Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Beautiful Smile

I often see an old man walking up and down Main Street in our town... mainly in the mornings, bundled up in his coat, head down, umbrella in hand ....just walking....sometimes with a small grocery bag in hand, sometimes without.  All sorts of questions flood my mind: Does he have enough food to get him through the day? Does he have any family? Why is he alone? Is he alone by his own choosing? Is he alone due to circumstance and hardships in his life? Is he outcast from society due to something horrible he had done in his past?

Then another thought pops into my head: he reminds me of my grandfather.

My grandfather was a loner of sorts...mostly by his own choosing, the rest from circumstance and hardships in life. He was also a proud man...never wanting to take anything from anyone...even family. Still...we went to visit him often and brought groceries over even though we had to force him to take them. He lived in a very bad part of of the worst you could live in. I remember as a child and teenager, being very nervous (and sometimes even scared) of the area he lived in and never strayed too far from the front porch. Even though he acted as if he didn't really want us to come visit or bring over groceries, I know he enjoyed it. I always saw tears in his eyes when it was time for us to go no matter how hard he tried to hide them... His face and hands weathered from life, but beautiful eyes of blue that glistened with held back tears and a mostly toothless smile that would light up the room, and goofy non-sense jokes that would make his grandkids laugh.

Was this man like my grandfather?

We got a chance to meet that old man today. He was setting outside of the grocery store...resting from his walking I guess. The kids and I passed by, smiled, and asked him how he was doing. Perfect, he said...perfect. Then he smiled, a big, mostly toothless smile that shone from ear to ear brightening the dreary outdoors.  He was like my granfather...worn and old clothing, weathered face and hands, a mostly toothless smile, and eyes that cried out silently for someone to notice him. 

I got the impression that he had a lot of trouble hearing and past the 'how are you part', I don't think he really undertstood what I was saying. So before leaving the grocery store, the kids and I picked up a Thanksgiving card titled 'To Someone Special'. On the way out, we all signed it and I wrote him a little note about his beautiful smile and of how he reminded me of my grandfather. On the outside of the envelope, I wrote 'To Someone Special'.

 The kids walked up to him, gave him the card, and his smile grew even larger. He  read the front of the envelope then looked at me as if he wanted to say something, but refrained. We each smiled and I waved and told him to have a great day. He tucked the card into his pocket and we all went our separate ways.

I hope he reads the card and knows how much his smile has brightened my day and how much it reminded me of my grandfather.

My Grandpa R and J

1 comment:

  1. You. are. amazing. Do you realize that you and your kids were just the light of Jesus in that man's life?! You're doing such a great job of training their hearts, Pauline . . . and maybe sorta kinda mine, too! :)


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