You know that feeling you get when you’re able to spend time with someone you haven’t seen in years? Someone who genuinely loves you for exactly who you are? Lucky me…I got to do that yesterday! Leon and I spent an entire day with one of my favorite people in the world, Carlton D. Baker II, and his wonderful wife, Michele. I’ve known Carlton for about 35 years. We met at my sorority house at Southern Methodist University right after I pledged. (He was a little brother for the sorority, and one of the first people I met there…I’ve loved him ever since.) Anyway, he and Michele were vacationing in Paris and took 14 hours away from that incredibly romantic city to spend a day just hanging out with us in London. We did all sorts of fun, touristy things that Leon and I don’t normally do. All in all, it was a simple, perfect day.
The weather was clear and sunny (well…sunny for London, anyway!) Since it wasn’t terribly cold, walking around the city was actually fun. We had a full schedule of things to do together, all of which allowed us to talk the entire time. Honestly, it doesn’t get any better than that.
We met Carlton and Michele’s train at St. Pancreas station. Then the four of us caught the tube over to Covent Garden where we poked around in antique shops, bookstores, and even art galleries. Michele bought herself a set of vintage “Alice in Wonderland” prints in a Lewis Carroll bookstore filled with dusty, old first editions.
We almost walked right past a tiny, old hat shop, lined floor to ceiling with fedoras in every color. Carlton is a total “hat guy” so we all went inside to play dress up. I tried on a teal-colored Trilby that made Leon stop dead in his tracks. He said it made me look just like Catherine Zeta-Jones in the movie “Red 2.” The next thing I knew, out came his credit card. (I’m guessing he has a secret thing for CZJ.)
One of the nicest parts of the day was getting to know Michele a little better. I’ve always loved her simply because of how happy she made Carlton, but this visit gave me the chance to get to know her better, and I saw first hand how cool she really is. She’s one of those great 1940s-style women, like a black & white film star who’s a true “broad” in the best sense of the word (picture Barbara Stanwick). Completely comfortable in her own skin, she’s down to earth and easy to be with. Michele is calm and smart and pulls no punches. Best of all, she’s a beautiful example of what confidence in a woman should look like. Needless to say, I liked her…a lot.
The four of us wandered around Covent Garden a while longer, ending up at B Bakery where we had reservations for High Tea. Every single bite was delicious: soft, buttery scones with clotted cream, bacon sandwiches, passion fruit & mango tarts, raspberry & chocolate macarons, butter cookies with cream cheese frosting, dark chocolate mini-cupcakes. (And I thought the French were the kings of pastry!)
After we were completely high on sugar, we walked to Windsor Pier so we could show Carlton and Michele Parliament and Elizabeth Tower. Then we all boarded a boat for the slow cruise down the Thames to Tower Pier which lets off right at Borough Market. We did a bit of the farmer’s market thing and then hugged goodbye at least three or four times before finally separating for the time being. We even made plans for them to come back sometime in the next year when they can actually stay with us for a few days! I can hardly wait.
This visit reminded me how important it is to cherish your soulmates, those few people throughout your life who always see your soul, rather than your looks — who always speak to the best part of who you are. Those are the people who make you feel like you are perfect just as God made you.
True soulmates can float into your life in a romantic way, of course. But they can also find you as family or even friends. The wonderful thing is that you can have more than one soulmate in your lifetime. I’ve had a few, and Carlton is definitely one of them. Every minute spent with him is something I treasure.
I have a question for you. Who have been your soulmates over the years? Take a moment out of your day to write or phone them. Take the time to tell them just how much they mean to you. If you’ve lost track of them completely, google them and try to reconnect that way.
Believe me…telling someone how much you love them will always make you feel grateful. And that…is a very good thing.
Notes: If you’d like to know more about B Bakery, here’s a link to their website: https://b-bakery.com