All those years I lived in Memphis, I ran into some familiar faces only every now and then. Growing up in a small town and then going off to college in a small town limited the folks that I knew and faces I often recognized.
Then again, those familiar faces that I did know, I know pretty well. That’s the give and take of being “small town, just like me” (Thanks JCM)
In Memphis, it happened only a few times in the nine years I was there. There was Danny Champion, my favorite college professor and advisor who taught speech and helped me stay on track to graduate in four years. He called me soon after I arrived to ask if I would speak at one of his classes at Baptist College of Health Sciences where he teaches.
There was also my college roomate’s little sister who lived in Memphis, and the occasional classmate who might be travelling through town who called to say hi. But that was it.
I’ve been in Hendersonville only a few short months and it seems every day I see or hear from someone from year’s past.
At church again this morning one of my former college classmates stopped me. Missy Mitchell came in as a freshman when I was a senior. Her mom and dad both worked at Carson Newman so I know her whole family. There are several other Carson Newman folks at the church we’ve decided to attend and then at another church here I’ve run into Jeff Lovingood and then at another was Robbie Quinn and her husband Todd Freeman. My old resident assistant Keith Prince is a real estate agent here and spent a day helping us find a house. I also get a call every now and then from someone I haven’t heard from in more than ten years (or twenty) who just want to say ‘hi.’
In Franklin there’s one of my closest college buddies, Rick Greene and his wife and there’s Marty Blakely and his wife Martha in Murfreesboro. Nate Schott is a dentist these days down in Murfreesboro along with others I’m sure.
Funny how seeing those folks takes me back 20 years. Since I left college, running into those close friends happened only now and then, but in Nashville, it seems to happen nearly every other day.
I’ve wondered what it must have been like to go to college at a major university. I would think you’d get to know so many more people with student bodies the size of small countries. But do you really get to know that many more people?
At Carson Newman, with a student body of just under 2,000, I really got to know and became friends with nearly every person. Nearly every student, faculty member, staff member and coach became more than just acquaintances, we became friends. And running into them today, 20 years after my senior year began, is like picking up right where we stopped.
I can’t wait to see who I run into this week.