A cold snowy landscape, and the familiar image of an old friend and colleague, with a cheery salutation emblazoned across the top in bright blue and gold lettering: “MISS ME?”
I admit, it made me laugh out loud… which, believe it or not, is not as easy a task as you might think.
Only the right mixture of absurdity and irony can truly tickle my gourmet funnybone.
For my friend, I suspect, it was both an affectionate query and a wry jab at me across the miles… and, yes, I do miss him. The three feet of snow? Hmm, not so much.
In reading the message that accompanied the photo, I felt instantly aglow by the sweeping onset of his warmth and wit. With it, I suddenly felt the ache of absence. It has been so long, and yet only a brief couple years.
Then too, I became awash with so many good times and sense memories of my family’s two years in . The raw-boned and earnest men of the Docks. The bright-eyed, zealous, and winsome folk of St. John’s College. Gum-chewing steely-eyed men of the Capital and Beltway. The melodic yammering dialect of Baltimore-ese. The Chesapeake, the sky and the Sea.
My friend’s clever quip, became almost a plea… and shook me to consider deeper those whose company I have not enjoyed in far too many nights.
Then, again, my friend used his craft of language to yet press the arrow deeper.
Still pushing the case, now moving well past the point of hyperbole, he attempted to draw parallels between the Lee trade to my own circumstances. Suggesting that (he, another friend of ours, and myself) could form our own powerful triumvirate, one that could very turn jolly old “Nap Town” on its ear.
While you’re at it, why not bend some Old Testament to your whims and say, “Out of Texas have I called my son,” or some such nonsense. Besides, last time I checked, no one’s offering me a 5-year $120 million contract to come help plant a church. But I digress.
Which brings me to the meat of the matter, on this brisk and breezy December night in East Texas: I miss you.
If you are reading this, and it has been more than a fortnight since we’ve shared a Supper, I miss you. If my frame has not crossed your door in more than a Season’s span, I miss you. If distance makes a stroll to your house all but impossible, I miss you. If we have not spoken in person in more than a year’s time, I miss you. If all our dialogue takes place via text and technology and Christmas cards, I miss you.
Where I am, is where I am supposed to be, this I believe with no less a firmament than the earth that rests under my feet.
But if I could stretch across the miles and miles of long highways, vast emptiness of darkened fields and forests, all that stands between where you are… I would have you know that you are far closer to my heart’s consideration than is possible to convey.
While opportunity prevents aught which might testify as much, I think upon you all often. Even as my words grow few in my busier moments.
So, yes, I miss you.