Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Seeking And Finding
Recently I sat at a bistro table drinking coffee at our local supermarket and an elderly gentleman sat down at the next table. We exchanged greetings then he wondered aloud why the store had removed the previous dining tables and the short privacy wall surrounding them.
"Oh, I think it was just because they added the health food aisle and the frozen foods freezer section sits there now," I said.
"You don't think it's because people were stealing things when the wall was around the tables?" he asked.
Good gracious. Not once, not even once did that ever occur to me. Not even.
I assured him that, no, they'd had to make room for the health food freezer aisle, for which I was grateful, because I'd always had to travel a few miles to a different store for certain health food items.
There's a "Sound Off" section in our local paper where people call in to complain about everything from local government and teachers and city workers to the way people walk across their lawns, the way folks amble down the street instead of on the sidewalks, how nobody should be allowed to cook food over a fire in their backyards and how, if you don't fly a flag on Memorial Day, you are un-American and an example of what's wrong with this Country.
I read Sound Off for a laugh, but always I feel sorry for my neighbors who are spending their lives searching for things to complain about. Those folks who peer outside their house and car windows, searching for Life Gone Wrong.
Tom and I search for the Life Gone Right. Most of the time we even find it.
Last week I discovered a sweet little teapot in the "free box" at a yard sale. Later we drove through a tiny, Back To The 1920's Town where, on somebody's lawn, they'd placed a couple hundred older Victoria and Country Living magazines on a round table with a sign which read "Free." Tom pulled over and I grabbed some magazines and even chatted with the woman who'd placed them there.
That same day Tom bought some die cast cars from a junk shop and the nice old owner relaxing on a chair out front Mayberry-style, gave me my chosen salt and pepper shakers for free.
And all that week Tom and I visited Mom and Pop hamburger drive-ins and fruit and vegetable stands dotting the countryside, some which had served country travelers many years. Places where they would look at you funny if you handed them your credit card.
Then yesterday I ate lunch at our city park and watched part of our town's weeklong festival activities... Children and adults everywhere laughing on a Monday afternoon... little guys and girls in potato sack races and foot races, too--their parents cheering like crazy at the finish line. Over and over.
Tom and I keep our eyes open for friendly people and for old-fashioned 1940's simplicity and fun. We expect to see them wherever we go. And we keep finding them.
I hope you do, too.