My friend Elle straight freaked my bid'ness out the other day when she sent me an e-mail titled: "A friend from the Ozarks - FOUND!"
I was all, "What on earth?" She went on to say that she spoke to her friend Amy not long ago, whom she told about my site. Amy became a regular reader and thought she recognized me.
"She recently called me and told me that she used to live in the Ozarks and you seemed familiar - you used to play on your 4 wheeler together as kids! When I told her your maiden name - Eaton she was like 'Oh My!'"
My jaw hit the floor.
As a little girl, I spent my summers in Mill Spring, Missouri, just south of Piedmont (Piedmont was on the news a few years back because they got a stoplight, their ONLY stoplight). Mill Spring is a weensy little town by Black River. My father's parents owned a tavern there - not a bar mind you, or a even the more classy "pub," I mean an alcohol-soaked gin hole where you could only enter if you wore a gratuitous mullet and/or rolled a pack of cigarettes in your t-shirt sleeve. I spent a good part of my youth learning how to play billiards from Hell's Angels and playing Bob Seger on the jukebox. I never saw anything more inappropriate in the tavern than what I would see at my typical family holiday gatherings, thus it didn't really affect me. The place was situated directly across the street from the mini-mart and had a full view of the town from its huge plate glass window. I was perched there the morning the Coke trucks came by to deliver the first shipment of their then-new product, Cherry Coke, to the town citizens, all of whom had assembled outside the mini-mart's entrance. It was like Christmas in June. Everyone knew/was related to everyone. I used to drive my three wheeler to the nearby spring, sit on its banks, and snack on watercress. Those were the happiest times - the only happy times - that I ever spent with my father's family and remain some of the happiest of my entire childhood.
Behind the tavern was a quiet, idyllic country street with tidy little houses. One of them belonged to Amy and her family. She and I played together all summer long, rode my miniature three-wheeler around the tavern's gravel parking lot, and watched A LOT of "Adam's Family" reruns. I remember that she had long hair and her little brother, Andy, had blonde hair which sort of shrieked out from the top of his head like a pineapple stalk. They were so incredibly nice and were my only friends in Mill Spring. When they moved I was really sad and I thought, "Well, I'll never see them again." They disappeared somewhere in St. Louis and never returned. (Down in the kuntry people call any land north of Farmington "The City." I was told that Amy and her family had "done moved to the city." The town in which I currently live, a little over 3,000 people, is called "The City." When kuntry folk actually do go to downtown St. Louis they are overtaken by a strange phenomenon which renders them completely nervous; incapable of driving, reading maps or using escalators. I am not joking.)
In time I left too. My grandparents left town and sold the tavern, which burned to the ground several years later, and my relationship with my father deteriorated into nothing. I had no reason to ever return to Mill Spring in person or in my mind.
That brings us twenty years into the future, to present-day, and my receipt of Elle's e-mail. I'm excitable by nature, so I immediately began to freak out and only gave a minor consideration to the possibility that Elle was on crack and that this was not THAT Amy. Oh, but Elle knows everyone on God's green earth (she knew Chris and I before we knew each other) including THAT Amy. So after several e-mails brimming with more exclamation periods than I have ever used in my life, I finally spoke to THAT Amy last Thursday and on the phone yesterday afternoon. Since my jaw was already on the floor I had to resort to filling my pants when I found out that she lived in the same county.
Out of all the awesome people I've met and cool things that have happened as a direct result of this website, this has to be one of the tops.