The Friend I Never Got To Know

I barely got to know Sam. In a matter of months we first met, became friends, and just like that he was gone. No, he didn’t die, but it almost felt a little bit like he did.

For 7 years we’d put up with a less than desirable neighbor. When you have a neighbor out in the country you generally have a lot of property bordering each other. So, it’s either really good or nothing at all. Ours was the latter. So when the property finally sold and one of the people living there was Sam, I was ecstatic. Sam was this slow talker with a thick Texas accent. Every word had at least three syllables. But he was good as gold, with a golden heart to match.

Sam was old school. And that, was just fine. He often quoted scripture. He was a brilliant cabinet maker and custom woodworker, turning out some of the most beautiful work I’ve ever seen. He’d often stroll down from the pine woods bordering our property when he’d hear me on the tractor. We’d have long conversations about current times, people and yes, Texas. Sam never quite felt at home in the Virginia Blue Ridge. Wind and snow didn’t help as we were transitioning from winter to spring. He missed those hot Texas days and many of his Texas friends. It was complicated too, I’ll leave it there. But …  Sam was my friend. Yvette had become really fond of Sam too.

I got a text one morning from Sam. He came in to load up some gear he was taking back to Texas. He said, “Hey I left you something on you back porch to remember me by!” I never got to see Sam in person before he headed back. I wish I had, I wanted to shake his hand, give him a hug, and a proper thank you. Don’t get me wrong his other friends that live there now are fine people and are truly wonderful neighbors, but I’ll always miss Sam dropping by to say, “howdy.”

That photo above is what Sam left on our back porch last week. It’s a custom made Texas star from wood collected out of a barn built in 1890. Sam used to make them back in Texas. He had a slogan for people he sold them to. “We can’t make you a celebrity, but we can make you a star!”

It was a perfect gift and a perfect reminder of the friend I sort of got to know. I’ll look at it often and remember those great conversations sitting on the tractor talking forever about life, God, and so much more.

You were a good one Sam and I’m glad we got the chance to meet. You truly are a star.

About tommystafford

Recovering from life as TV news reporter. Airplane & helicopter pilot. Weather guesser. Farmer. Trail runner, dad & husband living in the beautiful Central Virginia Blue Ridge mountains!
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