Thursday, December 16, 2010
It's the Little Things...
And she told me this story:
"Oh Honey! You know, I am just dying to tell somebody what happened to me just now!"
That sounded interesting. "What happened?"
"Well, when I walked in the door over there," she said, gesturing to the front doors, "a little black girl just came up to me out of nowhere it seemed like, and she just threw her arms around me and hugged me!" She looked around as if she were still searching for her.
"That is so sweet!" I said, to which she replied, “Yes, and do you know, I was over there just a minute ago at the salad bar and she came up to me again and hugged me, and she looked up at me and said, ‘I looove you.’ And I don't know where she went," looking around, "but isn't that just the sweetest thing?!" Her eyes were wide and smiling.
I nodded wide-eyed too, smiling and saying, "Wow--you must have needed somebody to hug you and tell you they loved you today."
Her face clouded over a bit and she said, "You know honey, I think I did. My husband Lester has been gone seven years now and I just miss him something terrible."
Oh, now I knew. I nodded saying, "I know you do. And I know that this time of year can be really hard."
"Yes. It sure is. Sometimes people just don't know how it can be."
She started telling me all about Lester, how he was a fireman, how he grew up in Fulton Hill, just right over there, you know...do you know where Fulton Hill is? I did know where Fulton Hill is.
I said, "Did ya'll grow up together?"
Then she said, "Oh, no, Honey. I'm from a small little town in Southwest Virginia you never heard of."
And of course, my eyes got even bigger and I immediately said, "Where are you from?"
And she said back to me, "Oh, I'm from a tiny little town called Coeburn..."
Then I think my eyes probably bout popped out of my head. "No way!" I said--and here she looked at me like she thought maybe I might be crazy and I said, "I'm from Coeburn!"
Now she looked surprised. "No.....Really?"
"Yes!" I said. "How weird is that?!"
And she continued to talk. She told me she was from Caney Ridge, did I know where Caney Ridge was..yes, I know where Caney Ridge is...and where did my people live, yes she knew Bond Town, but she didn't know my grandmother Virginia Nixon...or any of the Helberts.
"And I can't believe I don't cause I bet we're probably cousins or somethin'. I was originally a Dotson..."
She said that she had always wanted to be a nurse but her daddy told her she could never do that because she was a woman and what women did was raise children and cook and keep the house.
"But you know honey, my grandmother told me that all I needed to do was to wait till I was 18 and then he couldn't stop me from doing anything I wanted to do. So on my 18th birthday I moved to Kentucky and went to nursing school there. Then I came to Richmond to work and I met my Lester here."
She stopped and smiled for a minute, remebering him.
She patted my arm. "I sure am glad we got to talk today."
"Me too," I said.
"You know," she said, "I wonder if Lester mighta sent that little girl to come and hug me?"
I smiled and said, "I believe he may have."
"You believe in stuff like that?"
"Yes, I do."
And we hugged and I checked out my groceries and my salad. It was a magical experience. I looked back and saw her talking with a fire fighter fixing a salad at the salad bar.
Maybe she touched more than one person with her story that day.