Friday, July 3, 2009

Extraordinary People


By CHRIS MILLSPAUGH

"I haven't felt normal in years," said my friend to me one day from out of the blue. Well, sometimes that's good. In my opinion, normality is really overrated. Normality suggests ordinary, as in BORING! I'm for extraordinary, if you want to know the truth. I love extraordinary people and especially now in these less-than-normal times. I've been blessed with having a slew of extraordinary people in my life whom I consider my friends. These are not normal folks ... and that's why we're friends.

One thinks he's Ernest Hemingway—not that there's anything wrong with that. He looks like him and even spent his vacation in Cuba visiting "his" former home. We've been through some extraordinary times together and he's always been there for me through feast and famine. He's as loyal and amusing as his dog, Jack, whom he's been going steady with for over 11 years. Normal? I think not.

Another is a part-time actor, musician, animal caregiver who communicates with cats on the highest level and at the top of his voice. He collects memorabilia and, yet, can't remember where he left his cell phone, keys or lines. Normal? I don't think so.

Still another is an African-American who publishes travel magazines, referees soccer at age 60 and who is never without a smile or a cocktail. I don't get to see him enough, but when we get together, it's extraordinary.

And there's a new friend, who trains dogs (one just ate her eyeglasses), pays high gas bills (her hot water heater is set on 140 degrees), and maintains a "wish list" that now numbers in the thousands. Normal? Uh, no, but always a pleasure.

Then there's my offspring—all musicians, comedians and dreamers ... and what's the matter with that?

So, when I'm working my normal job this holiday weekend, at least I can find comfort in knowing these extraordinary people whom I won't get to see normally. I haven't felt normal in years, either.

I hope you have an extraordinary Fourth of July weekend ... and, nice talking to you.




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