I finally joined the new century and purchased a Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone a few weeks ago. My dumb phone is feeling quite lonely tucked away in my office drawer. My new wonderphone has an integrated calendar that lets me know about friend’s birthdays. There is a small birthday cake with candles in the weather window on the main screen. I clicked on the flaming sticks of wax to see which lucky friend was turning a new leaf today. Turns out to be my friend Mike from Chicago. Even though we only speak a few times per year, I consider him to be a dear friend. He is a loving father to his son Ethan, a loving husband to his wife Aimee, and super competent VP of finance for a large public company in the Windy City. I am lucky to have him as a friend.
After that chat, I opened up my email and had a nice note from a wonderful lady, Annette, from South Africa that I met on the Camino. We were having an email conversation about a photo that we both enjoyed from Spain. My next message was from Jose in Oceanside, CA. He ran the Boston Marathon last week and has written some astounding words on his Facebook page. He thanked me for my comments and has agreed to help me with ideas for marketing my upcoming book. He runs the public library system in a large portion of Southern California. I am lucky to have them as friends.
The next stop on my busy agenda was a trip to Axiom Gym for some weightlifting. While pumping some iron, I had a nice chance to speak with Heidi. I have known her for years and she had a few questions about a recent TV story about my Camino. I had a nice talk with her and may try to speak to her company. A few minutes later, John approached me an asked about the Statesman Story. His brother, Rich, was my optimist football coach 42 years ago. I am lucky to have them for friends.
Before the Camino trip, my friend Mark sent me two music CDs from his home in Tuscon, AZ. This music was very important to me while walking The Way. My editor asked me to make a playlist of my favorite songs to be included in the back of the book. I finished the list last night and burned two CDs that were mailed to Mark today. I titled them Santiago I and Santiago II. I hope he enjoys them. I mailed them from a local mailing business and the owner, Russ, took my phone number to schedule a round of golf down the road. Two steps out of his door, I ran into Steve, an old friend from my Father’s era. He is a nationally renowned photographer and we made plans to have him review my 2,295 pictures. When I got in the car, my friend Carlos called me from Iris’s (his mom) house in Florida. He is visiting her for eight days. He told me about the fun he is having by riding on the boardwalk bike trails and spending time with his wonderful Mom. They are all great freinds. I am lucky to have these people in my life.
Around 11:00 AM, the time had come to hop on my mountain bike as an appetizer to meeting some friends for coffee and dessert at Java on 13th. While riding my bike, I saw a real estate sign with the name of a former girlfriend named Jacque. We have remained close friends since breaking up many moons ago. She is a star. En route to the mountains, I rode through the grounds of Highlands Elementary school. I did grades 1-6 at that location and thought of all the friends from that time. While making the initial ascent up the hill, I passed the home of Suzie, my former neighbor. I am lucky to have these people as friends.
After a great ride, I spent time with Dave and Kris while devouring a king sized rice krispy treat. They have both recently retired and took time out of their day to meet me for food and chat. It was nice to catch up with them and we made plans to see a movie and visit the local farmers market soon. I am lucky to have them as friends.
When I arrived at home, my inbox had a note of gratitude from Ben at GoLite. He instigated the presentation at their store and we made a new friendship. His message included an invitation to dine at his house. I also had a phone message from an aspiring author named Yvette. She is interested in learning about the book writing process. I look forward to cultivating these new friendships.
While walking the Camino, I was always amazed at the random people that would cross my path. I really made an effort to extend a handshake when they crossed the second time. Be open to letting people into your lives. You just may end up with a plethora of good people that will expand your horizons, help you through tough times, and entertain you with their unique stories. If they are stalkers, you can always send them back to the curb!