Friday, January 24, 2014

A Tribute to Laurel K

Yesterday I shared a story about one of my classmates from high school, may his soul rest in peace.  Today I'm paying tribute to another friend who treated me like a member of her own family.  It's not my place to understand why these friends got called up to Heaven at such a young age, their entry into the Kingdom separated by only twenty-four hours.  I grieve for the friends and family members who are dealing with the losses of these two special individuals.  My prayer warrior band I wear is my constant reminder about what I can do – pray.  And how I can use my gifts – pay tribute.  Here goes:

Memories of Laurel

The first time I met Laurel K was in January, 1984.  She and her husband were one of my very first customers at a tennis club in North Phoenix where I landed my first job out of college.  Laurel and her husband walked in to tour the facility.  I was the new tennis director and head pro.  Our office manager, Judy, was behind the counter when the couple walked in.  She was making faces behind them while I was attempting to talk about our club.  Her distractions made me laugh so hard I was sure I lost the sale.  At the conclusion of the tour, they thanked me for my time and departed.  I immediately went upstairs and told my boss how I floundered and I promised to do better in the future.

The next day, Laurel and her husband returned.  They asked for me and refused to let anyone else assist them.  I was shocked when they presented me with a check for one year's dues paid in advance for the entire year.  Every day for the next thirty days, another application for membership with a check for one year's dues was delivered to me so that their employees could become members.  In fact, all the employees filled up my classes.

Laurel's husband asked me if I would like to join his company.  I politely declined, telling him tennis was my dream job.  The owner found out about the offer and asked me to terminate the membership with Laurel and her husband because he didn't like anyone "stealing" his employees.  That sealed my fate.  I told Laurel's husband I would be leaving the tennis world and joining their company.

Laurel's husband asked me if I would take a night class with Laurel.  The first session was scheduled for St. Patrick's Day.  "I'd love to," I told Laurel's husband.  We can go to class and then check out Malarkey's later in the evening to celebrate my favorite day of the year.

The instructor took one look at Laurel and me, all dressed up in matching green suspenders with green hats, and thought to himself, here comes trouble.  The class was based on Dale Carnegie's book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.  The instructor became one of my closest friends.  The class was amazing.  Laurel got sick and had to drop out before graduation.

Laurel's husband became business partners with my former general manager from my tennis job and they built twenty-eight condos a couple of blocks away from the tennis courts.  Her husband asked me if I would like to get a real estate license and sell his condos.  My best friend and another classmate from high school found out what I was doing and each decided to purchase a condo.  I didn't have enough savings for my own down payment.  Laurel and her husband allowed me to live rent free in their home so I could save enough money to buy my own place and live next door to my high school buddies.

When I moved to California, I bought a home a couple of blocks away from Laurel's sister.  My wife worked with Laurel's sister at a dry cleaner where Nancy was a manager.  When we had children, Nancy's three children were our go-to babysitters.  Nancy offered prayer warrior bands to my wife and I before we moved to Iowa so we would always be safe.

Earlier in the week, Laurel's sister asked me to prayer for Laurel.  I immediately put on my prayer warrior band and sent out prayer requests to all my friends.  The responses were overwhelming.  Heaven and earth were in a tug-of-war for Laurel.  Yesterday, Heaven won.  Jesus summoned Laurel to be with Him in Heaven.  There is a void here on this planet.  The world lost a very special lady.  I ask you to please pray for those who are missing Laurel.  May she rest in peace.

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