I have a friend, Chris Heimerdinger. I first met Chris nearly 11 years ago, back when I was just driving through
I remember driving there with my friend, Doug. We saw this guy jogging along the way. It was a hot summer day; I remember turning to my friend and saying, “Maybe we should offer that guy a ride. After all I would only run if I were being chased.”
Doug responded with, “Hey mister…who's chasing you?”
The windows were up, thankfully, and he didn’t hear the comment. As I pulled into the cul-de-sac the man ran up the house we’d just come to. It was Chris.
Even though he was sweating profusely, and was winded from his long run, Chris invited us inside and talked to us for nearly an hour. I couldn’t believe the graciousness of this man.
Since that time I’ve seen Chris about once a year. These ranged from book signings, visits to his home so he’d autograph stories for me. There was even a visit where I dropped off a “movie trailer” I had made for his book, Eddie Fantastic, to promote reading and quality literature responses in my class.
Two years ago I invited Chris to come to my school and have an assembly, which he genially agreed to. After the assembly, he met with just my class for a question-and-answer session. My students loved meeting the author of A Return to Christmas and Eddie Fantastic. They still talk about it.
A few years ago I took the three boys I mentored up to meet Chris, and to have him autograph a book of their choice. Randall, not realizing that they had a dog, cut across the front lawn. Unbeknownst to him, he’d tread in some choice “items” the dog had left behind on the grass, and tracked it over the Heimerdingers’s front room carpet.
Even with this, Chris still talks to me.
Throughout the years Chris has been a great friend and a confidant. Though I only talk to him a few times a year, he has always been courteous and understanding…even with the many constraints on his limited amounts of time.
This is just another reason I admire this man so much.
Today I watched his movie, Passage to Zarahemla and felt that I needed to call him. I just needed some advice, and hadn’t talked to him for a while. It was great! We ended up talking about just about everything over the ensuing 40 minutes (though Shawna will probably be upset at me from taking him away from the writing on his next Tennis Shoes book).
I admire Chris even more now than I did before. He is an example to me of a person who tries his best and lets the consequence follow.