1.A Grocery Store Adventure: We're just back from the store, where, out in the parking lot with our purchases, I dropped a two-liter bottle of pop on the ground. PSSSSSSHHHHHHHHH! Through a pin-hole crack in the bottom, the pop sprayed out like a fire hose on Joyce and me. Soaked the left leg of my jeans. I was laughing so hard I couldn't really get out of the way too quickly, and all I could think was Awesome!
2. Every now and then I see something that gives me hope--a feeling in ever shorter supply as one ages. As some of you know, I've been spending an hour or so each morning (and each afternoon) in recent months at Open Door Coffee Co. here in Hudson. It's a new shop in an old space, and it's only about a quarter-mile from our house, so I walk over there, twice a day, walking about a mile in the process. (See, I can add fractions!)
In the morning I often see groups of students from Western Reserve Academy studying and preparing for the day. That gives me hope. And since I spoke up at the school last fall, a number of them have been very friendly with me, and I've enjoyed talking again with young people, one of the things I've missed most profoundly in retirement.
But here's what I saw the other day. On Friday, the Hudson Public Schools were closed (snow and cold), and when I got down there for my "afternoon shift," there were some groups of Hudson High kids sitting around at the tables--doing homework, talking about school, etc. I sat in one of the easy chairs in a corner, only about a yard or so away from a table occupied the three young women. I was reading and taking notes--but could not avoid hearing their talk about math and English (one was working on an essay) and school in general.
Then they noticed, outside, that a man was washing the windows. It was brutally cold on Friday (thus, the cancelled classes), and they started talking about how tough a job that was/is, washing windows in the winter. Then he came inside to wash the inside of the glass door at the entrance. The young women got up, walked over to him and told him they wanted to buy him a drink. I think he was a little stunned at first (A drink?!?), but they quickly explained they'd get him whatever he wanted--coffee, hot chocolate. He said he'd like the latter. The young women walked over to the counter with him, and waited there, talking with him, until his order came, and he left.
As they were returning to their table, I told them that was one of the kindest acts I'd witnessed in a long, long time. They smiled--but didn't want any special praise for it. They'd done it, I think, to be kind--not to be noticed.
The story is full of difficulties and complications. We see the action from both sides of the border--we have sympathy for just about everyone.
There are some true horrors, true--deceptions, a rape, betrayals of various sorts. Human weakness and cruelty in many guises.
4. As a book reviewer I often have to supply to various outlets a list of what I think are the "best books of the year." I hate doing this, mostly because I read only a tiny fraction of the titles released this year. Also, I'm always troubled by this consideration: Best in what way? Sometimes I think a book is great because it's introduced me to a world I knew nothing about--but someone already familiar with that world might only yawn. Sometimes I am personally moved by a story--there's some sort of direct connection to my own experiences. Someone else might yawn,
Get the picture?
Don't like to do it--but I know I have to. Newspapers and magazines love such end-of-the-year lists.