty all over town. We agreed to spend more time together and I planned to hook her up with ski passes for Clown Day, which she was not up to.
When I later learned that all that planting had contributed to the mess that was going to stop her heart, it broke mine.
The last time I saw Brenda, we embraced at a concert at The Canyons. We discussed any and all possibilities that this mess was not true. We cried. We let go, saying, "If I don’t see you soon, I will see you later." I asked her not to mess it up before I get there. We laughed and we cried again.
I will miss you, beautiful.
Kathy Whalen Jones is the owner of Galleria Floral and Design.
“Even the dogs were celebrating the reemergence of the sun.”