Ray and I were getting to know each other, sharing our lives one story at a time. Because he’s a bit older, he has quite a few more interesting stories than I do.
And this man can tell a story.
He has a certain way of setting the scene, of capturing the essence of a character and making you feel like you are right there experiencing some of these antics right along with him! And you know me, I ADORE a good story.
We were sitting on my couch when he shared a particularly emotional story. He grew up in a small town in Kentucky that coincidentally (or so I thought) had the same name as the small town my family ended up settling in when my father retired from the Navy. My mother’s family was in Clearfield, and I think my father felt it was time to take the girl back to her “people.”
When Ray started telling the story I was surprised that his hometown had the same name as mine. But that wasn’t going to be the only surprise.
He shared that his father was a kiln worker for Lee Clay Products in Clearfield, Kentucky, and that they lived a very simple life. (Something deep in my memory was awakened as I was listening to his tale.) They lived in a small home not far from the factory and even though his parents were vary hard workers, they didn’t have much money.
His father contracted Shingles when he was only 43, and as a result of the incredible pain it caused he decided to end his own life. I can’t even imagine the horror and pain inflicted on Ray and his mother, and listened intently as he finished his story.
After his father’s death a man from Lee Clay Products drove down to Clearfield, Kentucky and collected money from the employees and representatives of the company and knocked on their front door. He came into their home and presented them with the money, and let them know that if there was anything they needed that the company would help them in any way possible. Ray said that the man’s name was Asbury Lee.
I looked at him.
Asbury Lee? ASBURY LEE? He was my brother-in-law’s father, my sister’s father-in-law and the man that took ME in when I returned from California with a broken heart after being turned away from my own relatives. He was, in many ways, the one man who seemed like a father to ME when I needed one so badly.
It was the same man.
I looked at Ray in complete shock. Sometimes I forget that there really are no coincidences in life; only incredible, wonderful, amazing surprises.