About every week or so, I get a call from somewhere in rural Cleburne County, Alabama. I’m not sure what the place is called. It has to be somewhere around Turkey Heaven, Trickem, Lecta or possibly Edwardsville. I’ve been there and I could probably get there again, but I just don’t know the name of the place.
Since my Daddy passed away over 15 years ago, one of his good friends calls to check on me on a pretty regular basis. It means a lot to me and I know that this friend of his understands that it does. We talk about his kids, my kids, his grandkids and life in general.
He is about as country as country can get. Through the years, he has aged, but his sense of humor and outlook on life have not. A tall fellow who would probably remind you a little of country comedian Jerry Clower when he talks and maybe Reverend Billy Graham when he spreads his wisdom. He might throw in a few words and phrases that might sound a little irreverent, but I know he would never mean anything in that way.
He’s a very tall man and I know what he’ll say when I ask him, “What are you up to?” He will say, “About six four,” or however tall he is feeling on the particular day. There are those who ask you, “How are you doing?” just to make conversation and those who ask the same question who sincerely want to know how you are doing because they care.
This fellow sincerely wants to know. He wants to know because he thinks a lot of me and wants me to be alright. Being very close to my Daddy and appreciative of their relationship, I think he is continuing to fulfill their long friendship.
When you lose your parents, you lose the ability to talk to them and learn from them and be loved by them. This fellow understands that and does his best to help fill a deep void in my life. Sometimes he will tell me how much it meant having my Daddy around to talk to about work and about life in general. He knew my Daddy’s problems and I’m sure my Daddy knew his.
It had been a few weeks since I had heard from him. On this particular day, instead of asking him what he was up to, I asked him, “How are you?” This was after he had asked me the same. His response kind of got to me. He simply said, “Not good.” Knowing him well, I know that if he says “Not good,” it’s not good. Because he has gone through a lot of health issues in the past few years and really fought to keep going. Never complaining, just trudging on.
In a world where our children are faced with broken cellphones (that cost more than most of our first cars) or losing credit cards, wrecking cars or other things that seem to be so important at the time – we should step back and think. As most of you do I’m sure, I generally just try to explain to them that there are better or more important things to worry about than such. When you are young, little bumps in the road often seem like mountains.
On this day, when my Daddy’s friend - my friend who I think of as substitute for my Daddy, told me the truth. As far as better things to worry about, I consider this one of them. I’m guilty of being selfish – selfish because I just don’t know what I would do without those conversations that come from a place I can’t even find on a map.
I can’t find them on a map, but I can find them in my heart. People who mean the most to us will always be found there. Sure, I worry a little about politics, taxes and the world in general, but I save the most worry for those people who have made the most difference in my life.
CMT Column from the week of March 13, 2017, All Rights Reserved and Stuff like that..
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I'm BN Heard and I like semicolons, dogs and having good friends who care.
I will be back on stage April 30th hosting the Better Said Than Done show at Jammin' Java in Vienna, Virginia.
Below is a video from Better Said Than Done's January Show where I told a story about my Papa and going to Vernon, Florida.