Saturday, February 5, 2011

"In Your Prime"

The “Hello’s” we exchanged came natural, both of us being “southern boys”. I’m not sure who spoke first. I was raised in Texas, and we spoke to everyone, and the late teen with whom I exchanged was surely Alabama born and raised, as his accent portrayed him. I was walking across the Walmart parking lot in east Montgomery to get the car. He was in the driver’s seat of the older model car, double-parked, probably waiting on his mom, his younger brother sitting in a back seat.

As I crossed in front of his hood he lowered the window on the passenger side and hollered at me: “Sir, you know where I can get some good weed?”

“Excuse me?” Maybe my hearing is slipping.

“Weed? You know. Marijuana? Do you know where I can get some good stuff?”

“I’m so sorry. I really don’t have a clue.”

“But ya do use don’t you? You do a little every now and then, no?”

“No, ‘fraid not.”

“But in your younger days you did, didn’t you? You know, back in your prime?”

“No, sorry, never smoked a joint. I can probably count on one hand the times I’ve had a beer or a glass of wine?”

“Really? Well, thank ya anyway.”

“You bet.”

Marijuana. I’m not sure who was more incredulous. Those who know me know I am a connector, constantly suggesting that this one meet that one, that the guy in this business might like to know this fellow I met over there. But where to get good weed? And, “back in your prime”? I’m learning a new language, still running 10K on weekends. Moses was 80 when he finally got his big assignment. I’m only 60. I don’t think I’ve hit my stride yet.

Then it hit me. The beard. The beard which is heavily streaked with gray. I’m having a little “re-entry cultural shock”, though. Cultural cues. Misunderstanding. Miscommunications. It happens not only in Malawi, but here in the Walmart parking lot in East Montgomery also. And I am older than I admit to myself. The joints ache a little more, a little more continuously. But the time to quit has not come, though it will. And until the Lord does offer a little R&R, rest and then renewal, a new body with new joints to do new work in a new environment, I’ll do what he has called me to do, with all my might, sharing the story of how to live the best kind of life possible on this earth until he comes or calls.

“In your prime!”

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