Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Something really weird happened this morning. I bumped into an old friend of mine while dropping Fred off at the “Hill”. Now this alone is not enough to make an interesting post, but just four hours later Lucy is sitting at her desk and in walks another old friend we had lost contact with over the past five years. What are the odds of that? It’s probably not as staggering a statistic as I would like for it to be, but it’s still pretty odd that both connections would be re-established in the same day.

My half-sister (I hate that term. From now on I’m just going to refer to her as my sister) lives in a big city and it looks like my brother (still in Iowa) will end up in Nashville. I think I’m happy with my tiny town though. I wrote once about how everywhere I turn there is a story from my past waiting to be told. The big city just seems to have too many strangers for my tastes. I can’t imagine doing something as simple as reading the daily newspaper in a larger place. Here we don’t read the paper to find out about the news, we read it to keep up with old friends and enemies. Don’t get me wrong; the front-page headline gets our attention, but the Region section and the Local Crimes report keeps us buying papers. Lucy full admits to reading the obituaries first to see if she has lost an old friend and second to get a heads up on customers who will no longer be making any deposits.
Everybody is connected in this town. Take the two people we found today. During high school I ate lunch with Stephanie everyday. We were part of the same circles; hung out some on the weekends etc…the last night I really spent any time with her was on graduation night. A bunch of us all crammed into a nissan sentra and drove out to some natural land bridge 2 hours away at 1 in the morning only to have everyone chicken out and sit in the car for an hour debating the existence of hungry coyotes and forest dwelling homeless serial killers. I remember I just got the new PM Dawn cassette and I made everyone listen to it. Lucy thinks they sing, “I’d die without shoes” also featured in the movie Boomerang. So today I’m dropping Fred off and there she is. Married, two kids, and teaching at Fred’s daycare. Our kids might even eat lunch together at the high school someday.

Matt was one of the groomsmen at our wedding. We had worked together years back at the same grocery store where Lucy and I met. On Saturday nights would drive out to an old dead end two streets from where my office is now and get drunk while screaming Jimmy Buffet to 20 of our closest friends. It was his truck I jumped out of at just about the 35mph mark. I still have nightmares of dangling off the side while seeing the left rear tire whiz by as I skid to a stop on the hard asphalt. This was not the act of a drunken individual, but merely that of a blockhead who couldn’t tell the difference between 5 and 35mph. I hid it from my parents for 2 days until the pain just got to be too much. My mom made me bite a towel while she poured the peroxide and dug the rocks out of my shoulder. I still shudder at the sound of bacon frying. It was Matt that swore to my mom that I had not been drinking and he did everything he could to help me out. I think his exact words were “I even offered to poor my vodka on him to help stop the infection ma’am.”

After the wedding he moved away and until today I had no clue where he was. Turns out he moved back a few years ago, couldn’t find us in the phone book, and assumed we had also moved. He works for a large company that does business with Lucy’s bank. They sent him over to cash a check today and there she was.

I know there must be a reason people choose to live in cities like New York or LA…but for the life of me I just can’t seem to think any at the moment. In a city of 8 million people do old friends ever meet again?


Peter said...

I am a small town person as well. I like knowing what is happenng around me. I also like to be able to get the story of a person if I want to know.
In my town there are not a lot of secrets. They refer to it as "Peyton Place" I think that was an old TV show, where everybody knew everybody elses business.

Rob said...

I think the internet is making the entire world a small town.

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about my first 'serious' girlfriend finding me after 20 years. The next week, one of my best friends from high school emailed me 'cause he ran across one of my websites.

So the internet is making the world a small town, but I can still get pizza at 2 o'clock in the morning :-)

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I think NOT running into old friends is the part of the draw of a big city. That being said, I ran into my dentist at a museum in a large city 1000 miles away from where we both lived one time. THAT was strange.