Having a Real Person as a Real Friend

A few years ago, when still in Winston, a Thursday night I met Shirley in Greensboro to spend the night and take my Friday (day off) there. On the way in I met her at Red Lobster for a special meal. I couldn’t believe it. It was just about 5:00pm and there was a 45 minute wait. If it weren’t for the garlic biscuits we would have gone somewhere else. Our ideal meal at Red Lobster is to order 2 dozen biscuits and asked them to bring them out two at a time every 5 minutes. Haven’t tried that order yet but maybe we will one day before they come in the white coats to take us to our own little private (padded) rooms.

Before going home we had to stop by Harris Teeter because we needed some things for the house. I went into Starbucks and wrote my devotional while Shirley shopped. On the way out of the parking lot (Shirley was in her car and I was in mine) I noticed this man and his wife looking at her car as it passed them– really staring at her car and laughing. I was right behind her watching this unfold. I rolled down my window and said: “She is a crazy woman. She is my wife.”

What caught their attention was all the Duke stuff all over her car. Did I mention we (Duke) had just won the NCAA championship? It is a white Kia with a Blue Devil Head inside the D on both front doors; a Duke National Champion sticker on the back driver side window; a Duke Gnome on the gas tank lid; a small Duke in a circle on the back bumper; a Duke Alumni sticker on the back window; an oval circle with Duke inside it on the back of the trunk; a Big Blue Devil inside the D on the hood, and finally a big Blue Devil Fish eating a Tarheel Fish. I think that is all – except for whatever Duke outfit she may be wearing. I told her that all her car was missing was a sign made buy our friends, Mike, Angela and Mary Drum (Iron Dukes) which says “Official Duke Car!”

On my car I have a small oval circle with Duke in the center and an Alumni sticker on the back window. (Shirley put a Blue Devil D on the passenger side door – so I wouldn’t know it was there). I went to school at Duke. I am quite proud of having a master’s degree from there. But I don’t put that stuff all over my car.  I guess I am shy about what I believe or like or support. Do you think Shirley is shy about what she believes, likes or supports? Not a chance! I have grown accustomed (whether good or not so good) to being more diplomatic in my approach to my beliefs.

Shirley simply tells it like it is. Don’t ask her what she believes if you don’t want an answer – a full, complete, long version answer. In other words, if you give her a soapbox she will speak from it. Everywhere I have served people have liked Shirley – most people say more than me – because Shirley is Shirley – she is real, plain, and straightforward – what you see is what you get.

You know it is refreshing to have someone like Shirley in your midst. No pretense. Just someone you know will tell you the truth in love. I know where I stand with her – often she lets me know where I stand with her – but at least I don’t have to wonder.  I hope you have a friend like Shirley. I am glad I do. Be thankful for whoever is in your life that is real and honest.

We have been married for over 54 years and I love her more every day. We have shared many anniversaries and birthdays together over the years…. and they have all been good ones. I never have too much wife!!!

Dear Lord, I run into all kinds of phony people these days who play all kinds of political games which I can’t even begin to understand the rules or the purpose. I try to be the same around everyone and treat everyone with the same respect. Thank you for sending me a real person who has been a real wife and friend all these many years. I know it has been in and through Jesus that this marriage has been so blessed. Amen.

Grace and Peace

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