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Monday, November 02, 2009

STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND

Dave and Shannon are good people. It’s just that simple. You meet them and you immediately like them.

I met them in 2004. I had just moved to Texarkana to work for an NBC affiliate based in Shreveport. At that time, Shannon hosted the morning show and Dave was a sports reporter. They weren’t married, but had been dating since they were both students in Syracuse. I think Dave picked me out as a fellow upstate New York native (he was raised in Albany) and started talking with me during one of my first trips to the Shreveport mothership. Shannon was nice to me, too. She was the subject of one of my first assignments. She was speaking at Texarkana College and it was my job to shoot some video of it.

Over the year or so I lived in Texarkana, I’d see Dave or Shannon (they worked opposite shifts, so you’d rarely see them together) when I came into the station, and each experience I had with then made me like them even more. They were just good people, who were good at their jobs, and they were fun, too.

Eventually the two of them got married and sometime after that they moved to Minnesota. By then I had moved on to Oregon, but I tried to keep in track of them on their blog or on Facebook.

This week I checked their blog and found the news that Dave and Shannon are expecting their first child this spring. It’s just great news.

When Julie and I were awaiting our first kids, people would sometimes say, “You are going to be great parents.” While I appreciated the compliment, the comments actually annoyed me a bit. I mean seriously, how do they know that? They way I saw it, the jury was out. These people, as well intentioned as they were, really didn’t have enough information to figure out what kind of parent I would be.

So I’m a bit sheepish to say that, when I heard the news of Shannon and Dave’s impending arrival, I thought just one thing: they’re going to be the greatest parents.

But I’m making this judgment based on real life experience with these two. You see, during my 14 month stay in the Confederacy, I was a stranger in a strange land. I would look at the world around me and have nothing but questions. Why does everyone talk like they’re on The Dukes of Hazzard? What is a mudbug, and why is it on grits? Why do people want me to holler at them when a phone call would be a lot more effective? Despite my cluelessness, Dave and Shannon were always kind to me. Helped me feel like everything would be OK.

Now Dave and Shannon are preparing to welcome their own stranger in a strange land, and he/she (they’ve decided not to learn the gender… ever) will have his/her own questions. Why am I no longer floating in fluids? What’s with all this light? Why is there a bag of my own feces strapped to my butt?

And when that happens, I’ve no doubt this new little person will receive a welcome exponentially greater than the wonderful and warm treatment they gave to an idiot Yankee trying to adjust to the South.

Or in other words: congratulations Dave and Shannon. You’re going to be great parents.

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