I was sitting in the lounge of the auto dealership this morning reading Harry Truman’s biography when a man approached me with his hand held out for me to shake “you’re Rich Ripley aren’t you?” the man asked. “Yeah” was my reply then he offered “I’m Mike Shaffer, I graduated a couplea years behind you at Bennett.” Jeez…27 some years had passed since I had last seen Mike, he’d matured into a good-looking, respectable guy. Turns out that after serving our country in the military he needed a job and was now working at this dealership. Like me he had a kid in college (to our two) while one teenager remained at home to finish high school. I was glad that he stopped and talked. I was more familiar with his older brother Danny, who had been my best friend my junior year of high school. Danny and I both had girlfriends from a nearby small town and we’d often double date. Danny was the more handsome and street-smart of us and just a week prior to me starting my senior year of high school…stole my girlfriend. I was crushed, absolutely crushed. Betrayal on both of their parts played over and over in my head and heart. I had never had a girlfriend prior to her, never told anyone that I loved them like I did her, never opened myself up to that kind of hurt….and it did. I can speak with authority…I know what a broken heart feels like…and it sucks for a long time. Happiness, gone. Appetite, gone. My future wife, gone. I was seventeen at the time and thought that my world had ended. As it turns out the experience just made me gun shy for a couplea years and painfully aware of what was at stake if I were to fall in love again.
Back at the dealership I asked Mike about how Danny was doing, very well as it turns out. He’s still fixing up cars and selling them, which is what he was doing back in 1984. He’s happy, successful and married (not to our old girlfriend…which I didn’t keep track of her afterwards). I chuckled as I drove home, glad that Mike had stopped to say hi and that Danny was doing so well.
I’ve been blessed as well, being married to Connie for over twenty-three years. She’s in Paris this week, celebrating the New Year’s with our oldest daughter. We have our marriage, three daughters, our families which we love dearly, our friends, our health, our jobs and not the least…our faith in God to be thankful for. It’d be nice to have a little more money in the bank and be around fifteen pounds lighter…but I’m not going to complain as I know that we’ve been abundantly blessed by God.
I’ve decided to quit blogging for a couplea months…I’m sure that the world will continue to go on, the sun will still rise and set accordingly. If you can’t live without my opinions (funny or otherwise) “friend” me on Facebook. I usually do much shorter pieces several times a week there.
May your new year be a blessed and happy one….even if you’re a little over weight going into it like me.