Those who know me well know I’m never late for anything. If I am late, they know to call the police because something bad has obviously happened.
Indeed, I’m annoyingly early to most things in my life because I allow enough time for bad traffic, tornadoes, road work, car wrecks, police check points, open draw bridges and sink holes.
It doesn’t take much to make you late. A phone call. A stalled car. A talkative neighbor. A pet you can’t wrangle. Next thing you know you’re running late. And as I’ve told my wife, running late is not considered exercise.
My punctuality is such a distinct part of my personality that I can actually pin-point when it became a part of me. I was eight years old.
My father, a hard-working man, got exactly one week of vacation and we were going to share a beach house at Edisto with another family, Benny and Marilyn Davis and their cute little daughter, Linda.
Therefore, I was to be at the house at noon on Saturday so we could leave. Unfortunately, I was so excited about the trip I went to tell my best buddy Frannie Farmer all about it and lost track of time, something I would later learn was a common problem when I was with Frannie.
So when I arrived at our house at 12:15, the family car was gone and the house was locked.
True to his word, my father had pulled out at noon and left me. This reality hit hard as I stood in the driveway and began to cry. Hey, I was eight. I didn’t know what to do. I knew I had made a mistake and this was the punishment. No vacation. No beach house. No frolicking in the ocean. I would have to live in the garage for a week eating dog food.
I pondered that lonely fate for nearly a half an hour before the Davises pulled into our driveway to pick me up. Seems my dad had called them and told them to grab me on the way out of town.
Because of that traumatic experience, I am never late, to anything. Ever.