I took this picture with my phone right after I parked the car Thursday morning.
Thursday brought great happiness, but greater sadness to me. I was happy because I was able to spend time with a young friend whom I hadn’t seen in a long time.
I met Kathryn around nine years ago, after I stopped working for the state; around the time I took a part-time job in a card shop. When we met she was a college student who was also working in that store. I was, in fact, surrounded by young people. Most of them were females. I’m not sure they knew what to make of me. I’m not sure I knew what to make of me.
I had to learn some new skill sets, and to adapt others that I already had to a new work environment. I was nervous and wasn’t sure if I liked this job, but I was determined to stick with it at least until I was sure one way or the other. I’m glad that I stayed.
One of the reasons I decided that I wanted to stay was the friendship that developed with Kathryn. While I got along with all of the young people, Kathryn seemed to go out of her way to be helpful to me. She helped me get through the early days, treating me as an equal, not a helpless old man. She seemed to actually enjoy my company. I know that I enjoyed her company…and he baking. She could make a career out of baking apple pies.
I always feel young when I spend time with Kathryn. She said Thursday that she hadn’t changed over the years. She is wrong. There is a layer of maturity between the girl I first met, and the young woman with whom I had lunch the other day. But I still feel young when I’m with her.
Now for the sadness. Kathryn was in town to attend a funeral. The father of mutual friend, Kara, had died without warning. Kara had also worked in that card shop, and she too is a special person. Her father was too young to have died so suddenly.
I know that Kara was very close to her father, and that she must be devastated. It hurt to watch her struggle to hold things together during this ordeal. I hope that in time she will find peace. She deserves it.
Both of these young women are important to me. There have been times when each them has felt like a daughter to me. I need to keep them closer.