Friday, May 10, 2013

You just never know!

A cool thing happened last night. I decided to go to a book signing at Lyon Books' Store, to hear local author and pastor, Jim Coons, talk about the book he wrote concerning his journey with cancer; A Line in the Sand.I almost didn't attend the event. Here's what happened.

Before heading out, I find myself debating whether or not I should go, the lawn is needing mowing because it is getting ridiculously overgrown and the sprinklers are set to go on during the night which means I can't mow it in the morning. Mowing the grass seems the more pressing of the two, but I am not at peace with this decision. I ask God if there is a reason I am supposed to go the book signing...and after I ask, I feel He wants me to be there. Getting ready in a hurry, I jump in my car and head to the older downtown area of my city. Cars and people are everywhere, music is playing, it's like a big party.

Thursday Night Market parking. "Oh no!" I hadn't thought about parking issues. Driving around I can't find any spots to park within a manageable proximity to the store. It is almost starting time. I feel like heading back home to mow my lawn. But, I better make sure. "Okay God, if you want me to go to the booksigning, open up a parking space." I drive ten feet, a car starts backing out of the spot in front of me. We're so close I have to use hand signals to tell him how close he's getting to me. "OK, guess you want me there." I park the car, commencing to walk a couple of blocks to my destination. College age students and parents and children are in boisterous spirits. A peace officer is in front of the bookstore. I enter the store; wall to wall people, I don't know any of them. I listen to the presentation, interesting. He has my attention. I feel blessed by what the author says, his words ring true. I hope inside that he will recover from his cancer. He is very frank, tells it like it is. I find a phrase to remember, I like his comment, "Some doctors believe in you (that you will recover) and some don't." All good "but why am I here?"

I see someone who looks familiar.
I go to talk to her. Come to find out she is the mother of a student I taught my very first year teaching back in 1977 at Paradise Christian school. Their family had moved away from California the following summer, a musical family who took their Christian music show on the road in a big flower-painted bus. I never knew where they landed nor heard of them since they left the area. The memories start going through my head like a slide show.  The family singing in chapel and some of the songs they sang with my little student singing the song lyrics, "I'm a promise, I'm a possibility/I'm a promise, with a capital "P" so cutely that I've never forgotten it. I remember the strong handmade bookshelf I bought at their moving sale and used in my classroom for many years, and eating in their home as a newbie teacher, feeling a bit awkward, her whole-wheat chocolate cookies very natural and delicious, my asking her for the recipe. I remember her family well. She tells me about her children. By putting two and two together, I realize that a couple of my older kids were taught by her other daughter at Champion Christian School ( I hadn't made the connection at the time, not remembering their last name) We smile and chat and feel blessed.

I show her my book on the bookstore shelf.
I tell her about its contents after she asks what it is about. She decides to buy a copy so I can sign it. Then she says to me, "I was wondering why I was here. Now I know why. You have encouraged me more than you realize. I can't wait to tell Lynn," her daughter who I taught in kindergarten...who cried and tried to bolt every morning when her mama would leave. I was such a green teacher that year, never quite knowing what to do or how to prepare!  Not thinking I did a very good job at any of it! We exchange phone numbers and she leaves.

Next thing I know, someone says, " Hi, Neighbor!" My next door neighbor is at the book signing, his young son is with him. I tell him that the orange football in their yard is from a party last week for my daughter's birthday, that he could keep it except my grandsons are coming for a visit soon. We talk about this and that. I express that I like it when I see him playing with his children; we've been acquainted just a few weeks since I'm new to the neighborhood.  He says his father played with him and he's doing the same with his children. I show him my book, pulling it off the shelf. He remarks how it must be a rewarding experience to write a book. I say, "There is nothing quite like holding the first copy in your hand. It's like a miracle." And the evening keeps getting better. . .

I greet the proprietor of the bookstore and we share some pleasantries. I compliment her on their new location; she asks me how I'm doing.  Then she asks me if I would like to do a book signing one of these days.  I don't tell her, but it's something I think about and want to do but never have the confidence that people will come since I am an unknown. She thinks some will come, probably twenty to thirty. Her words encourage me to consider the possibility. I just may. . .

Norma Brumbaugh Wieland
May 10, 2013

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