Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Happiness Is...

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!

8 comments:

  1. I truly believe that some people only come into our lives for a short time and for a specific reason. Others are for a lifetime, but some are just for that short time when you needed them most. For me, that's a friend of mine named Lee who is from Glasgow, Scotland. We met in Amsterdam when I was traveling through Europe alone the summer before graduate school. We met just before the darkest time in my life, and Lee was a true bright spot when I needed it most. Now, whenever he calls out of the blue or posts a message to me on Facebook, it always warms my heart. Gotta love that feeling and those things that take you back and make you appreciate how far you've come.

    Have a great time at RT! Take lots of pics. We'll miss you at the HCRW meeting!

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  2. I think it's two things for me, and I'm not sure either is unlikely. The first isn't so much a person as a time in my life--the ten years that I taught yoga. My students will always be a part of me. They changed my lfie.

    The other person is my spiritual teacher. She appeared when I needed her, and pops up when just about the time I get caught in the "stuff" of life.

    So, Erin. Gotta ask--what was your former job?

    Have the best of times at RT and keep us posted on the goings on through FB and Twitter. I'm counting on you to be my eyes and ears.

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  3. You really should post some of your "other" work pictures with this entry:) It is amazing how far you've come. The joy in your voice after talking with Jimmy was a joy to me and I love him vicariously.

    For me, it's Jack, my friend from the nursing home who taught me to savor my life and to be grateful for each day, and who also taught me about old movies and that love lives long after the lover has passed on -- not a day went by that he didn't cry about his beloved Ellie, and I still plant her favorite roses for him and for her. The second was my mentor, Ivan Moffat, who made me believe I could write and gave me the confidence to go for it...I can still hear his gorgeous rich British accent when he said my name: Kah-rah. They were both legendary curmudgeons and they taught me that it is often the people with the crustiest, gruffest exteriors that have the deepest and most tender hearts. They also taught me to value the wisdom of old age, and to never write some one off because they have more wrinkles than hair. I miss them and am grateful for my years with them every single day.

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  4. Of all the places to meet someone, Amsterdam is pretty darn cool, Sarra! How wonderful that Lee was there for you at exactly the right time - and continues to brighten your life from time to time :)
    And I promise - lots of pictures! Have fun at the meeting.

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  5. How lovely to have so many people impact your life, Lucie :) I think it is amazing that they each added something important to your life.

    I'll do my best to keep up with my duties at RT {saluting smartly} :)

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  6. Oddly enough, Kara, Jack and Ivan had such an impact on your life, they rippled through to my life as well. I am infinitely glad that you found each of those two special men, and that they contributed so much to who you are now :)

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  7. Life really is a crazy, fun path to walk down (or run, who knows). But it's a lovely feeling to look back on the road you've walked and see how it's changed you and shaped you. It's also exciting to see what lies ahead.

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  8. Very well said, BookGeek! Thanks for stopping by:)

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