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“Hey Bud, what’s my name?”

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“Hey Bud, what’s my name?”

 

“Hey Bud, what’s my name?”

I worked at a coffee shop for many years, and made it a point to learn my regular customer’s names and drinks.  Many of them told me how much that meant to them, which delighted me.  But for the last two years I’ve worked from my office at home, and remembering people’s names has become difficult.   Sometimes I don’t think to ask.  Other times I’ve asked and forgotten their name so many times I’m embarrassed to tell them I don’t remember.

My husband, Bud, and I have a passion for prison ministry, and actively participate as volunteers in area penitentiaries.  Last night Bud came home from West Tennessee State Prison and said, “Someone really touched me tonight,” then told me the following story.  And it really hit home.

“Hey Bud, what’s my name?”

By Bud Wilson

 

“Hey Bud, what’s my name?”

I had looked into those brown eyes hundreds of times over the last eight years. He sat against the wall with the rest of the inmates there at the appreciation banquet for volunteers at West Tennessee State Prison. He sang in the chapel choir, and served us as we served other men on our Kairos weekends.

“Hey Bud, what’s my name?”

I remember …
They give you a number …
You are no longer Bud …
You are #121163 …
And you lose one more thread of the fabric of your humanity.

“Hey Bud, what’s my name?”

The look on his face was one of love and expectation. I couldn’t think. Carlos sitting next to him I had just greeted by name. He was mouthing something, but I don’t know what. It was a simple question.

“Hey Bud, what’s my name?”

I remember …
They give you a number …
You lose your sense of self …
Boundaries no longer apply …
And your dignity is lost in the process.

“Hey Bud, what’s my name?”

I finally answered quietly, “I’m sorry, I can’t remember.”
“So, how long you been comin’ up here, Bud?”
“Seven, maybe eight years?”
“And you never call me by my name.”

“Hey Bud, What’s my name?”

Ricky … who loves God enough … Ricky … who loves me enough … Ricky …who loves himself enough … to ask the simple question … and remind me what a gift it is …  how important it is …for someone to care enough … to simply remember … my name.

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About the Author:

I never have found a box that fits me, so I follow Jesus into the wild. My husband, Bud, and I are two life-long hippies, parents of four grown children, and live in Bartlett, TN, with six cats, two dogs, and no TV. We are voracious readers and have loaded bookshelves in every room in the house except the kitchen and bathrooms. As a wordsmith, I write in long-hand everyday and use a computer by necessity. I am part of an eclectic group of Jesus-followers called Outlaw Preachers and have a passion for prison ministry. I am also an advocate for middle-aged and senior women, and anyone who suffers from depression. My musical tastes include Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joni Mitchell, old scratchy-record blues, and the great classical sacred choral works. One other thing: dark chocolate and garlic are major food groups, but not together.

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