Monday, July 8, 2019

Unusually speaking

Sometimes when we eat at fast food restaurants the clientele, well... if I make eye contact or observe for a while, it seems as though I could be in the rec room of a mental health facility. I am a magnet for these people.

Today we saw a woman with a bag of ice on the inner bend of her elbow talking away to herself. I did not make eye contact, but kept a close eye on her. She left her cell phone and charger outside on the trash can and kept telling everyone. Smile and nod. 

A man about fifty stumbled through the door panting, gasping. I thought he was going to pass out from the heat. He was 100 pounds overweight and carried 75 of those pounds in his midsection. He had what my dad called Dunlap. His belly done lapped over his belt. His shirt was threadbare and dirty. He had a jolly full face. When he walked by and looked directly at me, I smiled. He burst out laughing.

I averted my eyes and continued on to our booth. That's when I noticed he was watching a sit com on TV. He was happy as could be to be in air conditioning.

I told the counter girl he appeared to need some attention as he was so short winded. She took him a drink of water. He kept looking around at everyone eating their burgers. I told the counter girl there was something not right about the man.

She said, "I'll bet he's hungry. I'll go check on him." He was very grateful when she took him a meal.

I complimented her for having a good heart. I asked her how she got her unusual name. She proceeded to tell me her life story.
"I'm 13 of 14 children. Grew up in Oklahoma. Went bad in my 30s, did some stupid things. Got a spiritual awakening last year when my boys said, 'Mama get that junk out of your system. We don't know you no more.' So I moved to St. Louis to stay with my sister. Got clean and have been for 10 months. And my name... Fredella? Well, I think they ran out of selections by the time they got to me and so they combined my dad's and mom's name to make mine."

I said, "You have a great  personality and a good heart. It shows."
She beamed, as happy as could be. 

Bill and I were in a nicer restaurant the other day. I heard a man about 50 talking to his mom and sister at a  table across from us. "I can't wait to see my new tennis shoes. They're getting me a pair of Nikes."

I glanced over and was taken aback. He looked so much like my cousin. The soles of his tennis shoe clad feet were on the seat of his wheel chair. He had no legs, but he had adult sized feet. He seemed as happy as could be.

Made me very thankful. Also made me think of the babies with birth defects from when doctors prescribed Thalidomide to their pregnant mothers years ago. I had a little girl in one of my first classes who had one typical hand and one deformed with no fingers. She was as happy as could be!

The more I thought about all of these people I encountered, the more I realized, life is what you make it. Kindness counts. And a smile goes a long way.


Pat Wahler said...

Another interesting day in the life of Linda! You are right. Kindness counts.

DUTA said...

Eateries are great places to observe people and their behavior.I once saw near my table a tiny girl making dance moves. I asked her whether it's a new dance learnt at the kindergarten. No,she said, she's wating impatiently for her Mom to end her phone call and take her.. to the toilets. I offered to take her myself as she was on the verge of peeing. Mothers, nowadays, glued to the phone!

Sandi said...

A smile goes a long way... :)

Fredella sounds like a treasure!

Your description of the man with the feet made me think of Thalidomide too. Did you know it was refused FDA marketing approval in the US because of one woman? She was a pharmacologist and had concerns about it. Turns out she was right.

Val said...

Yes, you are definitely a weirdo magnet. At least this crop was fairly mild, and more uplifting than energy-sapping.

Friko said...

Absolutely, you have got it right.
I too watch and listen to other people, I hope not too noticeably. Aren’t people interesting. And smiling and greeting go a long way towards making everybody’s life more pleasant.

Connie said...

So true. Kindness counts always, especially when we may not know what challenges others may be facing or what troubles they are dealing with.

Sioux Roslawski said...

A smile costs nothing, and it can be so valuable to those who receive it.

I once had a student named Timparis. You guessed it--the dad was Tim and the mom was Paris.