Tag Archives: Freddie Sherrill

On my 5th anniversary, a tribute to my amazing wife, who’s also an amazing mother. A short story of a stranger helping a little girl on a plane. And from illiterate at 37 to college graduate: A wonderful story of hope

And a Happy Friday to you lovely people who are spending a few minutes of your busy day reading words I have typed.

I don’t usually start a Good News Friday with personal stories (except when I write about my little guys, and man it’s been far too long since I’ve done that), but today is May 25, 2018, and five years ago on this day I got to do the most amazing thing:

I married Shelley.

It’s still kind of amazing, looking back, that she married me. That of all the single people in the world at that time, she choose little ole’ me, a 5-foot-5 balding guy who at the time had just left one career and barely started another.

But she did. Choose me and say “I Do” and other stuff.

I have proof, in a little lockbox under our bed, a piece of paper that says “Certificate of Marriage.” I come across it sometimes when I’m going to retrieve our passports or other valuable paperwork, and I smile every time I see it.

I’ve told you about my wife before, a few times: How she’s the kindest, most compassionate human I’ve ever known outside of my late grandmother; how after one date with her, seven months after my divorce, I told my parents and others who had potential dates lined up for me to hold off for a while, I’m going to try to make it work with this amazing woman.

But as much as I thought I knew her then, five years ago today, I know her so, so much better now. We have created two beautiful boys together, and every day of their lives they’ve seen a mother who was loving, caring, firm on discipline when necessary, but always there to comfort with a hug and kiss.

I’ve seen a wife who’s only grown more impressive in my eyes, as a Mom. She works hard all day and sometimes night, but still has time and energy to read them stories, play games with them, and be cheerful.

It is a cliche that a married couple grows closer together when they have kids, but I think it’s true in our case. We’ve barely started this journey (our oldest is still scared of the noise of a public toilet flushing, so we’re like in the opening credits of this parenting movie) but I have to so respect and appreciate my wife more than just being her own person, but as a Mom to two great boys.

Five years. Five years of rarely fighting, five years of making each other laugh and smile every single day, five years of learning and discovering new things about each other (like this week I learned she’s not afraid to climb up on ladders, she just doesn’t do it when I’m around because, you know, I’ll do it for her).

Five years. Not as long as most people have been married; hell, her parents are closing in on year 50. But still, five years is something to be proud of.

I will do my best every day to keep her around some more.

**OK, let’s get to another sweet, random moment between strangers. So I saw this on Twitter the other day, just a small gesture by a person who didn’t know the folks sitting near him on a flight, but helped anyway.

The man’s face in the final photo is just perfect.

**And finally today, one more piece of proof that you should never, ever, ever give up on somebody. They will surprise you with what they can accomplish, or how they can change their life.

From Allison Klein’s fabulous story in the The Washington Post last week:

“Freddie Sherrill was homeless, an alcoholic and drug addict, and he used to steal his kids’ Christmas presents from under the tree and sell them. He was eating out of dumpsters. He could not read or write.

“Sherrill spent years in and out of prison and rehab centers in North Carolina. He once threw a brick through a store’s glass window on a freezing night so police would bring him in from the cold. But after a long and painful journey, Sherrill was able to claw his way back to sobriety and he even learned to read.

In one of his biggest accomplishments yet, he graduated from Queens University of Charlotte with a bachelor’s degree earlier this month at age 65.”

“I started a lot of things in my life I didn’t finish,” Sherrill said. “College wasn’t going to be one of them.”

I loved this quote from Sherrill: “When I stopped drinking and using drugs and alcohol, my whole life was different,” he said. “It was like going from being blind to learning to see. I wanted to be a father. I wanted to be part of the world.”

Tremendous. Here’s a man who looked completely lost, and had done nothing of value for so many years. And here he is, when most people are retiring, just getting started.

Fantastic stuff.