I went with my friend Bradley Walker to a 60th surprise birthday party in Athens, Alabama on Saturday night. It was for another friend who owns a wonderful western store called Preston's where Joey and I have done most of our clothes shopping for the past ten years or so.
Although I didn't really know anyone else at the party except Bradley, I wanted to be there to support and thank Pat for all that he and his wife Debbie have done for Joey and I through the years. Early on, when we were just getting started singing together, we walked into their store and mentioned that we'd been cast on "CMT's Can You Duet" - a new tv show that was coming up - and were looking for a shirt or two for Joey and a new pair of bibs for me. An hour later, Pat was pushing a shopping cart out to our truck with five-hundred dollars worth of clothes, and wouldn't let us pay a penny for us. And they put our picture on the wall of their store and believed in us long before there was really was much of anything to believe in. And I know they have done similar things for lots of other folks through the years, without anyone knowing it. Just because that's the kind of people Pat and Debbie are. God has blessed them greatly and they use that blessing where they can to bless others.
I can't begin to tell you how many other folks have been that kind of a blessing to us too. Countless neighbors and friends and strangers who have shared their lives or their talents or resources with us in our time of need. People who are still doing it.
Someone left a package for Indiana at the farm one morning just before Christmas that had a bunch of smaller packages in it. There wasn't a name on it, so I'm not sure who sent the gift, but one thing's for sure, they were incredibly thoughtful.
Inside the big bag, each little package had a different name on it.
There was also a little bus in there.
And as I helped Indiana unwrap the presents, I realized that inside each little bag was a different person in Indy's life. They had carefully selected a Fisher-Price 'little people' version of me and Heidi and Hopie, and my sister Marcy and manager Aaron and busdriver Russ and and Indy's friend Scout and even Ranger and our old cow Shooter.
They even had a little Bradley Walker in a wheelchair for her to play with. How thoughtful and precious is that?
But I think my favorite part of the gift was that when they were picking Indy's mama, they thoughtfully sent two for Indy to have. One for the angel that she was, and one for the angel that she is now.
Indiana played all afternoon that day with her little people and she still pulls them out once a week or so and spreads them on the carpet. And as I sit and play with her, I can't help but think how much it is like real life. How, with the amazing 'little people' that God has surrounded us with, and Russdriver behind the wheel... we head down the road on whatever new adventure life holds today and tomorrow and in the coming years.
We would need a much, much bigger bus (and bag) for me to include all the 'little people' that most folks don't know about, who behind the scenes, have done big things that changed our lives and made our world so much better through the years.
There would be hundreds of them. Thousands probably. So one big THANK YOU will have to do. From me and my most favorite 'little people' of all.