Jim and I spent the weekend working on the sequel to the To Save a Life novel. Right now, we're calling it One Choice, but our publishers are pushing for Jake's Choice. (Any opinions out there?)
Anyways, it's amazing how sometimes characters just create themselves, and this weekend Buddy jumped out of the pages and introduced himself to us. We fell in love with him. Taken from Jim's namesake who started going by Uncle Buddy when he turned 60 (that's Jim's plan, too, in 28 years...), Buddy is the 80-something year old grandfather-figure who everyone needs at some point in their life. Here's an excerpt from when Jake meets him in a church he's checking out in his new college town:
“See that foxy lady there in the second row? The one with the red vest on? She’s my wife,” Buddy beamed proudly. “Been married sixty-two years last October, and she’s purtier now than the day I first met her.”
Sixty-two years! Jake marveled. He couldn’t even imagine it, but it sure was cute. He wondered if he and Amy would even make it to a wedding, let alone six decades. How had Buddy and his “foxy lady” done it? Pretty amazing.
Never in his life had he so looked forward to someone saying “Amen.” The moment the word slowly crept out of the pastor’s mouth, Jake bolted towards the exit. With one foot out the door, a familiar wrinkly, spotted hand grabbed his shoulder.
“It was a blessing meeting you today, Jake.” Buddy threw out his other hand for a goodbye shake.
Jake felt a piece of paper between their hands and looked down to see a five dollar bill now in his palm.
“Wait a minute. What’s this for?” Jake stammered.
“Young bucks like you can always use a little treat,” the grandfatherly old man squinted with delight.
“You don’t have to do this,” Jake awkwardly tried to hand the folded bill back to Buddy. He was pretty sure the old man needed it more than he did.
“I know, it’s called grace. Weren’t you listening to the sermon?” The old man smiled and gave Jake a wink. “Just say thank you, go buy yourself an ice cream cone, and then pass some on to somebody else sometime.”
So, Buddy was supposed to be just a one-time passerby in Jake's story. But now we're thinking we want to bring him back. We can't wait to see where he pops up next...