This kindly bearded phizog belongs to the gentleman who radiated the most winsome generosity ever, and I hadn’t met him in person before.
It’s no surprise to his family, friends, and students that Dave LaBelle would drive 450 miles in one day just to attend the book talk of a social media friend.
We’d “met” a couple of years earlier through an online writers’ conference, where he was a presenter. Afterwards I contacted him about his novel, Bridges & Angels: The Story of Ruth. I read and reviewed it. He read my first book, Leora’s Letters.
Both books are family stories, both deal with horrendous losses. We connected because of those stories.
A year later I asked if he’d share his story with Our American Stories, which he readily agreed to. (It runs about 15 minutes.)
He’s also a photojournalist and has taught at the university level. He lugs a black camera with big lensy things on the front. A cellphone camera is my style, so I didn’t expect to enjoy his books about photography. But one promised that I wouldn’t need to know about f-stops and such, called “I don’t want to know all the technical stuff. . . I just want to shoot pictures.” Perfect. And the writing is delightful.
Recently Dave read Leora’s Early Years: Guthrie County Roots. The day before I was to give a book talk about it in Guthrie Center, he sent an email with his compelling reflections about it.
Well, you can’t miss a tall man with a cap and a white beard filling the doorway of the library in Guthrie Center. I was surprised, and yet not, having picked up on his genuine character through social media. Afterward Dave mingled with the audience, sharing some of his own books. His surprise visit enhanced an already-perfect day.
God blesses us through other humans, their generosity. May Dave’s serendipitous visit always remind me to radiate generosity to others.
My review of Bridges & Angels.
Dave photographed my handsome “support staff.”