Still, I thought I just might, at the very least, have this blogging thing pretty much figured out. At least to some extent.
You would think.
There are a few concrete things bloggers know about what's going on at their site. By comments left, by the number of hits shown in the counter, along with information captured by and analysis given by the site meter - such as who's visited, for how long, etc.
But here's what I don't know much about, and what I'm learning a little bit about, and what I'm finding fascinating.
Those anonymous people who type a word or a name or a phrase into Google and somehow end up here.
Earlier this week I had someone ask me to send them a recipe out of the Secrets from Atlanta's Best Kitchens. This was someone in Atlanta who owns the cookbook but can't find it since they moved to a new home. They had eaten Shrimp Scampi at The Ambassador many years ago and decided it was time to have it again. Being unable to find the cookbook they knew the recipe was in, they Googled it and ended up at Meanderings and Muses, where I had recently written about some of my favorite cookbooks. Cool! Don't you think that's cool? I am fascinated by the internet. I've said it a million times - look and dig hard enough and you can find practically anything you want. For someone who has a bit of curiosity about things and who loves to research things, the internet is just a whole bunch of fun.
And then this morning one of the saddest things ever occurred.
And with the permission of the person behind it, here's the story.
I received a little note that touched my heart and brought tears. It was from a woman named Lisa Wainwright.
In the piece I wrote here about attending Bouchercon last year, I talked the teeniest bit about the man who drove the limo to the airport from the hotel.
His name was Darryl Wainwright. and here's what I wrote:
"Mr. Darryl Wainwright, our driver, was typical of the kindness and grace I had basked in since arriving in Baltimore. We had a wonderful chat about the days when citizens of Baltimore were world famous for scrubbing down the marble steps to their brownstones. When Baltimore culture included window screens painted by local screen painters with murals. Mr. Wainwright is a gentleman, a husband and a dad who has raised five children in the City of Baltimore, and is now the proud grandparent of one grandson in college. He was gracious and humorous and gladdened when we voiced our appreciation to his fine city for a few days that will live in my heart forever."
and here's a copy of the note I received this morning.
Hello Ms. Barley,
My name is Lisa Wainwright the sister of Mr. Darryl Wainwright. I was searching the internet about other articles on my brother when I came across your article. I’m so very touched with your message regarding your encounter with Darryl. Your description of him being “kind, gentle and a gentleman” describes him completely. Thank you for your heart felt expressions and I’m glad you had the chance to meet one of God’s greatest gift “my brother”. Unfortunately, Darryl passed away on August 5, 2009. I wanted to contact you because it is not everyday that a person touches your life for a brief moment and leave such wonderful impression. Thank you for your kind message.
This note from Ms. Wainwright moves me to ponder a couple of things. One being the power of a man named Darryl Wainwright to touch lives. We, as a society, tend to measure success by a person's monetary assets. We could all be well served, I think, to remember another measurement is by the things people might say about us once we're gone. I think Darryl Wainwright was probably an exceptionally successful man if judged by the lives he apparently touched, and the things many - myself included - are now saying about him. I feel quite blessed to have had an opportunity to spend even a short little bit of time with a man who just may have been one of those angels who walks amongst us. I appreciate Lisa Wainwright letting me know of his passing so that I can spend a few minutes remembering his graciousness, his laugh, his pride of family and his smile as he said good-bye to me at the Baltimore Airport. It's a smile I will never forget.
So, along with that sadness that Lisa's note brought me, and through the notes she and I have exchanged this afternoon, comes something else. And it's lovely, I think. The fact that Lisa went on-line looking for articles about her brother, found quite a few, including this little snippet I had written last October, and felt moved enough to write to a complete stranger about a sadness that she's experiencing through the loss of her beloved brother. I'm quite honored. And I'm very humbled.
Imam Darryl Wainwright
July 25, 1950 - August 5, 2009