I’ve finished annotating the audio of the Birthday Stranger conversation. The next step is note taking, outlining & finally writing the article. Until then I thought I would share what I ended up doing when the original Birthday Stranger no-showed.
We were to meet at a fast food joint in South County off Telegraph Rd. & highway 270 at 1 PM. I arrived early & checked around the diner to locate him. I grabbed a coffee & took a seat near the front door to catch him on his way in. Each arrival of an older man piqued my interest. After thirty minutes rolled around I decided he must have changed his mind about meeting me.
I took this opportunity to visit my father’s grave in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. I sat on top of his grave on a small tarp I had in my trunk since snow covered the ground. I spoke as if he were present telling him I was stood up & wishing I could have spent my birthday with him being that he was a stranger of sorts to me. I began sobbing.
I told him about what was going on in life & my family. I sat quiet after that listening to a backhoe dig the grounds for other veterans. I watched a slow stream of cars pass or park leading other visitors to leave a trail of footprints in the snow.
I could have certainly been angered by being stood up but what does a complete stranger owe another anyway? I know this will not be the last time it happens. What truly motivates me in this project is encouraging others to expect the most from others…especially strangers. Even when a stranger let’s you down or offends you in some way…who knows perhaps it is a gift in disguise. For me this stranger gave me the gift of time with my dad…so thank you L.E.