She Caught my Eye
I Need to Chat
Once the couple was seated behind me, I couldn't really study them anymore. But I still felt like I just wanted to chat with these folks. I'm not sure why. Then I saw the woman get up and head for the buffet.
Meet Up at the Fruit Bar
I approached the fruit bar and opened the conversation with a stupid comment. "Now why would they have grated cheese at a fruit bar?" That's all it took.
Nita was a talker and by the time I returned to the table I was able to tell Don the scoop. Nita was 84 years old and has lived in Terlingua, since she left work at a livestock research facility in the '90's.
Nita brought Ray over to meet us before they left. His hair was neatly slicked back in his leahter hat and his gentle Canadian accent oddly reminded me of Lawrence Welk. When they found out we would be in the Terlingua area in a few days, they playfully demanded we come for "2-for-1 burger night" at Starlight. "We'll be there at 5, when they open. They always have our seats and Bud Lites waiting for us!" When Nita and Ray headed off, I couldn't help but smile at their immaculate bluejeans, which I'm pretty sure had creases. I am more sure about the fact Nita fit her little jeans better than most young cowgirls today!
By the time Don and I reached Starlight on Monday night, the place was packed and we spotted Nita and Ray at the bar sipping coffee. We grabbed beers, but before attempting to greet them, Nita had made her way over and was reprimanding us for not saying hello. She laughed and told us to bring our beers on over. For the next hour, Nita and Ray introduced us to every local in sight and by the time they hugged us good-bye (Nita reminded me that she doesn't do handshakes) they left us chatting with a crowd.
One Last Encounter
sweaters and jackets and warming hands on coffee mugs. There were cowboy hats and trucker hats and knit, hiker hats. Nita spotted us and she and Ray grabbed their mugs and moved over to some nearby chairs for a while. Once again, they made sure we met every person in the place, making us feel like we were part of the big breakfast gang. There were group discussions about the community and how new people sometimes move in with all their gripes and baggage and try to change things. We talked about Big Bend Park and the possibility of cell service. "You miss the scenery when you're staring at your cell phone!" Nita laughed. Then she described a bear that climbed an electric pole, right at the lodge. "That thing hit the wires and just fried! Those young people with their cell phones just missed the whole thing!"
I don't know about that bear story? But I loved the way you told it with your big charm and enthusiasm.
You are one of the most welcoming people I have ever met. I'm also not the only one who thinks you have a mighty cute figure. Just ask a couple of the younger gentlemen at the bar!
To celebrate my birthday in April 2012, I decided to reflect on the past with a different kind of list. I've met a lot of people in my 55 years, but I'm going to stop and remind myself about the strangers I've met. These are people I met by accident, not through friends or work. For some reason, these strangers dropped into my life. Even though we may have only spent a few minutes together, these people have never been forgotten.
Each week, I'll spotlight someone I met in the past, who in some small way, made me stop and think.
Remember 55 Strangers