A few weeks ago, I was riding my bike home from my final test of nursing school, and I thought to snap a picture of this little taqueria by my home, and thought back to a moment just about three years ago.
Back then, I was still planning on getting a pharmacy degree-- my friend Leslie had just started working on me to consider nursing. If I had known that I would switch to nursing, I might have taken the easier 100 level Chemistry class. Instead, I was taking the much-more-difficult Chemistry 201, with, as I discovered, a notoriously tough teacher.
I walked out of the final knowing that I'd done well (I thought I had a "B" for the class, but it turned out I'd earned a rare "A" from this instructor). As I walked out the door of my school to where my bicycle was locked up, my cell phone buzzed. It was my friend Bubs. He and I had become friends in the previous couple of years; we'd been reading one another's blogs and realized that we had lots in common. We'd run in a lot of the same circles when we were younger (old Chicago punk rock scene) and were now settling happily into our middle age roles as husbands and fathers.
It turns out that Bubs, who is a policeman in a town near Chicago, had been at a law enforcement seminar in downtown Chicago, and had gotten out of the seminar early. He figured that since he was down here already, maybe he and I could grab lunch together and catch up, a rare treat for two very busy guys. I told him to meet me at my home, and we could walk to one of the many good restaurants near my home.
Less than hour later, we walked over to the Taqueria El Asadero, a terrific little taqueria near my home, across the street from Welles Park, where my son played little league. In the hour or so we had lunch, we caught up with what was going on in our personal and professional lives and delved into the sociological insights his and my jobs as cop and teacher, respectively, had given us.
When we parted ways later, I thought about the previous couple of years. Back then, my grief for my friend Mark, who had been murdered about two years before, was still very fresh. I'd started this blog in part to deal with that grief. In the end, though, this blog had done more than provide a means to channel my grief and frustration-- it had also provided with me a friend who I realized, as he took a moment out of his day to grab lunch with me, was going to be a lifelong friend. I was very, very happy, then, when he and his wife were able to make it to my recent "50th Birthday/Graduated From Nursing School" celebration. The bottle of Eagle Rare single barrel bourbon he got me was a big bonus too-- that and the fact that he's blogging again after about a year layoff. Welcome back Bubs!