This hasn’t been a great week for me. It started off with a disappointment on Friday and never managed to resume it’s pace. I’m not sensitive and I’m not quite insensitive. I’m just realistic. My mother believed she was “the eternal optimist”. There is a difference. I see the best in people and expect good things. I do not expect manna from heaven in exchange for positive thinking. I believe in being optimistic. I believe in looking for the best in people and that every cloud has a silver lining and I believe that what comes around goes around. I will go the extra mile for a stranger and it’s no coincidence that someone is always going the extra mile for me. I’m lucky. I believe that the harder you work, the luckier you get, true, but I am also just plain lucky. When I was younger I remember being called “Lucky” by friends. I still get called “Lucky.” You know those lists in the newspaper that advertise “we’ve found money in your name!” My name has been on that list not once, but twice.
Today I had a friend at my house. He is a friend I met while working on a community project. I joined this group initially because I thought that my father, in his retirement, would embrace the idea of building homes within our community for families in need. I was wrong. His response was, “I don’t work for free.” I didn’t know what to say to this. He had build plenty of “free” homes for people with loads of money that simply decided they didn’t want to pay for them. I can tell you that not a single person involved in this home building project worked for free. Every single one of us was paid. We were paid in life experience and practical experience, we made new friends, we became part of the community, we provided a family with a home. Don’t get me wrong, we had our ups and downs, but every single one of us walked away a winner so it made my heart ache to see my own dad, who I always knew to be so generous, miss out.
Tonight I got my father into the shower, hauled out his laundry, took out his trash and just finished making up his freshly laundered bed, complete with a mattress rotation when my little girl came in the room. She was wearing her feetie pajamas, memo pad and pen in hand, and was looking for an audience on which to practice her joke telling. Papa was in his recliner catching his breath from his bath so she climbed into his lap to share her jokes with him. He taught her how to spell his name, the French way, not to be confused with how the Americans spell it, and then she taught him how to spell mine. I stood in the doorway and I remembered being about her age, wearing my feeties, sitting on my father’s lap asking to read my favorite book to him. In my mind I could see the photograph my mother had taken of this same scene just about thirty years ago and I couldn’t help but think just how lucky I am.