It had been a long, exhausting day. Our new house was filled with boxes and piles of all kinds, but the movers had left, and it was quiet now. Vince was sleeping on the red sofa a few feet away from me, and I was sitting at the kitchen counter. The sun was setting. A calm stillness lay on the place.
For no reason at all I started shuffling through a messy stack of unfiled papers and letters on the kitchen counter. A letter in a scribbled blue marker caught my attention from the top of the pile. It was a request for Vince to send a birthday greeting to a woman turning eighty-nine years old. The note was written by her grown daughter.
I didn't know how old the letter was. I hadn't seen it at the old house, but it must have been there. I wondered if Vince had seen it and set it aside. What was the birth date again? I scanned the page. Today. The woman's mother turned eighty-nine today.
I stuffed the note in my back pocket. Eventually I woke Vince up, and we went to meet some friends. Later that evening, while we were driving around town with some unexpected time on our hands, I remembered the letter. I took it out of my pocket and read it aloud to Vince. It was news to him. He was as intrigued as I was by the timing of it all—that this letter, mailed to our old address, got unearthed in the move and made it to the top of a pile just in time for him to make the call.
Busy signal. So we decided to drive around. He kept calling. Still busy. We kept driving. Busy. Still driving. Still busy. This was crazy. Who doesn't have call waiting in the twenty-first century?
Finally, Vince said, "Hey, where does this woman live? Let's just drive by her house." We found her address.
This was getting interesting. The birthday girl didn't even know about the letter, so the last thing she expected was for Vince to show up at her front door. Just as we were turning onto her street, Vince finally got a ringing line.
He said, "Hey, I understand somebody in this house is having a birthday. This is Vince Gill, and I just called to say hi… No, really, it is me… Yes, it is… That's right. And if you're not too busy, my wife and I thought we'd stop by to say hello." He hung up with a big smile, and we were there, in front of a little white box of a house surrounded by other small houses in a neighborhood crisscrossed with chain-link fences.