A new friend

Published 5:19 am Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The stairs creaked and groaned as my feet moved from step to step of the lovely old Natchez hotel. My chum and traveling buddy likes to sleep in so I padded off to the dining room when I awoke early. I had snuggled under the sheets until 7 a.m. yesterday, but this morning ideas and happy thoughts awakened me, and I couldn’t lie in bed any longer.

Anne, my buddy since high school, is turning 60 in a couple of weeks so we packed up her SUV and headed out on a little road trip this weekend to celebrate the occasion. What a wonderful couple of days we’ve spent exploring grand old homes, sampling delicious concoctions, laughing, and meeting new people. This was to be our last morning away, and I wanted to enjoy every minute so staying in bed seemed a real waste of time.

As I tiptoed down the old staircase I was startled and had to grin when I spotted my new friend tiptoeing up the stairs with shoes in hand. Her face lit up when she spotted me and smiled a greeting.

Candace whispered, “What time is it? What are you doing up so early?”

“Oh, I like the quiet of the morning. It’s a great time to work on my novel and do a little reading,” I answered holding up my Bible. “How was the wedding?”

Candace was born and raised in the United States, but now resides in the UK. We are probably about thirty years apart in age, light years away politically, and yes, I did glean all this information over coffee yesterday.

“The wedding was fabulous,” she answered. “It may be crazy, but my cousins and I have been sitting on the levy sharing a bottle of tequila and solving the world’s problems. What an amazing evening; just being with three generations of my family made me think. You know things are never really black and white.

Candace had tears in her eyes as she continued, “Many in my family are politically conservative, and of course I’m not. The older ones are more serious about their faith, and I’ve been searching, I suppose. My cousin you met this morning is even more on the left than I am, so we’re all very different. It’s funny, but I truly learned something this weekend.

“When we were hanging out tonight I told my family about meeting you this morning. I shared a little bit about our conversation and that perhaps you put it best when you said, ‘We can be different, but we don’t have to be jerks.’”

Candace’s handsome husband came out to see what was keeping her. “Time for bed,” he said gently in his heavy brogue. She introduced us and turned to wave as he led her toward their room.

“See you in the morning,” she called.

I smiled and thought to myself what a joy for two very different people to meet as strangers and part as friends.


Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.