|Proud great-grandpa to my daughter|
I've mentioned before that I try to keep my grandfather's memory alive by frequently incorporating his sayings into my speech, but this weekend I also found myself acting in ways that he would act. Yesterday our family took a Sunday drive to see some fall colour. We wound up at a conservation area where lots of other people had obviously had the same idea. And that's where it all started.
A group of people carrying coolers and picnic supplies walked down the path toward us. Further along, a man who was obviously one of their party, hurried along carrying a crock pot. "What's for lunch?" I sang out. After he recovered from my unexpected and startling question - how many strangers even speak to one another these days? - he laughed and went on.
We hadn't come entirely prepared for our drive - had stopped for lunch along the way, but had no liquid to take on our hike and were soon feeling parched. I asked a returning walker if she had a water bottle to spare as we headed out. She didn't, but offered us an apple juice box, which I accepted with thanks. I'd given to a stranger on the street the day before, so I didn't feel too badly about seeking assistance in staving off our own dehydration.
Later, as we huffed and puffed toward a scenic lookout, I saw a woman approach. She looked pained and strained from the effort of her exertion, but was holding a coffee cup. "Oh, good," I quipped as she drew near, "There's a Timmies at the end." Her expression changed for the better immediately as she laughed in response.
This morning I had to drop my car off at the shop. I was either going to have to ask the mechanic for a drive home, which he's given me before, or hoof it back myself. It was a nippy morning, so I didn't really look forward to walking, especially through the industrial area. A woman and her husband were dropping their car off at the same time, so I asked if they'd mind my hitching a ride partway back with them. I could easily walk the rest of the way from the main intersection. No problem, they said. I never do that, but they looked like nice people, so I took the chance. We had an enjoyable conversation en route and they ended up driving me all the way home.
That's the kind of thing my grandfather would do all the time - engage people, speak to random strangers, make them laugh, ask for and offer help. And in doing it myself, I can see the benefits - not just for others, but for oneself. It's fun, it often doesn't cost any money, and everyone feels better in the end. In lieu of having my grandfather here, I'm glad to see that he hasn't entirely "left the building." In fact, the people you love are never gone as long as you remember them and live their best qualities. So I am happy to be, in some small way, my own grandpa.