While sitting at Angler's Bar and Grill the other day, I happened to look at the entry and saw my lifetime friend Jon standing in the entry with his son.
Without a word, we walked to each other and hugged.
I can't remember not knowing Jon.
We caught up on each other's lives over drinks -- not uncommon in our 55 years of knowing each other -- and I enjoyed the chance to know his boy
At some point, he asked me about what my daughter recently called "your situation." That is, my strange trip through homelessness.
Me, word guy, supposed writer, someone who has written thousands of words and more than 270 blog posts about what has happened. Yet I didn't know what to say.
When reporters come to me, trying to figure out a story, I've challenged them "Tell me the story in 10-12 words" the average length of a spoken sentence in English. When I feel particularly pugnacious, I ask them to tell me their story in one word.
Does it count for the first challenge if I say, "Oh, shit," five or six times in a row? And "oh shit" doesn't fit the second challenge.
I don't have an answer, despite having written so much about the countless challenges and successes of this last year-plus a month.
All I can say is I kept moving forward and I kept breathing -- that's 13 words. Can I add with the occasional drink?
And my magical misery tour came at the same time as the country, my colleagues, friends and complete strangers went their own hell.
I'm going to have to think about this as I face some upcoming hurdles.
I thought about it while having lunch today at Lynn's Custom meats, where the daily special was a bratwurst with potato salad and beans on the side. (Note to those worried about my health: That's only my third brat while back in Wisconsin. That's remarkable restraint for someone who considers bratwurst as close to holy communion. I've lost about 25 pounds, sadly most of it hair. And my gout is in remission as I choose more wisely.)
I ate outside the meat store at a picnic table in 75-degree temperatures and low humidity with just enough wind where I had to set my drink on my napkin.
How was the last year?
I don't know but today was wonderful.
Peace and introspection unto all of you my brothers and sisters.