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  • Writer's pictureRay Lamb

The People We Meet.

Geral stormed into Omak and Omak Junior High 8th grade with his quiet confidence and an amazing athletic talent. He also sported a righteous set of mutton chops that almost made him eligible to buy beer at that age. He was immediately accepted into the jock crowd and that was a circle I didn't run with. I wasn't the varsity type athlete and that's ok. He was also big into rodeo and was a darned good calf roper. We knew of each other back then but we didn't hang out and that too was ok.

Kay was my neighbor for more years than I know and there were quite a few occasions that all of us neighbor kids would run around together and play until it got dark or until our parents called us home. As we grow up, playing tag as kids gives way to social groups and different activities where we find our tribe, and again, that's ok.

A few years later, in 1981, the three of us graduated from Omak High School with 100 other young men and women and by then we only had a peripheral knowledge of each other and...that was ok.

It was later in my first year of college and I was living alone after a bad roommate experience. Apparently, at the same time Geral was experiencing the same thing with his roommate. Big Jim (Geral's dad) was getting a haircut from my dad and the topic of us needing roommates came up. My dad called me and broached the subject and I wasn't all too sure about it, but I did agree to talk to Geral. Shortly after that Geral called, "Raymond, this is Geral." was the first words I heard on the phone. Geral has a way of getting to the point and that's more than ok.

We agreed to meet. so we both got together and drove around Spokane and talked about rooming together and you know what? He was a hell of a nice guy and it didn't take long to know this was going to work out just fine. For the next few months Geral and I had a blast together and he was the best roomie I ever had. I was disappointed when he decided not to go back to college the next year, but Geral and I have remained friends ever since and even though we may not see each other for long spells and we belong to different tribes, it doesn't take long until we are back in college laughing and telling stories again.

As the years past Geral, Kay and I had our loves and losses. We have all been divorced and somewhere in the mix of things Geral and Kay found each other and I think it's pretty cool. They sure seem to a good match and I'm super happy to see it.

When I asked if I could come see them on the first leg of my trip, they graciously agreed to put me up. It was great to see them and we had a grand time catching up. They had steaks and tatters ready when I rolled up and a very good whiskey on the rocks that helped calm my nerves from the road. We stayed up late and told stories and shared memories together. The next morning they sent me off with a belly full of French toast, sausage and coffee. plus more good conversation. What could be better than that for the first morning away from home on the road? Nothing.

This is the second year in a row that Geral has seen my taillights head down the road on my big June trip and maybe this is just two of many. I hope so. And now with Kay there too, it's twice as nice. They asked me to stop by on my way through on the journey back home and you know what? I just may do that. We'll toast the close of another saga In Search of Roots with another whiskey. And the way I see it, Geral and Kay are roots just the same and I can't think of anything more ok than that.

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