Many of you asked how I met each person I have interviewed for Another Door Opens, so this How We Met series is an answer to how I met the first 10 generous Another Door Opens people. Thank you for reading. Here is today’s short story.
SADDLE UP AND RIDE
With the states of New Mexico and Arizona behind me, I continued west. Lulled by the mirage on the hot ribbon of road, I thrilled at sights I’d never seen — the proud saguaro cactus and jagged mountains cutting a sharp edge on a distant horizon.
I was feeling under the weather when I arrived for a two day visit with my childhood friend Darla in southern California. But I was made to feel welcome and comfortable, as her family is like family.
The next morning, I asked her Mom, Judy, if she had any suggestions on where I should go for the day. The answer was quick and certain. “Norco!” she said. “Also known as Horsetown, USA.”
She knew about Another Door Opens and encouraged me to keep going.
“Go to Norco. And you find yourself a door, and you find yourself a cowboy!” she laughed.
I drove the strip of Sixth Street through Norco, noticing several people riding horses and waiting at stoplights where cross signals are horseback-high.
Still feeling under, I stopped at Circle K for some Vitamin C. I sat in the parking lot with my window open trying to open a bottle of orange juice when a dog came running up to my front wheel well, followed casually by a guy (Brian), then another guy (Michael Dean). They were laughing a little, and I heard Brian say, “See! When he runs away, he always runs to Circle K!”
By this time they’d followed the dog to my vehicle and open window.
Then Brian looked at me. “He always runs away to Circle K.”
And so it began, by chasing Henry.
We talked about what they were doing, what they do, who they are a little bit. They clearly had a long brotherly bond, and with all their joking, I didn’t know when to believe them and when they were pulling my leg.
Then they asked me what I was doing and what I do. Since I’d just left my job months prior, I still had trouble knowing how to answer that question. So I told them about Another Door Opens.
Immediately, Brian pointed to Michael Dean and said, “You have to do a story about him. He’s had a kidney transplant, a pancreas transplant, triple bypass heart surgery and he’s blind in one eye.”
I didn’t believe him. That’s a fast turn in a conversation, and the guy standing in front of me looked strong. Turns out he’s even stronger than he looks.
They sensed my skepticism and got serious. “No, really,” said Brian.
“That’s all true,” said Michael Dean.
The conversation went on for hours that day and topics changed and circled back throughout the morning and into the afternoon.
Finally, we all agreed to meet the next day to do an interview and photos, where I met their families and was welcomed into their homes.
Thank you, Michael Dean. Thank you, Brian.
Back to Darla’s house, and Judy opened the door.
“Well, did you find a door?” she asked.
“And a cowboy?” she asked.
“I found two.”