Stacy sent this to me today… it made me cry.
I arrived at the address and honked the horn.after waiting a few minutes I walked to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie. By her side was a small nylonsuitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware. ‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said.I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’ ‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said.When we got in the cab, she gaveme an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’ ‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly.. ‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry.I’m on my way to a hospice. I looked in the rear-view mirror.Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice.. ‘The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. ‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked. For the next two hours, we drove through the city.She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slowin front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing. As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired. Let’s go now. We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out tothe cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair. ‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked,reaching into her purse. ‘Nothing,’ I said ‘You have to make a living,’ she answered. ‘There are other passengers,’ I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. ‘You gave an old woman some time, memories and joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’ I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.. I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one. PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLYWHAT YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU SAID ~BUT~THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOWYOU MADE THEM FEEL.
If there is anything that renews my spirit, refreshes my soul and reminds me of all that is good in my world, it has to be my gals. Not to be mistaken for my girls, Abi and Cydney, my gals are a core group of friends that all belong to the whine and wines. Although there are others in our group, my gals are the ones that have been around through many incarnations, additions, and deletions. I love these women. I love their spirit, their humor, their unconditional love for each other. I love that we can come together, share a glass (or three) of champagne, laugh til we have tears streaming down our cheeks, (and in Katie’s case, laughing so hard she snorts), and accepting each other for who we all are. Each woman so beautiful. Each woman so smart. Each woman so different yet so much alike. And so it was this morning when we gathered at the Oyster Bar for Champagne Sunday Brunch. Wo-mancing each other for over 20 years, I love my gals!
Standing left to right: Katie, the nurturer who loves unconditionally. Mina, the comedienne that keeps us all laughing. Julie, the brain with a subtle quick wit. Sitting: Me (puffy from three glasses of champagne). Meredith, like a sister, we have known each other for over 40 years. Debbie, the teacher who is genuinely interested in each person she meets. It’s a privilege to know such wonderful women.
You know this whole commuting thing is really getting old. Some days it feels as if the road just gets longer and longer and I haven’t moved an inch. Today was one of those days. Until… as I was toodling along the endless highway I passed a truck that caught my eye. Big Fish. What kind of company could possibly sport the same name as one of my favorite movies: Big Fish? Unfortunately it was too dark to tell, so I am left to wonder (yes, I tried to find it on the world wide inter-web, no success). Have you ever seen Big Fish? It’s a wonderful story in which William Bloom, son of a bigger-than-life man named Edward Bloom comes home for one last visit before his father dies. William has always been embarrassed and dismissive of the stories he has grown up hearing but as Edward lays dying William starts to piece together the tall tales and seemingly endless string of unbelievably impossible adventures gaining a new perspective of the life his father has led. Okay, so that description certainly sounds depressing and dull, but trust me on this one. It is not. I have watched this movie no less than 3 dozen times (not kidding here, if it’s on, I watch) and every time I take away something new. So as I toodle I start to think about the movie. As I think about the movie I start feeling weepy. I’m not weepy about the movie per se; I am just suddenly very weepy.
What is it? What is it that has caused this sudden lapse into woe-ville? Perhaps it’s the feeling that I have yet to make a difference, an impact, if you will. Not a big, splashy, hey-look-at-me-attention-grabbing kind of difference. No, not that kind. I think it is more of a need to do more and feeling that time is getting away from me kind. Okay, I am NOT going down that road. Really and true I am not.
Hey you know who this reminds me of, (making an impact part I mean)? Valerie!
If you want to read about a really cool chick that has made a BIG difference, check out my friend Val’s blog: http://visitval.blogspot.com . One of these days I’ll tell you all about our PTA days together and how she set the standard that helped make my (multiple) stints as PTA President so successful. She’s amazing! Visit Valerie and rent Big Fish … you will be inspired!
What the hey? It’s always nice to find that you have friends in the blogging world that miss you when you are gone. I have had texts and emails and phone calls asking when I was going to post. So here we go …
First off, I must tell you why the break. It has to do with my last few posts. They were mean! Yes, I am ashamed to have posted about people that I have never met but that struck a (silly) chord with me. Rude. Cruel. Down right not nice! I needed to re-group. To think about why I blog and what it means. I know what you are thinking, “Just delete the posts”. Nope, I won’t be deleting because they will serve to remind me that I went down that path once and it didn’t make me very happy. No more I say. No more!
So I ask for your forgiveness and hope that you will continue to visit me every now and then… and please visit my other site: sandraspantry.wordpress.com for updates on whats cooking in my kitchen and in my soul.