“Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Being alive is a special occasion.”
Wendel’s schedule was packed full of fun (if you can call being judged all day ‘fun’), but we managed to steal away for breakfast at the Lexington Diner. We had quite the giggle when the Arizonan ordered the Kentucky burrito. You know, it’s finding the little funny things like that that make life a joy.
Our conversation was cleansing, poignant, and by turns light and funny. It was the kind of conversation that makes me feel like I’m sane on many levels. There are few people with whom I can enjoy such a conversation. I seriously doubt I’m the only one who feels like this about Wendel, though. He is unique in this way.
I thought I’d only have breakfast to photograph and talk with Wendel, but after his address to the division, we had a few precious moments to share. At one point I realized I was standing with three of my all-time favorite people, and Doug Boyd was sweet enough to snap a rare non-selfie of me with Stacy, Jen, and Wendel. It’s an image I’ll treasure forever. It reminds me that, to my surprise, I have made lifelong friends with a few of my library colleagues. I came to libraries kicking and screaming. In fact, I came to a ‘real job’ kicking and screaming, it didn’t have to be libraries, and it took me 35 years to do it. And though I continued to resist for years, I finally reached a point where I had to choose to be happy about it; to be happy about everything in my life. Wendel and I talked a great deal about how choosing to be happy is at once the easiest and hardest of choices, but that it is truly a choice one must consciously make. Once you choose to be happy, taking whatever seemingly drastic, scary steps you need to take to make that happen, it’s a remarkable transformation. Wendel will agree with me on that. Being happy is the only way I can live now. It’s never too late to be happy. Plus, it makes it really easy to make silly faces. That’s my friend, big eyed Wendel!