Monday, August 13, 2012

Third time's the charm

Fifteen minutes late to church (I'm ashamed to admit this has become the norm), I snuck into the back of the RS classroom. I was but a seat away from a woman who I had no idea would become quite the acquaintance.

Naturally, we began with the typical formalities that precede any conversation with a complete stranger. Name? Hometown? Year in school? My DC internship inevitably found its way to the heart of the conversation. She was particularly enthusiastic, and it wasn't until she told me that her husband was a big-time journalist for many years that I understood why. She mentioned a couple of his credentials, but the specifics have since been lost in my goldfishy memory of a mind.

We sat by each other in our next class and continued chatting about the wonders of DC (she lived there for 20 years, she mentioned). She kept referring to "Lee" and said she wanted me to meet him after church.

Lee... Lee.. Lee.

Why was that name sound so familiar?

"And what did you say your last name was?"

"Roderick."

LEE RODERICK.

Lee Roderick was the donor of a scholarship I had received in the spring that I had set aside to help fund my DC excursion. In fact, I knew we had met before. I figured that out while I was writing him a thank you letter earlier in the summer for the donation. A google search of his name returned a mention of a book he'd written on Orrin Hatch. That's when it hit me. Last fall, a man whose name I had since forgotten, worked in the same office building as I did. We'd gotten to chatting a bit, and upon hearing that I'm an aspiring writer, he presented me with a personalized signed copy of his book Courage. He'd always be sure to greet to me when we ran into each other.

The next thing I knew, he was gone -- and I never saw him again (I found out yesterday that he retired within weeks of our first meeting).

Until yesterday.

I never forgot his face. He was so kind, encouraging and genuinely interested in what I had to say. When she brought me to meet him, I didn't need an introduction. I knew him exactly. It was our third meeting, of sorts.

I was so blessed to not only be able to thank him in person for his generosity, but establish a friendship I hope will last.

At our parting, he left me with his business card and an invitation to contact him whenever -- and, it wouldn't have been a Mormon church meeting with a mention of singlehood: "DC is great place to be young and single."

Well, young at least.

Thanks for everything, Lee.

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