|I been in the right place, but it must have been the wrong time; or so goes the song by Dr. John. Maybe I was too, but who can really say? All I know is I walk into a drug store in downtown Newark a couple of weeks ago, looking for an old friend who, I’m told, was employed there. I’m a little anxious and uneasy because I haven’t seen this guy in almost twenty years. And even though I’m looking forward to the meeting, I am mindful that it’s not a social call. I’ve got some real bad news to deliver. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong!
The place is bustling with the typical five o’clock crowd, and the fact that I grew up in this city doesn’t stop me from feeling like the bastard step-child at a family reunion. Nevertheless, it’s a welcome escape from the stampeding suburbanites fleeing the city on the other side of the door. I eye the cashier, a weathered and withered old guy tending to a long line of customers, mostly women on cell phones. I walk past them hoping to spot someone who looks like they might be in charge, wondering how anyone could work here without losing their God forsaken mind and suddenly…
The sound is followed by a chorus of packages hitting the floor – bags, boxes, plastic containers – and a symphony of coins whirling around in countless spirals. The screaming started right after that.
Twenty-four years ago today, I had a remarkable and unforgettable conversation with a young woman, a PLYT, at a dinner party celebrating my brother-in-laws thirty-fifth birthday.
We talked about a lot of things that night; but what I remember most is the way she shared with me the innermost desires of her heart and the three things – above all else – she most aspired to be: A praying woman of God; A faithful wife; and a good mother.
So I made her my wife, and I made her a mother. And I will even go so far as to say I am partially responsible for having made her a woman of God, because that’s exactly what she had to become in order to have endured twenty-four years of life by my side!
I’m not sure if she believes she has or will ever become the woman she aspired to be those many years ago, and it really doesn’t matter. Because to me… she has been that woman every single day for the last twenty-four years!
Happy Anniversary … to me!