Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Slow Start

When I was a freshman in college, Mark was also. I don’t remember being introduced, but I knew his name was Mark. Our schedules the first term included a time when we would pass in between buildings on campus. He was leaving a particular building as I walked towards it, for an English class as I recall.

Every time we passed each other on the sidewalk, I would say “Hi, Mark,” and he never responded. I did not know whether he was shy or stuck up, but he never answered. I admit that I did not like being ignored every time, but I am a friendly guy and it was easier to greet him than to pretend I did not see him. So I always smiled at Mark and greeted him.

I don’t remember having a conversation with Mark until our senior year. I did not think he even knew my name. Then in the fall of our senior year, I greeted him by name, as usual, and, to my surprise, Mark stopped on the sidewalk and said, “Hey, Al, I voted for you for Homecoming King.” That meant a lot to me. I thanked Mark.

Later in the year, in the spring, as graduation approached and the soon-to-be graduates were making plans to go our separate ways, Mark approached me and said that he heard I had a job in Washington, D.C. He told me that he was going to graduate school there, at George Washington University. We agreed to connect when we got there, as old college buddies.

And we did. Mark got his Masters in International Development or some such thing and got a job with Lutheran World Relief in Sudan. We kept in touch by mail after he went to Sudan and I was in law school. When he returned to the U.S., Mark came to visit me. He showed me photos of his adventures in Africa and even brought me a present — bookends carved into elephants with real ivory tusks.

Some people you like more and more the better you get to know them. Mark is one of those.


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4 thoughts on “Slow Start

  1. So true. Pineapple prickly outside but take the trouble there is much more. Worth the trouble in fruits and men alike

  2. Heartwarming. I am glad you did the right thing and always extended a greeting. Mark is a friend worth having; I’m sure he thinks of you often although he does not express it. Kindness is a valuable asset.

  3. food for thought, maybe we all know a Mark.

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