We figured it had been about seven or eight years since we had seen one another, a long, friendship left unattended in the demands of lives that are too fast paced, too hectic. But then he called and asked if he could come and spend time with me. Of course, I said. Of course.
You have those long friendships, too, and no doubt realize how precious they are.
I've known Ed Matthews, my dear friend and unofficial brother, for about thirty years. We met during our early TV days starting out on camera in Wilmington, North Carolina, a beautiful coastal town where tourists vacation and young anchors (me) and meteorologists (Ed) go to start their on-camera careers. I owe a lot to Ed in those early days. He not only became my dear friend, he also became my escape hatch to a job I couldn't even imagine at the time.
You see, Ed moved on to a larger market at WFMY, a CBS affiliate where he has done the weather for nearly three decades now. As I was looking for my own next step, my bigger market buddy called and told me about a morning show position he thought was a perfect fit. Four weeks later, I was hired for a job I would have never known about if it hadn't been for Ed.
That job plopped me square in the middle of good fortune, co-hosting a morning show with the market's iconic anchor, Lee Kinard, a man who became my mentor and my friend. I hit the jackpot working with people I adore and embarking on incredible adventures (chatting with Oprah Winfrey, traveling to far flung places, delivering a line on a soap opera and so much more). I could not have imagined any of it the day I was lucky enough to walk in the door. And now, looking back, I can't imagine having missed out on this special time in my life. While doing this work, I also met the man I would marry and viewers who became like family. Thanks to Ed.
And now, all these years later, my old friend came to share a day recalling shared history. That's the thing about long standing friendships. There is common ground traveled together that makes us who we are today. There is knowing one another's families and work, our trials and our triumphs. There is picking up right where you left off even after years have passed. There is a dearness that even time can't fade. And there is no substitute for any of this.
So, Ed, thank you for making the effort to make memories in the present tense to add to the memories of our shared past. You have reminded me of the importance of making time for those we don't often see, but hold as precious. And you, my friend, are precious indeed.
Underdogs, may we all reach out to someone from our long ago times. Take a stroll down memory lane. Connect, renew, relive. No doubt your old friend will be as grateful as I feel today.