It was one of those phone calls that take you by surprise. The voice was familiar, but I simply couldn't put a name to the speaker.
He said with mock seriousness, "I'm sorry to inform you that your taxes are going to be audited. This is the IRS."
I said, "Well, I make it a practice not to speak with anyone whose name begins with 'I,' ... so who is this, really?"
That's when the speaker revealed he was Errol Anderson, longtime owner of that Mayville cornerstone, the Mayville Hardware, and hubby George's former boss. For several minutes, we exchanged good-natured chitchat, then he invited us out to lunch.
Later, while seated at a comfy table at our favorite IHOP, we had the chance to catch up with Errol, his wife, Joyce, and the current state of affairs in our former hometown, Mayville.
Errol's trip to southwest Florida was the result of a strange set of circumstances resulting from the 50th reunion of his Mayville High School graduating class. The group of former schoolmates had such a great time together they decided not to wait for another milestone date on the calendar to get together. Instead, they agreed to meet again for a 52 1/2 year reunion in January of 2013.
Since January isn't generally an inviting month in Mayville, the location for the event was set for Longboat Key.
So, after the gathering, Errol decided to travel down the peninsula's west coast to visit with his sister and her husband, who were staying in Naples. Luckily for us, along the way he stopped in for a visit.
While our foursome - George, son Tim, myself and Errol - enjoyed a yummy IHOP meal, we kept the air buzzing with an exchange of the latest news from our corner of the world and Errol's.
He reminisced he had been at the helm of the Mayville Hardware for 45 years, having taken over from his father. Now, since his daughter, Amy, took over as the new owner/manager, he's enjoying some well-deserved time away from the store. Although Errol goes in from time to time to help out, he's proud the operation of the long-time Mayville landmark has passed on to the next generation.
As we enjoyed the friendly atmosphere at IHOP, Errol entertained us with reports of the town we had called home for so many years and tales of the folks we had known during the period.
He told us about one of the newest additions to the growing list of eateries in town. He said Tim and Darlene Wendells' "Sweet Spot," located across from the courthouse, has a great chocolate cheesecake. The description had our mouths watering.
After lunch, we came back to our place where the friendly catch-up continued. But before long, it was time for Errol to head south for the next leg of his Florida journey.
As we waved good-bye, we were so grateful he had taken the time to stop in for a while. The visit made me remember a favorite song from my Girl Scout days. The words say it all, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold."
Thanks for a golden afternoon, Errol.