Category Archives: Daoism

The Man Who Knew My Daughter First (Bill)


During the course of my youngest daughter’s pursuit of money and her future,

she often worked at a wide variety of restaurants and a country club. She is

a social and interactive young person, so her work was quite lucrative. She also

felt close to some of her customers. No one was as close to her over the year she

worked at Bob Evans than a man named Bill.

She would talk to him about her courses, her books she read, her thoughts and

plans. She would fill and refill his coffee cup and listen to him talk to her about

mainly philosophy and becoming a calm and centered adult. She was always

coming home excited about the new words (like Tao and Daoism) and especially

enjoyed the Eastern philosophies he espoused.

Bill became a person who we met once, while my ex-husband and I stopped by

for a meal. He seemed genuinely pleased to meet us and he shook both our

hands. He was wearing a Kentucky hat and that became another subject

entirely that my daughter would hear stories about. He loved to cave and he

was very happy when he was out hiking or in nature. This all seemed to fit

with his studies of philosophy, too.

Once my daughter left the restaurant, there became numerous times that she

would think aloud, “I wonder where Bill worked?’ or “I wonder if he is down

in a cave in Kentucky this summer?”

Later, while in college, my daughter again brought up Bill’s name, “I wish he

could meet my roommate who is from Kentucky.” When she traveled down to

visit Erin’s family, she went to Louisville and listened to some blues and jazz

bands. My daughter recalled Bill talking about music and that he played the

guitar. She called home and said, “I wonder what kind of music he played?”

In a particularly trying semester of Philosophy, my daughter brought up Bill’s

name in a question over the phone, “Do you remember Bill’s last name? I really

need to talk to him about this dumb course I am taking!”

It was different when I started my laborer job, not knowing how to relate to

people until at lunch a last name connected me to someone who was an aunt

of my oldest daughter’s friend. We had another person join our table a second

aunt of the same daughter. I felt comfortable talking to people in my bins order

filling group. I still would not have approached anyone outside our group or ask

any questions about other people.

But, as I would walk into work for first shift, I did notice a man with a Kentucky

hat on. He looked possibly like the man I would have met in 2000, eight long

years ago. So much had happened, as you may recall, losing a house, a husband

and a professional job. I started say, “Good morning!” or “Hello” to this man with

the KY hat just to see if he recognized me. He would greet me with a smile, a nod of

his head or a “Good morning!” back at me. Neither of us were yet aware of the fact we

did know each other.

One morning, a long line at the security desk with a man dumping out all his pockets

and still setting off the beeper,  was getting “wanded,” and behind me a voice yelled out,

“Jeesh, Bill,” and “Leave it to you to make us late, Bill!”

Little tumblers in my brain suddenly came into focus and I knew that was THE Bill!”

How small a world could it be? (to be continued…)