I met Ryan Seacrest once.  You might recognize him from American Idol or Rockin’ New Years Eve celebrations on TV.  I knew him as a radio guy in a big city, with a cool job that I wanted.  OK – I didn’t know him at all – and we hardly met, but I did run up to him on a trip to LA back in 2003 when he was just reaching stardom.  His security guards weren’t nearby and the locals didn’t seem to pay much attention to the guy.

But I was giddy with excitement. 

I was 22 years old and ready to take on the world.  I had but one question for the slick haired TV star, “How did you get your job?”

He muttered something about working hard and internships before walking away.  It was perfect. 

I did it again last week.  Only this time in my mind, the celebrity was much bigger than Ryan Seacrest.  I wasn’t going to tell you guys about it.  I didn’t want to embarrass myself or make you think that I’m a little bit off my rocker.  But when I realized I’ve already done both of those things – several times – in the past couple years since we’ve been chatting, I decided to go for it. 

Below is an e-mail I sent to Sharon Randall.  Will I get a response?  Not likely.  But it’s sure fun to dream. 

The Greatest Compliment

Sharon.  Someone once told me…

“Leslie, you don’t know me, but I feel like I know you.  You write like Sharon Randall, and she’s my favorite.  You remind me of her, a lot.  I just wanted to take a minute to tell you how much I enjoy reading your columns.” 

I liked this compliment, even though I had no idea who you were.  If we’re being very honest, I had never even heard your name or read your columns. 

I know, the honesty is pouring out here.  Sometimes I say too much. 

“Thank you so much for the kind words,” I told the stranger.  I didn’t reveal that I was clueless of your identity.  I didn’t need to.  I knew this Sharon gal had to be top notch. 

Months passed and your name came up again. 

“Hello Leslie,” said the stranger.  “This is the first time I have ever responded to a columnist via email like this.  I am an old guy, a grandparent, and a resident of Kearney since 1992.  I have been a Sharon Randall fan for years now.  Recently I have begun to read your columns too.  You haven’t yet replaced Ms. Randall as my favorite columnist, but I have enjoyed reading your columns.

“Who is this Sharon lady,” I pondered.  I was intrigued and made a note to do a little internet search to find out more about you.

But the days passed quickly and life got busy.  My two girls – both under the age of 5 – have a way of making time fly by.  “Google search Sharon Randall” stayed on my to-do list.  And then one Saturday this spring, I picked up our local paper.  Your picture was on the front.

“Ah – ha!  That’s Sharon Randall!” I thought. 

I immediately turned the page to your column, and then kicked myself when I realized you had visited central Nebraska – my neck of the woods, only weeks prior.  I started a Google search to find more of your columns and then got distracted by a crying child.  I think my 4 year old hit my 2 year old on the head or vice versa.  Regardless, the reading would have to wait. 

Weeks passed.  My husband kept asking me if I was going to reach out to other local papers to expand my columns.  It’s been almost two years since I started this gig, but I’ve never made time to do it.  That was likely my excuse, deep down I’m probably just nervous.  I’m an old TV gal – telling stories is natural for me but it is usually done on air not on paper.  I stumbled into this little hobby of mine by chance when a good friend encouraged me to give it a try (which explains why I had never heard of this Sharon Randall lady).  Could I really expand my random thoughts to other papers?  Would anyone care?    

And just like that, your name came up again when a stranger stopped me to say,  

“Leslie!  I love your columns.  I only read yours and Sharon Randall’s.”

I looked you up that night.  I poured myself a glass of wine and read through so many of your columns.  I cried, I smiled and I filled with pride.  What an honor to even be mentioned in the same sentence as Sharon Randall. 

After I finished my glass – (or was it two glasses?) of wine, I told my husband I was going to write you and ask for your advice.  To which he said, “Sure, Les.  And I’ll just call up Mark Cuban.  We’re old pals – I know he will return my phone call.”

He’s a smarty pants sometimes.  But I sure love him.

And here we are.  If you’re still reading, I am incredibly flattered.  If you have any advice to send my way, I would truly blush.  Regardless, I wanted to say…

“Thanks.  I know you don’t know me, but I now feel like I know you.  I just wanted to take a minute to tell you how much I enjoy reading your columns.  Apparently I write like you.  It’s one of the best compliments I have ever received.”    


Leslie Means

Leslie is the founder and owner of Her View From Home.com. She is also a former news anchor, published children’s book author, weekly columnist, and has several published short stories as well. She is married to a very patient man. Together they have three fantastic kids.  When she’s not sharing too much personal information online and in the newspaper – you’ll find Leslie somewhere in Nebraska hanging out with family and friends. There’s also a 75% chance at any given time, you’ll spot her in the aisles at Target.