On a recent evening commute, a woman boarded the bus and rushed towards me. Rather than sit, she seemed to fall into the empty seat beside mine, a mound of heavy coat, thick scarf, and several bags. She wedged a bag between her feet and dug through her purse producing a pen and ragged notepad. Flipping frantically through its frayed pages, she peered at me over glasses perched on the tip of her nose.
“I have to make a list of things I’m thankful for.” she said with irritation.
I didn’t ask why, but glanced at her notepad. She was grateful for some important things, with “health” and “job” written so far on her list. She saw me looking.
“I need ideas. What are you thankful for?” She sounded aggravated.
I thought back to when my daughter was small. I told the woman how my daughter’s eyes lit up when we played along a creek in the woods out back. She’d jump with excitement at every rabbit we saw, frog we found, or log we turned over to inspect. As she grew older she learned to identify birds, ask questions about trees, and acquire an honest love of nature. Now as a college freshman down in Florida she sends pictures of giant leaves on plants around campus, marvels at the occasional alligator encounter, and texts pictures of beautiful sunsets over the water. Time has seen that tiny girl grow into an intelligent, inquisitive, beautiful young lady who cares about all that goes on in the world. For those qualities and so many more, I just love her. I was smiling to myself when I realized the woman beside me was staring. I turned to look at her.
“I asked what you are thankful for.” She pursed her lips. “I don’t think you were listening.”
I thought back to when my son was small. I told the woman beside me how he and I pretended to be characters from his favorite cartoons. We used funny accents, acted silly, and laughed. As he grew older he became quite the comedian and learned the humor in gentle sarcasm while sensing naturally what others found funny. Now as a senior in high school he continues to charm. He’s quite the singer and having learned the guitar is a one-man show playing and singing his originals. Time has seen that little boy grow into a sensitive, talented, handsome young man who respects the feelings of others. For those qualities and so many more, I just love him. I was smiling to myself when I realized the woman beside me was staring again. I turned to look at her.
“I asked what you are thankful for.” Her shallow smile seemed condescending. “I don’t think you were listening.”
I went on to tell her that both of my children laugh because I still think of them as seven and eight. I’ve watched them grow into fine young adults who are kind, helpful to others, and appreciate family and friends. They tackle responsibilities with a smile and I’m happy to see what they’ve become and excited to see where they’ll go. I look at them and can’t imagine who could ask for more.
The bus lurched to a stop and the woman beside me gathered her things. Cramming the worn notepad into her purse she shook her head disapprovingly when she stood.
“I asked what you are thankful for.” She hurried away.
“I don’t think you were listening.” I said.
Stuart M. Perkins
If you’d like to see and hear my “little boy” sing and work some magic on his guitar, PLEASE check out the link below? (He’d be thrilled to have a follow!) https://vine.co/u/985473451186155520