Birmingham, Alabama was properly alerted (and warned) that the “B”‘s were coming to town. And, did they ever! I’m sure the excitement of the event will be talked about for many days to come.

On December 30, the “B”‘s began to converge on the city, filled with anticipation for a week-end like no other! And it didn’t disappoint. Kat and Tonja (accompanied by sister, Joy) arrived early in the day and began the arduous task of fulfilling the wishes of those on their lists. As fun as shopping can be…their minds were looking forward to the night’s meeting, when the “B”‘s would once again be together. Kat and Tonja got checked into their rooms and began the debate as to how early to arrive at the famed Cheesecake Factory. Tonja called early in the day to reserve their best table…you can imagine her dismay when told that they did not accept reservations on week-ends. She quickly reminded them that this was the “B” Club we were talking about, but even after checking with the manager…the answer was still no. Strike 1 for the C. Factory. Tonja’s son, Ian, who lives in B’ham, advised them to expect at least an hour’s wait. So, Tonja and Kat, being the kind souls that they are, decided it was they who should sit and do the waiting in probably the noisiest lobby in town. Factories do tend to be noisy…and as you would expect, cheesecake building requires the use of much loud, heavy equipment. What’s the deal here? Was it declared C.Factory Day in B’ham? Or was every “with-it” person in town just trying to catch a glimpse of the “B” girls? Lo, there were throngs of famished persons as far as the eye could see…and the “B”s were vexed…sorely. Finally, Kat could stand it no longer, and left in search of liquid refreshment to sustain herself. Over the roar of the crowd Tonja heard a voice akin to a ‘cry in the wilderness’ saying, “Make haste, and get thee over to the bar. I have snagged a place for thee and me to wait. And, liquid refreshment flows freely there.” Tonja went, with much haste, and found a ledge with 2 chairs where she and Kat kept watch over the throng of hungry people…watching with anticipation for the next “B” to arrive. After watching for nigh unto an hour…2 “B”s buzzed on in. Sure enough, it was the Dianne the Delightful and Tracey the Twinkly making the room just glow with excitement! Hugs all around and an abundance of good cheer. Tonja left to remind the keepers of the list that our allotted wait time had been exceeded. “Soon” was all they said. Kat, the Kind, with her second sense ability to sniff out any “B” in the vicinity, said she had a feeling that the arrival of another “B” was imminent. She left to stand watch…and returned quickly, followed by Sandi the Super. More hugs and welcomes…much Boisterous Babbling by the Babes…until the sound of a cell phone snapped us back to reality. On the phone…calling all the way from PA. was charter club member Jean the Jolly. We strained to hear her over the workings of the factory, and were able to tell that she wished she were here in body…while we assured her she was in spirit. Jean, we missed you much! Tonja went back to the List Keeper to insist on proper treatment for her fellow “B”s and this time, she was heard.”We’re cleaning your table as we speak”, said they.
And soon the “B” girls were following the leader to our table. The wait for Tonja and Kat was a l-o-n-g 75 minutes….but the reward of being seated together with friends…IRL…priceless! Of, course, being a party of 5, sitting at a table for 6, was no accident. It was in the extra seat that we paid homage to our distant Jean. Our waitress, Gladys, came over quickly and introduced herself ,proceeded to take drink orders, and fill them. “Ready to order?” said she…”Not yet,” said we. And, Gladys, obviously new to the workings of the Factory, disappeared. We kept seeing her breeze by, but stop she did not. Word is there was a malfunction of the whipped cream whipper and Gladys was the only trained professional able to work on such delicate equipment. Luckily, she saved the day, a crisis was averted, and she could finally take our order. Salads seemed to be the preferred dinner offering. They arrived soon, and our tummies tingled with delight. Delicious! Unable to finish them and anxious to bring the evening to it’s logical conclusion, we had Gladys take them away. We waited with girly anticipation for the next offering…DESSERT! Yes, we would like dessert. Yes, we would like to see the cheesecake menu. yes we were all going to partake in this divine tradition. And partake we did…of our own choice…and everyone else’s. YUMMY! One more quick picture outside, then we all went our own way for a restful night’s sleep with visions of new friends and new adventures for Saturday.
