Lindsay was a notorious gift giver. She squelched any fear I may have had that I would cease to be spoiled on my birthday as an adult. There is no need to limit myself to birthdays when recalling the famous generosity of Linds, though they do typically make for historic stories. Friends from out of town surprising me for my birthday freshman year of college? Who better to coordinate than my newly minted best friend. Sophomore year I awoke to a gift basket from Linds and RyGuy- the West Wing, Arrested Development, a Build-A-Bear to slumber with (donned in bathrobe and all), and a universal remote to turn on the TV's "Sleep" function. I learned later that prior to the remote, she had been waiting up at night in our confined dorm room until I fell asleep (after approximately 10 minutes), watching whole episodes alone, getting out of bed, and turning the TV off. It took her almost two years to point out that I would oftentimes start the exact same episode over the next night and replay this entire sequence again. In case there was any doubt, she was an avid West Wing fan by the end of college. She quoted it often, which I merely thought was a sign that I had picked my roommate right.
Nothing tops my junior year birthday- the big 2-1. Ironically, this one went down in Paris where my digits could not have mattered less. And yet it couldn't have been a bigger deal. Somehow I managed to lure the Duke-Euro posse to Rue Seguier (Anne and my "humble" abode). Enter Mary, Ruffin, Grace, and Linds from the US! As she aptly phrased it "I've got a present coming… and it happens to be accompanied by a 6 ft tall blonde." Linds and I spent December 3rd biking through the streets of Paris, perusing all respectable sights to be seen and later picking up some brews to sip on in front of la Tour Eiffel. After an exhausting hour lounging on a bench, we stopped in for some espresso obviously carefully tying up our bikes. Upon our return (l'horreur!), one of our bikes had been stolen. We somehow established that it was mine. No surprise there- civil engineers don't typically muck-up bike locks. I dreaded the 150 euro fine I was sure to receive on my AmEx as it was a birthday ruiner, but somehow it never came. I bragged for months about the "Birthday Miracle of 2k7." I had fooled the system and walked away unscathed. She told me a year later that she, of course, had been charged the almost 200 dollars for my bike that day, but never wanted to tell me. It was my birthday gift. Of course the real gift that year was the 6 ft tall blonde.
This past December, Linds sent me a maroon infinity scarf she had knitted herself when she was sick in her last few months. "Infinity scarves are all the rage", she assured me. And as if that wasn't persuasive enough, she printed a SomeEcard demanding, "You're obliged to love what I made you." I do. It was truly my best birthday gift yet.
Birthdays are one day a year. To be best friends with Linds was to feel like the luckiest person in the world for 365. And as I'm sure all of you know, the things Linds gave us that matter most do not come in boxes. Like her famous sense of generosity. So as Lindsay so definitively taught me to do, I have been thinking non-stop of the things that I can give today, particularly to her family. The best thing I could come up with, are memories.. And though we all agree that great Lindsay stories are easy to come by, all of these are priceless.
Happy birthday to LAR. And thanks to so many of her fans, for sharing anecdotes that we could not possibly know without mastering the meaning of generous.