This weekend, I answered the phone and heard a very unexpected surprise. No, not anything with the Golden Heart; no, this was even better. My old driller and dear friend, Jimmy, called to see how I was doing. :)
“I’m jus’ sittin’ here watchin’ my grandson’s ballgame, and you popped inta my mind. I thought, ‘ya know, I wander what that girl is up to.’ So, I picked up the phone to give ya a ring.”
Lord, that man knows how to put a smile on my face :) For a quarter hour or so, we shot the breeze and caught up on each other. He offered his hearty congratulations on being a finalist, and I lamented the absence of fish taking his bait this season. I could picture him plain as day, with his white mustache and decades old Alabama Crimson Tide hat perched on his head, wearing a well-worn pair of blue jeans and a button-down flannel with the sleeves rolled up as he sat on the bleachers. His arms would be crossed against the almost overwhelming impulse to tell them dag-gum coaches what for.
As he talks with me, gruff and brusque as ever, I can’t help but think on how much my life has changed in the past year and a half. Memories slip through my mind of the not so distant past, which somehow seems like a different lifetime altogether. Each step I take towards publication takes me that much further from those years of hard labor, Alabama heat, and the job that demanded so much of my mind, body, and soul. I think back on that time and wonder how on earth I ever did it. Cozy in my home with lounge wear on and a laptop computer at my fingertips, it is easy to forget those years and the person I once was.
But sitting there, laughing out loud with one of the truest, most genuine people I have ever met in my life, I’m infinitely glad for that time in my life. Where would I be without my own, personal Good Ol’ Boy cheering me on? A man who, two years after parting, would be sitting at a little league game, thinking about the crazy girl he used to work with who dropped everything to chase her dreams? I don’t even want to know.
I’m so grateful for the winding path of life, which brings into our lives a cast of characters who help to shape who we are. Jimmy is my greatest gift from that particular turn in the road. We just never know when we will meet someone who will make a long and lasting impression on our lives, be it a future husband, best friend, confident, or even your own personal cheerleader, calling to say hello and brighten your week.
Who are some of the people in your life who became an unlikely friend? Have you ever been surprised by the impact someone made in your life?
Speaking of meeting new people, I will be at the RT Booklovers Convention this week If any of you are planning to attend, I hope you’ll let me know!