One evening last week, I impulsively decided to stop for some country comfort food on the way home from school. I really wallowed in that comfort, too, and ordered breakfast for supper. I was alone, yet in good company as I read a book. I noticed the couple at the table next to mine. They appeared to be a little older than me, and as I sometimes do when I see an older couple that enjoys being together, I felt a twinge of jealousy and wished my husband had lived long enough for us to grow old together. But I was absorbed in my book and my food, and I didn’t dwell on it. Later, I noticed how they each dug into their pockets (well, she dug into her purse) gathering cash together, and then had a whispered conversation with the waitress. I was a little curious. A couple of minutes later, the waitress stopped at my table. “I don’t want to hurry you at all, but whenever you get ready, you are all set. That couple (she pointed to the table next to mine) paid for your food and tip.”
The next morning, I rushed out the door so I would have time for a Starbucks run. (Since it was the week before fall break, and since I had spent the week fighting a cold…I was treating myself.) When I pulled up to the window…you won’t believe this…
“The lady in the car ahead of you paid for your coffee. Enjoy!”
Blessed twice by strangers! There is grace in the world. I am on the lookout for my turn to pass it on.
Cough! Sneeze! Sniff! Cough! Cough!! I hate having a cold. But I can’ t complain too much. I made it through the day. I ate my favorite chicken soup this evening. Now I am relaxing, stretched out on the couch, with a sweet kitty stretched out beside me, napping and keeping me warm. I didn’t forget to write, and I still feel good enough to read slices and comment before I head to bed early. That’s the good and bad of it for now.
Driving along the freeway,
nearly overwhelmed by the
sea of red tail lights I followed
and the waves of white head lights
coming toward me on the other side,
I almost missed the great
transformation as night
gave way fully to the new day…
Sky that was a muted blue-gray
lightened and brightened more each moment-
I was on the way to sunshine,
but I just about missed the realization,
worrying about traffic- then the truth dawned…
A perfectly brilliant day could be mine-
I was on the way to sunshine!
We met for an hour after school today- the Ernie Pyle Writers. Why? To start our blogs! It was a little slow-going at first- just typing in usernames and passwords was a bit of a challenge for these fourth graders. Everyone did manage to get logged in. Learning to maneuver through the site using drop-down menus and finding icons was all new. Everyone chose new background colors and a theme. No one had ever heard of a widget, but we used one to link individual student blogs to the class blog. A first post (another new word) was written and published. The new bloggers found each others’ blogs to read the posts.
At first, there was some grumbling- it seemed hard. It wasn’t long before excitement started catching on. They were not ready to stop at the end of the hour. Just wait ’til they learn about comments! Just wait ’til they truly realize they are Ernie Pyle Writers!
All who have known grief have known this, too. Time passes, and though you don’t ever forget, you don’t feel sad and teary every moment as you did at the beginning. Then some crazy little thing comes up, and suddenly, you find yourself crying. Again.
It happened as I was watching the news- specifically, the sports news. My mom wasn’t really a sports fan, but my step-dad was the ultimate fan, especially for home town teams. So mom had team sweatshirts for game days, stood in line when the grocery had a promotion going on to get team posters, and sometimes actually watched whole games. She spoke fondly of star Pacers basketball player, Reggie Miller, and long-time Colts quarterback Peyton Manning as if they were family friends. (We didn’t know them, although we did have a family connection to Hoosier Hysteria- my stepfather’s dad was the owner of Indy’s first pro basketball team, the world champion Indianapolis Kautskys.) Mom followed every little bit of news that was leaked when Peyton Manning and his wife welcomed twins.
So when the sports report featured a cute photo of Peyton and his son on the Denver field, I thought how Mom would love seeing that. She would have talked about how cute it was, how the boy is a “spittin’ image” of the dad. And in that fleeting moment as the thought crossed mind, I could hear her voice, and I burst into tears. Out of the blue. Watching sports news.
The screen is blank. So is my mind, it would seem. I’ve been sitting in front of the screen for awhile now and nothing has been happening. So I have just started typing to see if anything will happen. I don’t want to let Tuesday pass by without offering a slice. Let’s try “right now.”
Right now I sit at the desk in my classroom.
Right now the building is quiet.
Right now the students are not here. They have left for the day.
Right now I hear door hinges creak as the custodian closes and locks classrooms.
Right now a colleague calls and asks about the laminator. I am no help, since I don’t use it much.
Right now I hear a plane flying by.
Right now I am imagining where I would fly to for a vacation.
Right now I just finished talking with another teacher. We need time to talk with each other!
Right now sun streams in through the window, beckoning me to go outdoors. Bye!
Early morning. Very early. A mother and her young son were walking down the sidewalk toward the corner. They had gone to the drugstore. He carried a small bag. I wonder what they needed that brought them out before the sun was even up. At the corner, the light changed and they stepped into the crosswalk. He took his mom’s hand, as if to take care of her and make sure she was safe. They made it across the street and stepped back onto the sidewalk. Mom slowed, ducked behind her son, and walked on the street side, protecting him from the traffic rushing by. A tender moment of love.