Thursday, January 26, 2006

Another Day

In some ways, I have an idyllic life. I live in a largish house a couple miles outside a small town on our very own acre in the woods. In summer you can hardly tell we have neighbors because of the incredible thatch of undergrowth in the trees. We have a large, busy, recreational lake about a quarter mile in one direction and a smaller, more laid-back lake about a quarter mile in the other (on which we have a share of a lot where we can put in a dock and boat if we so desire). There's great shopping 20 minutes away with everything you could ask for, there are resorts around all over the place and yet there's a slower, small-town kind of pace people follow that I find very familiar from my childhood and very comforting.

My drive from work leads me through a (very) small town and down a highway about 6 miles or so along the shore of aforesaid large lake until about a quarter-mile from my house where I turn off. I enjoy that drive immensely, especially in winter when I often work until after dark. The lights across the lake glitter like a crowd of distant angels, especially when I get closer to my turn and see another town up ahead, built up the side of the hill and shining lights every inch of the way.

Tonight, just when I was getting ready to go home, I got a call from The Wife inquiring if I would please pick up a friend of "Josie's", who lives in the little town where I work, and bring her out for a visit. Somebody else would come out and pick her up later, so I wouldn't have to drive her home. Why not?

I'll tell you why not. Because she turned out to be a very nice girl, but seemed really shy. As it happens, I'm not much of a conversationalist with people I don't know at all. My gambits were used up after I had asked her what grade she was in and what school she went to. She never even threw me a bone. I sweated all the way back home trying to think of something so that I could come off as this cool guy who's "Josie's" foster dad, and the best I could do is "boy, I really like your school". I am the lamest man I've ever known.

Still, it's small price to pay for the look on "Josie's" face when she saw her friend. What a smile that girl has. I doubt she'll ever know how much she's coming to mean to The Wife and I.



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