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Chris Fabry
Married to Andrea since 1982. We have 9 children together and none apart. Our dog's name is Tebow.
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Where We Are Now

After finding and remediating mold twice in our Colorado home, we abandoned ship in October 2008. Because of the high levels of exposure, our entire family was affected. After months of seeing different specialists for all of the problems, we came to Arizona to begin comprehensive treatment to rid our bodies of the toxic buildup. In August 2009 we moved into a larger home, four bedrooms, south of Tucson, north of Mexico. I am doing my daily radio program/ writing from that location. Thanks for praying for us. We really feel it.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010
We are not defined by our losses, but they do mark us. Hence, I don’t spend a lot of time looking back, grieving. But every now and then I think of my office in Colorado, the friends I left behind there in the form of books. No, not books, treasures.

Part of that treasure includes the loss of Pat Conroy. He is one of my favorite writers because his novels (one in particular) struck a deep, deep chord within. It still does. I had several copies of The Prince of Tides, including the audio version recorded by Frank Muller. I also had a framed picture of Beaufort, S.C. that my wife gave me that reminds me of our trip to Fripp Island in 1998.

On that trip, I discovered that Pat frequented a grocery store named T.T. Bones. The proprietor said if I left the books with her and paid for the postage, she would have him sign the books and send them to me. I bought hard cover copies of The Prince of Tides and The Water is Wide, two of my favorites. A couple of weeks later I found them in the mailbox, signed in the Conroy way, “For the love of Fripp!”

Then, when Pat’s nonfiction book about his days of playing basketball for The Citadel came out, I had a fleeting moment of meeting him in a long line at the Tattered Cover in Denver. I even took a picture of him and hung it on my wall.

In October of 2008, we abandoned our home and all our belongings because of a toxic mold exposure. Our children were sick, my wife and I were sick, and the toxicologist told us not to chance taking anything with us. No pictures, no furniture, no books. I had an extensive collection of writing books that I miss every day I sit in my little office and try to create, but I miss nothing more than the sight of those signed books by Conroy.

Over the years I’ve tried to come up with a creative way to have Pat on my radio show. However, the type of fiction he writes is not conducive to a “Christian” talk show. He tells great stories, and there are deep aspects of faith in them, but I haven’t been able to figure out the right subject matter.

Then I heard about a new nonfiction book that released November 2. My Reading Life is a literary travelogue of sorts, reflections about the books Pat has read and how they’ve affected him. This was my chance. The 200 or so outlets that take our program would finally hear Pat Conroy, and more importantly, I would get the chance to speak with a literary legend.

I contacted the publicist for his book and told him what a fan I am and how I would welcome any amount of time with Mr. Conroy. I received a message that his schedule was closed. He only did a limited amount of media for the book. However, the publicist said he would send me something. He had no idea of the story I just told you.

Today a FedEx package arrived. Small. Thin. I thought it might be a copy of the book. I opened it gingerly and found a page from the book printed on card stock. It was numbered 11/500. “Why I Write” was at the top. At the bottom was Pat’s signature.

I couldn’t believe the kindness of this stranger who sent me such a gift. It felt like a nudge from above saying, “Keep going. Keep telling stories. Tell them well.” I would trade it for a conversation, of course. But I wouldn’t trade the grateful feelings of nostalgia and inspiration.


Donnamo said...

Oh, I love Pat too. He came to the local college here when he was just a newbie and had written only The Water is Wide. As a young (at that time) teacher is fed all my idealist and frustration of being a teacher here in SC (where most of the students are backward and below paraphrase Garrison Kellior) I have requested his new book from the library (I only BUY your books) and am on the list. But I did fondle a copy (not read) at Barnes and Noble yesterday. Hey, I'm going to pray somehow...someway he will come on Chris Fabry pray I don't miss it :)

Megan said...

I thought there was something energetic about that book lying next to your air mattress. I had no idea it was a newly-signed copy. Wow. Now if only we could get that Jackson Browne signature again somehow.

Glad you got it, Dad. If anyone deserves something special, it's you.