after f2fb friend #160 johnny bladez said goodnight, i prepared for bed and glanced out of the bedroom window to see that he sat on the front stoop, smoking a cigarette. we had had some laughs and the two parties had been fun, but we had also talked a lot about the different challenges he was and is facing. bad friends, bad relationships, bad choices, bad options. i wondered if keeping him company would help and then realized, no, we all have to have the time to sit on a front stoop, smoke a cigarette and sort things out in our head.
i have made no secret of my early life. being adopted when i was three. a schizophrenic mother. leaving home. living on the streets (not very successfully). foster placements. juvie detention. dropping out of high school. bad friends, bad relationships, bad choices, bad options.
but somewhere along the line i had the sitting down on the front stoop. i’m not sure if i smoked a cigarette. and i had said all that i had to say about that moment to johnny.
a facebook friend joan asked me about that front stoop moment for me. because i did turn things around. i went to college. then law school. got married. had kids–neither of whom has shown up on the police blotter, i’m happy to say. it was no idle question for her. joan works with native american children in north dakota who are at risk.
i sent her a three hundred page autobiography last night. she read it last night. while i puttered about the house. while i looked outside the window again and knew that johnny was walking home. while i slept and while i woke up to go bike riding with f2fb friend #161 lee padgitt.
lee is in rotary with me. we are both fifty years old and we’re realizing that we’ve made the choices, we’ve done what we can with our options. we’re pretty settled that we’ve done pretty all right. and we’re treating ourselves a little at the midcentury mark: i’m meeting my friends and lee is spending a lot of time riding his bike. he and his wife have three children who are still at home, but soon he will have long bike rides to take. . .
my friend joan read the book and sent me a note that read in part. . .” It was painful for me to read and yet I couldn’t stop reading it~It’s perfect and horrible and humbling. I’m honored that you would allow me to share your pain and I urge you to get it published. I beg you to have it published.”
i would like to believe that my front stoop moment could help anybody else. and i hope that my jumping out on this year long adventure will help anybody else. but mostly me.
lee and i rode through the botanic gardens and then we had to high five on life and say goodbye!
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