I have the neatest story to tell you.
Shortly after we moved into our neighborhood, I learned there was a really interesting man next door. He'd lived in our town for his 90+ years and was filled with good stories about local history.
You would think I hurried over to introduce myself. Nope. I told myself if I bumped into him, we'd chat, but I wasn't going to extend myself. I'd come out of my last neighborhood feeling bruised, broken, and vulnerable. I was running away from something instead of toward something, and if my new neighbors didn't reach out to me, I pretty much kept to myself. Tim prodded me to meet him, saying, "I really think you would hit it off." But I resisted.
Finally, late last year a knock came at the door. A young woman introduced herself as my elderly neighbor's caregiver, and handed me a slip of paper with a phone number on it.
I'd been summoned next door.
I arranged a babysitter and headed out. I walked upstairs to the bedroom where George spent his days, unable to walk as a result of a bout with polio when he was a young husband and father. Now I knew why I'd never bumped into him in the yard.
Within seconds, my fears vanished, and I was enthralled by what my charming neighbor had to say. We hit it off instantly, taking about history, politics, and faith. And even though I was paying a sitter by the hour, I didn't want to go home. I realized how much time I'd missed out on getting to know a kindred spirit.
As things wound down, George told me why he'd invited me over. I'd been summoned because George's daughter and granddaughter had read Rare Bird. George had also written a book. He'd started writing a novel way back in the 70's and wanted my professional advice. Could we talk agents, publishers, and publicity?
A few hours later, I walked back across the lawn carrying a cardboard box with three black binders in it-- George's manuscript--that had been around almost as long as I had.
I was excited but apprehensive.
I loved meeting my new friend, and was looking forward to reading his work, but what if it wasn't any good?