We'll take a cup o' kindness yet, For auld lang syne. – Robert Burns
I felt privileged but also deep sadness this past week as I said good-bye to a very dear friend. Thankfully, it was in person and not at a memorial service.
Nancy Johnson hasn’t died. She’s just moving to New Mexico!
My theatrical agent of more than 37 years retired this past week. Yes, in a former life, I actually worked as an actress (and still do on occasion). And Nancy Johnson was my first agent in “the business.”
Flash back to the heyday of movies and television productions in Dallas during the 70s. Yes, that long ago! I have literally been a member of the auto club and the Screen Actors Guild longer than some of my staff have been alive. Anyone else out there remember the Apparel Mart and a young, brilliant woman by the name of Kim Dawson? Nancy Johnson and I do.
They were both my first agents and I have been with Nancy, in some form or another, every since. Kim died two years ago and we all miss her terribly. And Nancy almost died about the same time.
Devoted Christian that she is, she was alone at her church on a Saturday evening, arranging the flowers for Sunday morning services, when she fell and broke her leg in eight places.
She lay on the altar floor for more than eight hours until, finally, some passing police officers saw some headlights flashing on and off in the church parking lot and stopped to investigate.
That’s all she had. Her car’s key fob. No cell phone, no friend down the aisle, no church secretary in the back. Just a fob on a key that she continually pressed throughout her long, painful wait for help.
The fob was for her car’s lock button and she knew it would make her car’s headlights blink and make a beep beep noise. She knew how to get rescued. That’s because she is Nancy Johnson. Nancy Johnson always knows what to do.
“I’m so sorry you were alone for so long,” I said to her after she returned to The Campbell Agency from three months in the hospital and a couple of others in rehab. I was referring to her ordeal on the church floor.
“I wasn’t alone,” she declared as she looked at me with pure calm in her soul. I knew in an instant what she meant. She had God with her the whole time.
No, I’m not going to go all religious on our readers right about now. I actually believe and recognize that there are a number of wonderful beliefs out there in the universe (Nam Myoho Renge Kyo).
But, at that moment, I knew it was God who had saved Nancy Johnson. And I thank Him for that. And I thank her for all she has done for me throughout our long history together. May the next 37 years of our relationship be as adventurous as the first.
And auld lang syne!