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People you meet can change your life

One of the best parts about my job is the people I have met.

They come from all walks of life and range from very young to very old. Some have been famous, some infamous and some just regular Joes.

No matter who they were or what they did, all of them had a story to tell. And all of them had an impact on my life.

I have met humanitarians who have inspired me to help others.

I have met centenarians who have offered great advice for living a long, happy life.

I have met doctors and dietitians who have challenged me to change my lifestyle to become healthier.

I have met designers who have instilled a sense of style in my home.

I have met musicians and entertainers who make me smile every time I hear one of their songs or see one of their movies.

These people may not remember ever talking to or meeting me, but I can recall nearly every detail about these encounters.

Such is the case of legendary rocker Peter Frampton. We had a phone interview scheduled to promote an appearance at a nearby concert venue. When I answered his call, a voice with a distinct English accent replied, “Hello, this is Pete.” We continued our interview with dueling 3-year-olds making noise in the background and him telling me about one of his newest projects: “The Tigger Bop.”

Or how I met one of my dearest friends at a nonprofit ranch that provides therapeutic horseback riding to handicapped children.

At first, I would visit the ranch to report on new programs or make a plea for donations. But it didn’t take long for Patti and me to become friends, and for me to also volunteer at the ranch. In addition to our mutual love of horses, children and helping others, we both have a penchant for blue topaz and became “The Ladies of the Blue Stone.”

To this day, it doesn’t matter how much time has passed between our visits or phone calls, we can pick up where we left off and chat and giggle for hours.

And then there’s “Mom and Pop,” retirees who became family after meeting them at community women’s club luncheon. Special events, holidays and everyday became more treasured since they became part of my life. And not just my life, but that of my husband, my kids and my parents.

Even though we lost Mom a few years ago and I moved out of state, I remain in contact with Pop and his art graces the walls of my home.

One of the biggest changes in my life came from my role as theater critic.

For years I would visit the little community theater, meeting with the actors and taking pictures to announce the latest production. Then, I would return on opening night to watch the performance and write a review for the paper.

Naturally, the actors were very friendly — perhaps hoping that as friends I would only write kind words about their stint on stage.

After much prodding from several of the troupe’s actors, they convinced me that I needed to be in at least one production to see the stage from the other side. They assured me that joining the cast would give me a better perspective about what was involved in putting on a play.

So, without going through the regular audition process, I showed up to the first night of rehearsals for a production of Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple: Female Version.” And there was my husband-to-be.

We had known each other for years, but were never more than casual acquaintances until we both had parts in the play — small parts — meaning we spent most of our time in the green room getting to know each other better.

After that, actors have always held a special place in my life. So it comes as no surprise that during my recent meeting with Lynn Schofield-Dahl, director of Boulder City Library, and Dan Decker, artistic director of The Shakespeare Institute of Nevada, to discuss the upcoming Out Damned Spot Shakespeare Festival (See story on page 3), that their enthusiasm for the Bard of Avon became contagious and awoke my acting bug, which has been dormant for more than a decade.

Not only have I signed up for the workshop, I have drafted my entire family. I don’t know if we will make it to the stage for the final workshop and performances, but I do know this: No matter who you meet or under what circumstances, there is the great possibility that your encounter will make a difference in someone’s life, and that someone is probably you.

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