And a glorious Saturday, it dawned. We placed an order for this day…and it was delivered just as we asked. Our meeting to start the day was set for 9:00 at Panera Bread. Tonja was the first to arrive, and sat close to the door to watch for the “B” girls. In walks a tall, blond who looks vaguely familiar…is it?..could it be? IT IS…It’s Rhoda the Rosy. She and Tonja begin to get acquainted and soon Kat joins the group. A quick call from Sandi to say she was on the way. And then, in walks another tall, willowy blond with a big smile. We think it is…yes, it is, Jill the Joyful. She has driven in from Atlanta. What a delight to finally meet she and Rhoda. They look just as we expected…and it’s just like seeing old friends. Tonja, Kat, Rhoda, Jill, Sandi proceeded to sample breakfast goodies, and get the low down on each other’s lives. Tonja presented each of the girls with a sterling “B” charm on a cord to signify their membership in the “B” Club. Tonja and Kat had a tiny computer charm added to their “B”, since they were in attendance at meeting 1 and 2. We ate and talked until we heard from Tracey and Dianne, who were only minutes away. It was time now for the shopping to begin for the day. Rhoda and Sandi had great ideas for places to unload our dollars. Delightful shopping at the Summit, then over to the Homewood area, to explore the treasures there. Jill had to leave us to head back to Atlanta for a previous engagement. Before she left, Kat presented everyone with a cute flamingo ornament to remind us of the beach where she lives. Hugs to our new found friend and godspeed as she travels. Found a wonderful place to eat for lunch…O’Carr’s. Yummy food…yummy company! What a lively group..especially after being sprinkled with magic reindeer dust! Tonja thought they all needed just a tiny sparkle added to their already glowing selves! After lunch, which actually was around 3:00, Jill and Sandi had to return to their responsibilities and Tracey and Dianne had to begin their journey back to Montgomery. Tracey had an appointment that evening, too. Busy ladies are we…and much in demand. So, now we are down to 2…Tonja and Kat, and a guest. We headed back toward the Summit to shop, with plans to meet again for dinner.
Dinner plans were for PFChang’s. Tonja went in to secure a pager from the List Keeper, and was told it would be 90-100 minutes wait…unless they could snag a table next to the bar…they were first come, first served. Always one to welcome a challenge…and unwilling to wait 100 minutes, Tonja began staking out the tables near the door. There..that young couple is finishing their dessert, now paying their bill. Slowly they make their way out and no one..NO ONE standing in the area makes a move for their table. Never one to be bashful, Tonja and sister, Joy, ease over and SIT DOWN! No one says,”Move”…so they relax and wait on Kat, who calls in about 2 minutes asking where we are. She can’t believe we are already seated. Neither can we. All within about 10 minutes of walking in the door. I am thinking that after the fiasco at the Factory last night, word was around town that whoever had the pleasure of our company this evening had to make it up to us. Good job B’ham. We enjoyed our dinner, even though the service was not terrific. Again, being the kind souls that we are, and wishing to pass along our good fortune at securing a table quickly, we gave our table to 2 young mothers with little ones. They were most appreciative. Hugs all around as we exit…bringing to a close Meeting 2 of the “B” Club.
In summary, we travelled, we shopped, we ate, we shopped, we ate, we slept, we ate, we shopped, we ate, we shopped, we ate, we slept, we travelled.
Tucked into our hearts is a new corner, filled with sweet memories of time spent with new friends, yet old. Memories of time spent getting acquainted, even though
already acquainted. Time spent talking of things heard of before yet not spoken of face to face. This new area of friendship through blogging is a strange one. You feel you really know someone, then you meet, and you experience a new friendship…with an old friend. It is unusual, yes, but quite pleasant and warming and comfortable. Just like friendship is supposed to be…however it comes to be.
God Bless Us, Everyone!

Minutes respectfully submitted by Tonja the Thankful…December 4, 2007.