The day is growing old, but a new year is just beginning for the one and only Liberty Belle. Just a few more than a few years back when Liberty and I were still roommates, she was rather upset about the prospect of her birthday. We'd just moved to Baltimore. We didn't know a lot of people and gosh darnit, she was turning 18. Newly wedded Kimber had just moved to New York City with David. Since Kimber was usually the keeper of exciting celebrations, Liberty was pretty sure her chances at an appropriate party were minimal.

Unbeknownst to her, Kimber and I had splurged and bought tickets for a matinee of Wicked. I told Liberty we would go up for the weekend to see Kimber.  We went up, got lost in what I still remember as one of the most spectacular street fairs I've ever been to, made our way to Wicked where we cried off all of our mascara and then we got a call. It was my grandfather. He and my grandmother were in town for a very special event. We needed to be there in an hour. The attire was black tie, and we were to stop at his hotel. He would give us money to buy what we needed. The next hour was spent running from store to store, trying to find evening wear that wasn't absurdly expensive. Libby found a little number that looked like star dust. I ended up in one of my grandmother's skirts with the top I was wearing. We arrived just in time to go through metal detectors, meet a few presidents and the U.N. Secretary General. My grandfather must have realized there weren't enough seats, so he took us to the hotel restaurant, ordered us dinner and told us to have fun.

Meanwhile, there had been a steady stream of girls in tiaras ascending the escalators in the Marriott at Times Square. We got curious and finally decided to investigate. We walked into the ballroom like we owned the place. We found out we were attending the after party of Miss Polish America. The evening culminated in the one and only Liberty Belle leading a conga line of hundreds of American Poles, snaking around tables, onto the stage and into the lobby.

To me, this whole experience encompasses who Liberty Belle is. She gets nervous and emotional, but once you get into things, it is SO much more fun and exciting that you could have ever imagined. She's like a lucky charm: When she's there, wondrous things happen. Unexpected jokes are made, exquisite places are found and the mundane becomes unforgettable.

Happy birthday Liberty. Wishing you