Saturday, October 30, 2010

Doing the Right Thing NEVER Goes Out of Style

Good Samaritans are few and far between these days.  It seems like there are a lot of people who are "all about me" or "what's in it for me". 

Just recently my husband, Charlie, was driving to Beaumont for a retirement celebration for a co-worker.  It was on a Friday that Charlie was off.  He had many things he needed to do around here, but this fellow retiring was a great guy and Charlie felt like it was important to drive over and wish him well.  Lucky for Bob Berry!

On the return trip, between Houston and Beaumont, along I-10, Charlie stopped off for gas.  As he filled up his tank, he noticed a wallet on top of the gas pump.  He opened it up to see who it belonged to and found Bob Berry's driver's license.  Charlie used his phone to look up Bob's address and phone number.  When he called his home, he reached Bob's wife.  Mrs. Berry told Charlie that 80-year-old Bob had been on a joy ride on his Harley when he left his wallet behind.  (Yes, I said 80 years old!)

Later that day, Bob and Charlie spoke and made arrangements for Bob to drive up and retrieve his wallet the next morning.  Bob arrived during our neighborhood Halloween Breakfast. 

Bob and Charlie posing in front of the Harley.
 The best part of Bob's visit was his GREAT story for leaving his wallet behind.  Bob said that he was just finishing up when this limo full of 20-something girls in various stages of dress drove up.  They had flyers for a new club called Girls, Girls, Girls.  They were offering to give him a lift to this new establishment.  Even an 80-year-old man gets distracted by young, scantily clad women.  The good news is that he turned them down and hopped on his bike.  Unfortunately he forgot his wallet, AND he told his wife the WHOLE story when he got home.  We were all rolling!

So during our short time with Bob, we learned that he was a marine and a decorated war vet from the Korean War.  He told us that with getting older, you start losing friends.  He said the friends that are still around can't drive anymore and their wives have to drive them around.  Bob said, "Or they're sick, can't walk or on some medication and can't drink anymore."  He told us that he had to get some younger friends.  So he bought a Harley.  Bob says it's like being in a fraternity.  He has friends wherever he goes.

What a character!  80-years-YOUNG and full of life!
We all enjoyed meeting Mr. Bob Berry.  I don't think our neighbors will ever forget this Halloween Breakfast! 

What we all learned is that it's always fashionable to do the right thing.  It might have taken a little effort to find Mr. Berry and track him down, but we all know the fear of identity theft.  His wallet, in the wrong hands, might have actually MADE it to Girls, Girls, Girls.

But for us, we were blessed to meet this fine gentleman who served our country proudly, who lost soldier buddies in war, who has a new lease on life after doing a little evaluating as his aging comrades began dying off.  I think we all learned a lesson from Bob Berry. 
  1. NEVER, pay attention to scantily clad women with a flyer for a new club.
  2. And, never grow old!

Even Hope and Gracen got in on the fun.
 So it just goes to show you, there are still honest people in this world.  I happen to be married to one.  Mr. Berry offered Charlie something for his trouble, but my southern gentleman shook his head and said, "No, thank you, Mr. Berry.  Meeting you was thanks enough." 

And with that, Mr. Bob Berry climbed onto his big blue Harley and started it up with a roar.  Charlie had mapped out a nice route for his return ride home to Houston.  He turned around and gave a big smile and a wave and was off like the wind.  Safe travels, Mr. Berry!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dancing Around the Subject

It happened. I found myself at a real crossroads. One morning after walking with a friend, I thought with complete and utter dread about a meeting I had planned to attend. That’s not like me. I thought more about the meeting and asked my friend if she was attending. When she told me, “No, I never attend those meetings,” I was shocked. I sort of thought it was mommy mandatory. As silly as it sounds, I didn’t know I had an option.

I began to assess the situation. I didn’t want to volunteer to be in charge of anything. If I didn’t go to this meeting, I couldn’t be asked to be in charge of anything or feel compelled to raise may hand to volunteer again, as I had done so many times before. I was starting to get the picture and found myself searching for a way to give myself permission not to go.

I thought about my calendar. To attend this meeting, I would have to miss my tap class. I clearly cannot be two places at once. I had just started back with my tapping and had recently met a number of new and wonderful ladies tapping and laughing and having a grand time. My heart and my feet longed for the tap class.

Was I just being selfish? Is it okay to do something I wanted to do instead of something I felt obligated to do? This was unchartered territory for me.

I began to reflect and those words I had heard so many times before came flooding through my mind. “You are a selfish girl! The world doesn’t revolve around you.” I felt myself let out an audible sigh. Maybe it was selfish to do something that made me feel alive and exhilarated instead of sitting in a meeting and hearing the same tried and true message, albeit important. It was certainly more noble and selfless to give my time to an organization dedicated to children, but I just didn’t have it in me.

Instantly 10 imaginary hoops appeared before my eyes and I envisioned myself jumping through hoop after hoop. Over and over again, I was reaching and stretching and doing and then, all of a sudden, I couldn’t even remember what I was working toward. I was completely burned out. I couldn’t raise my hand for one more thing. I was officially done.

Feeling like much less of a person than a few minutes earlier, I tried to validate my belief that I am NOT a selfish person. I am a person who love, love, loves children. I adore seniors. I appreciate their lined faces, their stories, their lessons to share. I think back to that little bunny that just hopped across the bike path during my walk and smile. I even love the little woodland creatures. And just like that, it hit me.

I am a middle-aged
Disney Princess

The visual made me laugh out loud. I could just see myself in some fabulous ball gown, hair in tendrils flowing down my back. A little bird perched upon my finger as I break out into song and dance. I was laughing, and it felt great! I laughed right past the guilt, obligation and sense of duty. I gave myself permission to be ME again, whoever that girl is today. I’m sort of still looking for her.

It’s easy to lose yourself in the things that you do. It’s extremely hard for me to tell someone, “No, I can’t help.” As much as I’ve been told how selfish I am, it’s really not in my nature not to help. I’m grateful to all those friends (Amy, Cheryl, Charlie, Martha, Sherry, Kendra, etc.) who have reassured me that I haven’t a selfish bone in my body. 

For me, this “picking and choosing” where and what I do has been liberating. No longer am I weighed down and burdened. I’m finding time to enjoy the little things. I can notice them now. I SEE them. I don’t want to ever go back to the over-committed, consumed, over-achiever, “what am I trying to prove?” person that I once was. What I want, is to use my gifts where they can help the most. Spreading myself too thin didn’t help anyone. I’m living and laughing and dancing every chance I get. Won’t you join me?