It’s another brisk fall morning, a prelude to the cold that’s on its way. I’m starting to see colors all over the place as well as the endless collection of leaves that manage to make their way to my lawn. Yep. Summer has definitely packed it in.
I had planned to do a history post yesterday on a downtown building. I thought it would be quick, relatively easy to do. But no. I started learning all kinds of cool things – cool to me anyway – and I knew I didn’t have enough time to do the story justice. So I didn’t post it.
Besides, this is my 300th post! Three-hundred. I can hardly believe it. I’ve only been at this regularly for a little over six months and I think I had a grand total of seven posts in 2007. I’m either extremely prolific or boring as hell. (The truth probably lies somewhere in between.)
It’s all the mother’s fault. I come by that gift of gab quite honestly. My mother can and will talk to just about anyone. (Her father, Young Tom, was the same way.) And my father? He could sell ice to Eskimos. I like to think I got the better parts of both of their natures.
Case in point: I ran in Home Depot last weekend, leaving the mother in the car. I come out and she's talking to a young guy on a motorcycle parked next to us. Last night, the mother strikes up a conversation with a little red-haired woman at Wal-Mart who was struggling to get laundry detergent off the top shelf. (OK. Now I’m going to be singing Mr. Jones the rest of the day. Mr. Jones strikes up a conversation with a red-haired flamenco dancer. But I digress. Sorry. That’s genetic, too.) All I want to do is get the few remaining things on my list and go home. But no. They’re exchanging life histories and before I know it, phone numbers!
I was exceptionally patient, especially for me, and especially considering it was almost 9 and I was still wearing the clothes I'd put on at 5:30 a.m. (If we hadn't had dinner first, I wouldn't have been able to do it. Of course, if we hadn't had dinner first, she probably wouldn't have been there either.)
As it turns out, the woman lost both her husband and a daughter last year. She still has the daughter’s twin sister and a son and a bunch of grandkids (and as it turns out, I know who her son is from my newspaper days; he’s now a principal at a school in a neighboring town) but she just moved into a retirement village and she seems pretty lonely. Mrs. C. is 75 and quite spry for her age. She said, “My husband and I used to dance all the time” at least a dozen times. Every time she said it, she’d get this wistful look in her eye that just broke my heart.
That just seems wrong. You lose your partner of more than 55 years, your child (at 52) and your home of more than 50 years all within a year. And she seemed to be feeling all of it last night. So how odd is it that we cross paths with her in the cleaning products aisle at Wal-Mart?
I don't know if the mother will call her or if she will ever call the mother, but she seemed to be a little more at peace with herself as she rolled along with her cart. I won’t pick on the mother anymore for not knowing a stranger. Seems like her gift can get put to good use.