[Author's note: I started this post Saturday night, then had to put it down for a few days til I could come back to it. If tenses are skewed or the timing seems funny, well, now I am in the final edit and it's late and my eyes are crossed but I will try my best.]
Saturday was a very special day for me, community, and I want to share it with you. Saturday, I got to meet Maggie.
It’s true! Our very own Maggie of 20 Lines and Brainstorms, who is just as sweet and warm and lovely in person as she is here.
This is how it came to pass:
As it turns out, Maggie has a brother who lives not too far away from me here in North Carolina. Back in the fall during one of our telephone conversations, Maggie shared with me that she might be coming down this way for Christmas. We talked about meeting for lunch and wouldn’t that be fun!
And as Christmas neared, Maggie and her husband came down with that chest crud that is going around this winter. Plans were delayed. On hold. Changing. Dates were shifting. Flights were changed, then changed again.
But it turned out that the events fell into place and she and her husband soon had their plans solidified. She was coming! We set a time and date to meet, which was Saturday the 5th for lunch.
Earlier, when her plans to visit fell the week after Christmas, we’d agreed to meet at Southern Roots in Jamestown, not too far from me. I’d called the restaurant to make sure they were open. They were.
When the plans changed to today, I didn’t even bother to call the restaurant. The holidays were over. Everyone’s back to regular schedules again, right?
It turns out their regular schedule doesn’t include lunches on Saturdays. (Wha??) So I got the call when I was minutes from the restaurant: ”They’re not open! But there’s a place right down the street. Meet us here anyway.”
I pull in and immediately I am recognized by who later turns out to be Maggie’s husband. I follow him and he is following her around the front of the place, where she is looking around the neighborhood for somewhere closeby to eat.
By the way, Maggie’s husband is as sweet as he can be and made sure her coat was buttoned up because she’d been sick and truly looked after her. Her brother brought her to meet me and they all ran errands and had their own lunch while we had a lunch to ourselves. Precious. Precious, precious.
And she swings around and we are smiling at each other and then I finally got to hug her neck. I’m not sure she knows this but the moment she hugged me tears sprang into my eyes. I was suddenly so aware of the fact that two worlds had met.
Maggie is just as warm and friendly and gracious as you imagine her, no, as you know her to be through her work.
And by now, you know we settled on a sweet little place called Fresh Manna, in Jamestown, NC.
Over lunch, we talked and talked and talked and realized there was not going to be enough time to cover everything we wanted to share.
By the way, it was Maggie that engaged the waitress to the point that she wanted to hear our story of how we came to meet, and listened, rapt, as we described how we met, and 20 Lines and all of you – about our community here in this space. (And they decided that Maggie had flown all the way to North Carolina to eat at Fresh Manna. And who were we to argue?)
I am here to tell you that meeting Maggie was one of the most special things that has happened to me in a long time.
Maggie – you are dear. Friendly, sweet, funny, loving, kind, generous, and very charming yourself. Your family is beautiful and I now know what I always suspected: that you are surrounded by love and you yourself radiate that love to everyone lucky enough to be around you.
… I will keep that day, and you, in my heart.
Here’s to friendship.