I’ve been spending a bit of time over at George’s house the last couple of days. He’s going to be having knee replacement surgery (on BOTH legs) in a few days, so I’ve volunteered to help him plan out how life will be while he recuperates. Little things, like helping to make sure he has food prepared so he doesn’t have to stand at a stove top and cook, making sure his little dog gets out to use the bathroom and such, and even more importantly, making sure he has some company.
So, today I went over to bring him some cantaloup and boiled peanuts. I found this MASSIVE cantaloup for crazy cheap and when I cut into it, it was ripe and juicy and….well, far too much for one little man like me to eat before it went bad, so I took some over to George. And since finding green peanuts for boiling have been a little hard to find lately, the one’s I had I offer to share with him. He’s from North Florida, which is pretty much South Georgia, so he’s a big boiled peanut fan, too.
Surgery can be scary. George is now 60. I’m sure he’s a little weirded out over being out of commission until December. (Yes, on leave from work until December….ouch). I had my visit with him, we hung out in his backyard, talked about little things I could do to help once he comes home from surgery, then left….but, the walk home proved something unique in my thinking.
It was later in the day, that point where the sun has begun its descent and the earth ushers in some shadows. The cicadas start their shrilling drill in symphonic unison, and the last rays of the day burst through leaves to leave trails of sunbeams to put a spotlight on things. And as I stepped home I was reminded of some breath taking brilliance and beauty in my life. The idea of friendship and fellowship, of connection, of history.
I could never have made it in this life this far, found something tangible and worthwhile without you; I’m at the ready with a cantaloup and my time, because that’s all I can offer. And I would have never ever found myself experiencing the joy of such a thing, of how VALUABLE that little bit is, had it not been for the experiences I’ve had sharing this blog with you.
You are all wonderful supporters, friends I have yet to meet, lights brightly pushing off any darkness that brings me to my knees. You read my work, you read this blog, you buy my bears, and you share your time, your thoughts, your care with me. And I have often said proudly, that I would start paying it forward, in the best way that a man can with what I have. And there was no finer reason than to start now. I have an old friend who is going to be incapacitated, with not a lot of company, with not a lot of help for the next few months. So, yes. It starts with something as simple as a walk over to his house to hand him some cantaloup. “You need some good food in you, man!” A bag of boiled peanuts. “You need to enjoy yourself, man!” And my time sitting and chatting with him in the back yard. “You need to know you’re not alone, man!”
I think we forget, or at least I do sometimes, the value of just letting someone know they aren’t alone. And you’ve all done that for me. You’ve all done some amazing things to bring me back from the brink of destruction. And I will never EVER be able to thank you enough for it. I’ll never be able to fully convey to someone outside of this page on the web that we share, what you mean to me. And more so, when asked about my friends, I no longer say, “Yeah, I’ve got two wonderful friends, George and Kara.” I now admit to having more than I could have ever dreamed possible in one man’s lifetime.
I offered to go to the hospital to sit with George in the recovery room after surgery. Do you know that he foolishly asked me what I’d be doing all that time in the waiting room and then in his hospital room? “Seems like a waste of time sitting there all day while I’m in surgery, then passed out.”
“Well, I think I’d feel much better about waking from surgery knowing I wasn’t alone,” I replied.
“But, its hours…. What you are going to do the whole time?”
“Knit teddy bears, of course….”
Please keep adopting them.