I met Dr. Semple anywhere from 5 to 10 ten years ago. It's always been difficult for me to keep up with how long I have known a person, been a member of my book club, been teaching at a school etc. You get the point? So, I met Dr. Semple because one of my other friends, Carolyn, bumped a lady's car. She left a note on the lady's car, and the lady called her. The lady was so thrilled that Carolyn left a note; she invited Carolyn to a party. Being the social people that we are, Carolyn and I went to the party. I know this is confusing, so stop and read this part one more time.
We were at this party, and we were having a really great time. We met this man whose last name was Semple. Now, to a literary person, this name instantly excited me. So, I said "is your name Semple as in Jesse B. Semple," and the rest of our relationship is history. From that day forward, we have been like Tea Cake and Janie from Their Eyes Were Watching God: "Janie and Teacake gone hunting. Janie and Teacake gone fishing. Teacake and Janie gone to Orlando to the movies. Teacake and Janie gone to a dance." And it all started because of his name, Semple.
Jesse B. Semple, or Simple for short, is the main character in a series of short stories by Langston Hughes. Langston was very fascinated with simple, everyday people. He felt that "it was impossible to live in Harlem and not know at least a hundred Simples." I keep a copy of The Best of Simple next to my bed, and whenever I need a good old belly aching laugh, I read one of the stories. If you have not read one of the short stories, I really encourage you to do it, and do it soon.
Quiet as its kept, and I feel corny for writing this, but I have met and formed a life long relationship with Dr. Semple all because of Jesse B. Semple. Boy am I grateful for literature!