In this part of the country, I think it’s fair to say that we don’t usually see a lot of Lily Pulitzer. We see a lot of fleece, we see a lot of denim, a lot of flannel, a lot of pork pie hats and beards, a lot of clogs, but the bright, summery patterns that practically sing of happiness and sunshine that made Lilly Pulitzer famous? Yeah, not so much of that around here.
To be honest, I don’t know that I had ever heard of Lilly Pulitzer before I met Kathy. It’s possible that I’ve heard the name in passing, my grandmother prided herself on having the drop on fashion, but it wasn’t really until I knew Kathy that I learned about Pulitzer’s signature style. Which makes perfect sense because if you know Kathy, that is SO her! The the quality dresses (and ensuing empire of all things fashionable) that are so impeccably put together in easy, bright, cheery, patterns in girly, feminine styles that speak of pool parties for the upper crust, it’s a style from a notebook from a different part of the country and in some ways, a different time.
Kathy is my only friend with Lilly Pulitzer style. She’s my only friend with Vera Bradley beach towels. She’s my only friend who is part of the National Charity League and you know, in this world of clogs and fleece and flannels, without her, we be living in an absolute desert.
I love that even after 9 years of friendship, she still writes me the most heartfelt, totally unnecessary, but absolutely loved and appreciated thank you notes after a casual get together. I love that she carries on a tradition started by our grandmothers (and likely even farther back) of bringing people goodies at exactly the moment they are most needed. There’s a knock on your door, the sound of an engine fading away, and low and behold, some jam at your threshold. Or perhaps freshly baked choquettes from the most fabulous french bakery. Some small item that says, “YOU ARE LOVED!”
See? Who does this kind of thing anymore? Who minds these small details that have fallen by the wayside of our lives like rotary phones, letterman’s jackets, and quality stationary? Who cares enough about the small things, so keenly understanding that small things add up to big things?
Kathy does. And aren’t we lucky?
On her birthday this year, her exceptionally sweet and kind husband Marc requested a cake from me: a lemon cake. And I was so honored because, truly–what a joy to make this cake for my sweet friend! To see the glorious sunshine of lemon curd, the bright lemon zest in the filling and in the cake, to figure out how to make homemade sprinkles just in the very nick of time so that I can accent her lemon yellow cake with beautiful strawberry flavored pink sprinkles, and know that it’s going to be for her, it is all such fun. I love making cakes, but I especially love making cakes for friends. I love making something for them that is JUST for them, just as this perfect lemon cake in colors that are surely straight from the pages of Lilly Pulitzer’s spring catalog is so perfectly suited for my sweet, funny, classically sophisticated friend. That is indeed a lucky assignment for someone lucky to have such a wonderful friend.
Happy Birthday Mrs B–we all love you so very much!!!