20th Day of Thanksgiving (T-minus 8 and counting)

Today I’m thankful for Not-Net.

Years ago, my friend and business acquaintance, Joe Paul, started a networking group. It met at 7am every Wednesday morning, and participants would have breakfast and network — talk about their business, develop strategy, make contacts, set goals, and like that. I became a member, and we met every week at Central Market Café in Southlake. It was called NorthEast Tarrant Networking, or Net-Net.

After a few years, the group kind of petered out (I think most networking groups have a lifespan and this one had just run its course). Joe bowed out, and the rest of us weren’t sure whether we were going to continue or not. I decided I was going to use that time to blog (if you read some of my very early entries, you’ll catch references to all this), so I announced that I’d be coming to breakfast at the same time and place as always, and anyone who wanted to was welcome to join me.

There turned out to be five of us who kept coming: Debbie Clark, Barry Klompus, Linda Montgomery, Dorothy Culberson and me. We talked about our businesses some, but mostly it quickly became breakfast with friends. We started moving around. (There’s a flurry of emails and texts back and forth on Tuesday night, as we decide where we’re going.) Our meeting time moved back, and I now set my alarm for 7am Wednesday mornings, the time we used to need to be there.

Eventually we dubbed the group Not-Net.

The five of us became incredibly close. It’s hard to say how close we would have been if it hadn’t been for that regular meeting. But we had that, and we became such good friends. It was like therapy, getting together for a few hours every week with these people I value so much! It did and still does wonderful things for my outlook on life, and was a very important part of my week.

But, as all things do, things changed. Dorothy moved to San Antonio to be near her aging mother. Linda’s husband got the job offer of a lifetime in Los Angeles, where they had lived before the Metroplex, and they moved back. Barry, Debbie and I still meet, though, and—I hope—will continue to meet.

We’ve been through and gotten each other through a lot. Facing cancer, the loss of loved ones, layoffs, new jobs, slow economies, family crises, crazy relatives and more of life’s difficulties, we’ve given each other lots of laughs, neverending support and encouragement—and every now and then some silliness.

So thanks Barry & Debbie! Thanks, Linda & Dorothy! (We miss y’all so much!) You’re something I’m very, very thankful for!

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