The Charlie Bravo Story

Johnny Appleseed

As many of Charlie’s long term followers know, every Friday is Charlie Bravo Day. The whole idea was that as many historical figures are celebrated once a year, it was only fair that a diva such as Charlie would get recognition throughout the year. As I was in the corporate rat race at the time and often unable to do her bidding during the work week, she chose every Friday as that day.
And it has been that way for the last eight years.
It’s a bit embarassing to admit how many thousands of times we have told her story to complete strangers. While I like to think that some are positively affected, I fully realize that many others are thinking, “just what is this guy going on about?”
I used to take motorcycle trips out west accompanied by good friends, but I don’t do that anymore; I travel alone. Not because I’ve become antisocial, but because I have been known to be a bit hypersocial. By the time we’ve been on the road a few days, my friends are so sick of every stop becoming an extended BS session that usually circles back to Charlie’s message that I’ve decided it’s better to travel solo.
I often think of Johnny Appleseed; I can just imagine the reaction of his companions if their goal was to make good time while traveling, then Johnny would spot a particularly fertile spot of ground to plant a supposedly random orchard. I’m sure that it didn’t take long for Mr. Appleseed to be traveling solo.
I remember a particular time out west, a stop at a gas station in Naturita, Colorado before the last long, hot push across the desert to Moab, Utah. Just as we were preparing to go kickstands up, a pair of older gentlemen rolled up on their BMW’s. One of them told me that this was his first trip riding his bike solo after many years of having his wife aboard; she had recently passed from cancer.
I could tell that he had a story that he was wanting to tell, and I knew that it was a story that I needed to hear. But I could literally feel the eyeballs of the others in my group rolling like a trio of pinball machines, so I didn’t dawdle. I’ve thought about this many times over the passing years; what vital opportunity did I miss to give or receive because I was in a hurry?
I won’t do it again.
After years of planting, some of my apple orchards are suddenly starting to sprout. The sidecar project is very close to becoming a reality. The children’s book that was planted years ago is now finding life under the care and feeding of an artist from Armenia. While most sane people would view Charlie’s message as my “side gig”, it has always seemed to somehow turn out to be my “main gig”, with my actual money-producing job(s) playing a distant second fiddle.
But when I consider all of your stories I’ve encountered over that last eight years, I’m good with that. Darling Nikki who never got to travel due to her cancer. Cathy, who passed from grief a short time after losing her husband. Deb, Jeanette, John, Diane, Shawn, Ruth, Jody/Rusty, Donna, Trish, Kerry, Jeannie, Sandy, the list so long that I couldn’t begin to acknowledge everyone that has made their own special impact over the years; this page would not be here if it wasn’t for all of you.
FB sent me a congratulatory message this morning; “20,000 reactions in the last 30 days!” What they fail to realize is it’s never been about the 20k. It’s always been about the one, and I’m not talking about Charlie, although she would beg to differ; it’s all about those one on one connections. We may never actually meet on this side of the river, but be assured that every post is written with you particularly in mind,
as it’s you that makes the difference

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