A couple of years ago, I acquired my dream car.
For over 50 years, I wanted to own a red 1965 Ford Mustang - sporty, classy, not too big or expensive, but just right.
With the blessing of wife Carolyn, my dream became reality. She found it an estate sale near Crowley, put a bid on it and a few hours later we got a call that she was the top bidder.
I took great pride getting it all spruced up with new upholstery and carpet, whitewall tires and air conditioning.
How satisfying it was to see it all come together! Along the way, though, I’d been contemplating how best to share my good fortune with others, and not seem pretentious.
Carolyn had an idea.
“Why not take certain people out for a spin... you know, those that can’t get around much anymore, and then treat them to lunch.”
So for over a year now, that’s been my great privilege. I’ve arranged with the director at one of the local nursing homes to select individuals who might like to go out for lunch.
I’d take them to the place of their choosing and then tool around Glen Rose.
I will say that most times it’s a little bit of a challenge to converse with my riders, because their answers to my tender inquiries are usually short and to the point.
Rarely do they initiate conversation.
My purpose in all this is to take these gentle, challenged souls for a brief getaway, which in turn, might take them back to a time of fond remembrances from long ago.
Sometimes, these folks know exactly what they want to eat. One gal insisted on pizza. One fellow wanted chicken, dark meat only. We found that.
Then there was sweet Rosemarie. Though she hardly talked, I could tell she was just enjoying the ride. As we waited for our sandwiches, I told her I thought she had a beautiful name. She just smiled.
“Rosemarie, do you remember that oldies song way back: ‘Smile a Little Smile for Me, Rosemarie’? There’s your name right in there.” She wasn’t sure. So I pulled it up on my trusty cell phone and softly played that 1969 song for her at our lunch table.
When it came to the chorus, I watched her mouth the words perfectly over and over again. Though no words were spoken at the end of the song, Rosemarie looked up and smiled a little smile for me. I knew that’s why I do this.
I’ve taken Clay out a couple times. He doesn’t know how old he is, but he was born in 1954. He played sports in school, but can’t remember what position or even what school he attended. But you know what?
He knows Jesus and he’ll ask you straight out if you do. I was asked several times during our outing, and I’d respond with “Yes, Clay, I do and I’m glad you do too.”
As we were winding up our meal that day, a lady from a nearby slipped a $20 bill to the side of my plate and said, “I see what you’re doing. The lunch is on me.”
Clay and I took a short drive around town and then up by the Texas Amphitheater as we made our way back to his place. I had an oldies CD playing in the background.
All of a sudden, Clay started patting his knee to the beat of the music. Without saying a word, I glanced over and reflexively just started patting my own knee. When the song finished, Clay extended his hand to me, and we shook hands. We had connected. He asked me again if I knew Jesus. Admiring his boldness and sincerity, I could only smile and say “I sure do, Clay.”
As I walked him in to his place, he said to me “I like you. You’re a good man.”
I felt honored. As I made my way back to my Mustang and the freedom it affords me to go and do as I please, I turned back to Clay and saw him wave goodbye and say ”God Bless You.”
He already had.
P.S. If you know of someone in the area who you think would benefit from such a venture, feel free to contact me.
Charlie Norman has lived in Somervell County since 1994. He and his wife have two adult children, who graduated from Glen Rose schools. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.