My First Stranger

His name was Tim. 

I don’t remember Tim. I don’t remember this incident. What I remember is my mother’s retelling of this incident. She found it amusing. She found me amusing, if her stories are any indication. 

Because the back drop for this story is Yakima, Washington, I must have been between my second and third birthdays. 

My dad came home from work one day bearing a ‘new’ tricycle for me. Really, it had been my older sister’s, but he’d taken it to a friend’s house for repairs and repainting. I’m cool with that. I was so excited about that tricycle that I leaped aboard and took off for my first road trip without looking back. I’m told that I was out of earshot instantly; my tiny legs moving faster than those of the grown-ups in pursuit calling for me to come back. And come back NOW. 

Legend has it that I took the first corner like a pro. I disappeared behind those annoying bushes that hung out over the curb. But things went downhill from there. Literally. And with the slope, my speed increased beyond my skill. I toppled off the little seat, rolled once, or twice, or three times, depending on who tells the story, and my shiny new trike continued down the hill without me. 

Enter Tim. History records that Tim was standing on the side walk as the scene unfolded before him. In one giant bound my hero approached my wounded, limp, nearly lifeless form and said something akin to, “Little girl, are you OK?”  Tim scooped me up, looked me over, carried me down the hill to retrieve my trike. My parents rounded the corner, nearly out of breath with a good case of parent panic as Tim and I were hiking back up the hill.

Later at home I asked my mother who the man was who rescued me.  Tim. It was Tim who picked me up. Having an attitude of gratitude from an early age, Mother told me that for the next several days I tugged the shirt tails of everyone in town and said, “Tim picked me up.” 

It became a chant. Whether at home, in the car, or drifting off to sleep, for days it was, “Tim picked me up, Tim picked me up, Tim picked me up.” 

I’ve determined that it is because of Tim that I’m uber-willing to talk to strangers. After all, Tim picked me up. And to this day, many strangers have ”picked me up.” Some have let me down, but most have picked me up.

Thanks, Tim.



Blog Introduction

I had a great mom. Really, I did. She was loving and kind and of a gentle spirit. She lived simply, without the idea that anyone owed her anything. She taught me all she knew to teach me. But she left out one of the Mom Standards in teaching her children. She left out:

Never talk to strangers.

She did warn me never to take anything from strangers. She mentioned the thing about never getting into a car with a stranger. She told me that she would never send someone that I don’t know to pick me up. So she did cover the basics in Stranger Danger training. But she did leave out, and I think it was on purpose, “Never talk to strangers.”

As a result, she raised a daughter who has talked to nearly every stranger she has encountered. I even had a boyfriend, once upon a time, who commented, “Jeez, you’ll talk to ANYONE!” And it’s true, I will. But I will never apologize for it.

I may have to apologize for some of the things I have said to some strangers, but I won’t apologize for talking to them. Some of the brightest jewels I have gathered in my 50 years on the planet, (Yes, I’m 50, but I hear it’s the new 30, which is the new 20, which, mathematically takes me back to newborn), came from strangers.

I won’t bore you with such platitudes as, ‘Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.” I’m not sold on that one, anyway. Some touch and go strangers were meant to go. However, all of my current friends were once strangers. Some stranger than the great collective of strangers.

In this blog I would like to recount some memorable moments in my life sponsored by strangers. Some of these strangers were touch and go, that I will unlikely encounter again. Some are now acquaintances moving about in my larger circles. Some are good, close friends now. Like the one who insisted that I start a blog. You may know her. If not, she is one of the strangers you need to talk to. Her name is Julia, and she’s a blogger here. As soon as I learn how to link blogs, I’ll get back to you.

My next entry will highlight my earliest memory of talking to a stranger. Till then, here’s to taking a deep breath and saying, “OK, I survived my first blog attempt.”