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An Old FriendPosted Thursday, October 13, 2011, at 11:13 PM
I was in high school when I met my friend, Rusty. He was from Mississippi and I can't even remember how or why he ended up in Shelbyville by himself at that young age. He was around my age but already out of school and he seemed way more mature than my 17 years.
We clicked immediately and became inseparable not long after that. He went to school with me one day during my senior year of high school...kind of like a human show and tell. I would do my homework in the afternoon in his room and he would leave me notes in my spiral for me to see the next day at school.
I found a quote from a Robert Frost poem he had written for me once, "Nature's first green is gold." I assumed he was making a play on my last name being Green. Who knows...but, I thought it was the coolest thing in the world that he quoted me poetry.
He also sang to me. I can still remember sitting in the kitchen one morning while he cleaned up some dishes and he sang every verse from Rod Stewart's "Maggie May" to me.
I had never met another guy quite like him.
We were best friends for a little over a year and because he had shown up seemingly from nowhere, I was always afraid he would disappear one day. Nothing was really holding him in Shelbyville but me and his other friends. I knew his life was somewhere else, but I couldn't stand the thought of him leaving.
He charmed everyone he met -- from the mailman to my own mother. He became like family, even attending my holiday family functions.
On New Year's Eve we decided it was too crazy to be on the roads or maybe we were just broke, I don't recall. But, we ended up just staying at his house that night. I had spent half the day cutting up paper for some confetti and at midnight we both threw it up in the air and laughed as it came back down quickly landing mainly in our hair. No big apple dropping, but it was a great memory of time spent with someone special.
I know I sound pretty sappy talking about him, but we were just friends. He dated other girls and I dated other guys. We just still ended up usually hanging out with each other more than whomever that other person was!
The sappiness comes from the fact I truly did love Rusty. He was an amazing friend and confidant. It didn't hurt that we had fun whether we were at home or out on an adventure. He didn't have a mean bone in his body. He was so kind and caring to not just me, but to everybody.
The day did finally come when he left town. I was starting college and I was devastated. He knew I would be. He actually tried to sneak off but it didn't work. As hard as I tried to find ways to hold him here, he left to go and find his destiny.
We spoke a few times on the phone after he left but it wasn't the same and then 20 years went by without a word from him or even knowing where he went. I thought about him often and about once a year I would "google" him. Nothing ever appeared.
When Facebook became popular and I became a member, I also searched for Rusty on that social network. I could never find him. I almost gave up.
Then, earlier this year when my friend Beth passed away I decided to give it one more shot. Again, he was nowhere near Facebook. But, this time when I "googled" him, I went further into the search pages until I started seeing his name in an Alaskan newspaper. There was a picture and I knew immediately by his smile -- it was Rusty!
I couldn't believe I had found him. I even tracked down an email.
My first email to him covered who I was and asked was this really the Rusty I knew 20 years ago? His reply back was short and to the point, confirming that it was my old friend. I freaked out at first. I was scared. What had I done? My memories of our friendship were so fond... what if he had changed so much that I didn't even like him anymore? Shouldn't I have let things alone?
Well, a few months later and we have now emailed, text and even spoken on the phone. And I found out that he has changed. He has grown up just like I have changed and grown up. I am so glad we are back in touch.
We may even soon be collaborating on a children's book together with me, the writer and he, the illustrator.
Wouldn't that be something?
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Sherri Frame, a former staff-writer for the T-G, grew up in Wartrace and now makes her home in Shelbyville with her daughter, Jordan. She graduated from Cascade High School and earned her bachelor's degree in management at Trevecca Nazarene University. Sherri is currently unemployed.