We never talk about complicated things when we talk about what we miss. When we search for the longings of our hearts, it is always the simple stuff that rests there. With all of the losses in my life I can tell you it is the little things I miss, not something complex. It's the simple things we love, the idiosyncracies we crave day after day. Our lives greatest treasures are not found in vaults, but in picture frames, on park benches, over burgers and on front porches. Our minds look for the complex, our hearts desire the magically simple.
Sitting at the Frothy Beard Brewery in Charleston with Ryan Daniel is like sitting on a porch as the sun sets. It is unassuming, simple and full of the great joy that comes with that backdrop. Ryan is the kind of guy that makes you feel instantly at ease. His Georgia accent, the relaxed tone of his voice, the smile he always wears and the way he kicks back places you at immediate ease. When I arrive he is set up on some comfortable chairs and couches because he likes to be comfortable. There is no pretension here. Ryan loves relationships. He is married with two kids, one of whom will be celebrating a third birthday this week. We both agree that a third birthday is an incredibly epic event.
I first met Ryan at 1 Million Cups - Charleston (you may be noticing a theme here), but what I didn't know until today is that I also know his father-in-law, one member of the legendary Day 58 double header, Mark Osborn. It's incredible because there is a similar feeling around both of them when you get to the topic of relationships and helping people. Just like Mark, Ryan wants to help people, it's something that drives him. He's an authentically friendly guy, that smile seriously never leaves his face, and we fall right into talking.
We talk about sports.
In case the Royals cap in so many pictures didn't clue you in, I do love some Kansas City sports, a call back to my Missouri roots. Ryan is a true Georgia fan; college football, the Braves and even the Falcons. We spend a while talking about the season so far, about our memories, including his trip to KC during their World Series winning year, and what I was doing when I watched them win it. There's a wonderful simplicity in our conversation. We aren't trying to save the world, we aren't debating policy or trying to develop the perfect business plan. We are just two guys, sitting on a couch, having a beer and talking about sports. The names of the greats come up, the debate about Pete Rose being allowed in the Hall of Fame, none of it truly world shifting, and yet it is a wonderful way to end a day. It is reminiscent of the way we spend our downtime while deployed. We are simply killing time and hanging out.
Ryan wrote for a small town newspaper, for the sports page.
Those moments in a conversation happen that quickly. They come and go so fast that you can easily miss them if you are not paying attention. Worse, if you think that the conversation is trivial, and so remove yourself either physically or mentally, you will never hear it. Ryan loved the writing. Hearing him talk about sports you can hear the passion. He's talking about starting a sports blog, something for himself. He's batting the idea back and forth.
We talk about just creating to create. about not trying to figure out what people want and just making the best thing you want to make. Ryan and I talk about pursuing dreams, how we see so many people forced into their lives, so many kids forced to do what they don't want to for the sake of parents living vicariously. I wish I had a picture of the look on his face when he talked about how he could write this blog with the spare time he has instead of doing nothing. It was phenomenal.
Spending time with Ryan, hearing about his dreams, which include his family, and about his views is incredible, he has a great way of seeing the world and a spirit that truly wants the best for others. Ryan is the kind of guy you might picture when you think of a great dad. It's not about him, he loves his kids and he loves his wife. Ryan is a good guy, the kind of guy you want to hang out with, watch the game and enjoy the chit chat as it moves along. I bet Ryan really could make anyplace feel like hanging out on a front porch at sunset. That's a gift. A great one you can only truly appreciate when you've talked with friends on those porches at those times.
If you haven't, don't worry. There's still time. Go do that now.
Favorite Dinosaur: Allosaurus
Why: It was one of the smartest, quickest and most agile.