Today was a good day. The treasures acquired at auction yesterday, made it into storage, where I carefully selected some special gifts for my aunts, Mom's two surviving sisters. They will be shipped, tomorrow.
Afterwards, I went to the cemetery to have a beer with my parents and tend to the family's flowers. After about an hour and a half's work, I turned to see a young man with his hand out, offering me a cold beer. Responding to my puzzled look, he said he lived in an apartment adjacent to the cemetery, saw me working and; hearing Led Zeppelin playing on the car radio, thought to walk over and see if I would like a beer.
Sure, why not. We shook hands, introduced ourselves and sat down between my parent's and grandparent's graves. Yes, it was a bit unusual. But, I usually get a good sense of a person within a few moments of meeting them and sensed nothing untoward.
He began the conversation by saying it was his son's birthday and he hadn't seen him in a while. I told him I had some experience with not seeing my children, and inquired further. While his voice didn't quiver, the tear that formed in his eye and the look on his face revealed a sad and heartbroken young man. His words made it clear he longed for his son, four years old, today.
I learned that his ex had a drug problem, something all too common, and eight months ago, she took off with their son to somewhere in West Virginia. Aside of the tear, his eyes were clear and he stood tall and steady. He, himself was not a druggie,
I listened to his story as we drank our beer, then shared mine. His story evoked empathy, within me. I offered encouragement and some fatherly advice, based upon my own experiences.
It takes a great deal of courage for someone to take a chance on talking with a stranger. By the time we shook hands and parted ways a beer and two cigarettes later, the bond of friendship had formed.
Later, my neighbor came to the door. He bore a plate of food, covered in foil. Seeing that I had just eaten, he asked if I would like to keep the plate, (which contained a pork chop, mac and cheese, green beans and mashed potatoes and gravy) and reheat it for dinner, tomorrow. Of course, I graciously accepted this gift from him and his girlfriend and said thank you. I have such good neighbors!
Yes, today was a very good day!