Sam Wellborn is one of my favorite people on the planet. I still feel that way about him in spite of that time several years ago when he walked into an appointment with Jill and me and asked us — with a completely straight face — to write the Springer Opera House a check for a double handful of thousands of dollars.
We responded — also with straight faces — that we’d take that request under advisement.
Jill and I couldn’t wait for him to get out of earshot before we both nearly fell over laughing. I remember saying to Jill, “Do you really think he thinks we could write a check that big!?!” Until just now, that was one of mine and Jill’s most treasured private pieces of family lore. It seems appropriate for me to tell it here, because of this post.
Seriously, how many couples can measure up to Dusty and Sam? He is handsome as hell and they both look like they just graduated from college. Not many folks are as generous as Dusty and Sam and Lordy, when that man gets on a project, you need to lead, follow or get the hell out of the way. He’s like a dog on a bone.
If Sam loves it, some folks are going to know about it. I love that about him. I’m the same way.
One of the reasons I’m a Sam fan is that he made a decision twenty-one years ago, during his storied tenure as president of Columbus Bank and Trust Company, to buy the back page of a certain local business and lifestyle magazine . (Sam, if my timing is off on whether or not you had ascended to the presidency of the bank during the time in question, I apologize.) CB&T continues to anchor the back page of Columbus and the Valley magazine. We have greatly appreciated our partnership with CB&T and we have reciprocated with our business.
When Sam calls me, I look forward to his call because I’m assured that whatever he has to say will be delivered with enthusiastic bluntness. I love that about him. It works with my style.
I’ve been on this end of a bunch of those calls over the years, depending on what Sam was excited about that day. I remember a call about the Camellia Society. I recall one about the Columbus Botanical Garden, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and the Springer Opera House. And, with my chemo brain, I know I’ve forgotten a few others.
A few weeks ago, I got another call from Sam. In case you didn’t know it, Sam is into yoga. He called to ask Jill and me to pay a visit to the building where Scott Ressmeyer’s dad’s chiropractic clinic in Lakeland, FL was located. Sam asked us to go see Erika Junco, the proprietor of The Up! Factory and the glue that holds together a well-chosen group of units that operate out of the building.
We set an appointment with Erika and she has quickly become a part of our lives.
Please allow me to digress: On March 29 we met with Dr. Andy Pippas to follow up on my last scans and labs. We had a happy meeting, as I continue to be free of the knee walking terror I once lived with when I thought I might be heading over the rainbow bridge. As we wrapped up our time together, I remarked something to the order of “I feel great and I don’t see anything in front of me that scares me.”
“Well, I do,” he snapped back and grabbed a pen and a scrap of paper, scratched three letters down and shoved it toward my face.
Body Mass Index
Nice way of saying, to quote retired Judge John Allen, “you are the fattest sick man I’ve ever seen!” Andy was steely-eyed as he said, “Mike, you WILL lose 26 pounds before I see you again.”
I’m thinking, “Dude, I’ll see you next year,” but the stone cold sober look that came at me over the top of his glasses was enough to muzzle me.
Hmm. Sam called me about his yoga instructor. Andy told me that I’m fat and I’ve got to lose 26 pounds. Then we met Erika and had a talk that ignited a hopeful spark inside of me.
When The Up! Factory’s front door opens, a healthful spa smell greets you. Essential oils blended with an inviting craftsman style embrace, the wood surely holding stories from the decades.
I labored up the steep stairs the first time I scaled them.
Erika Junco is fit. Her husband is a military man and she has a special place in her heart for soldiers. She is a natural trainer, gracefully toeing the thin line between a shove and gentle encouragement.
At our first meeting, I told her about those 26 pounds. I love what she said in response. “Don’t give them another thought. Let’s work on your flexibility, your balance and your core. Once all that gets in the right place, you’ll lose the weight naturally if you’ll pay attention to your diet, too.”
We have completed two one-hour training sessions and I’m in awe of how perceptive Erika is while we’re actively working her plan. We’ve learned that I am glute-driven person and that Jill uses her quads to drive her legs. Who knew?
She has meticulously ferreted out all of my physical limitations. All my surgeries, my atrophied left trapezius muscle, my pair of injured shoulders, the painful neuropathy in my feet, my painful joints and my sometimes bad attitude. Erika went through our little group, getting to the bottom of each of our challenges and our chances for success.
I’m getting signals that we’re on the right track. Tonight when we got home, instead of sliding my ottoman away from my chair to make room for me to shuffle through the gap in advance of plopping down, I just stepped over it. Confident and sure about where my feet were going.