The Gift of Everyone’s Story

When my Dad was a boy he was rather introverted.  He much preferred to spend time with his dog and his duck.

Yes a duck.

My grandmother claimed this duck produced the tastiest eggs ever.  Never had a duck egg so guess I will take her word for it.

In any case my father was rather shy which would not do for my very extroverted and social grandfather. He began calling my father the big Indian Chief to boost his confidence.    As these things go it was shortened to Chief. It became my Dads’ name, except for school and work. Actually I thought Chief was my Dads’ name for most of my childhood until someone called him Lee.

He outgrew his shyness and became a man who was quite social and could start a conversation with anyone.

Dad taught me with his actions that everyone has a story to tell and with just a few words, one can be delighted in meeting and hearing from the most interesting people.

It is an amazing gift that continues to serve and delight me.

The other day I was out walking with my husband on an unusually crisp  evening. Our electricity was out after a brief but mighty thunderstorm so we went for a walk. Paul saw a guy in his driveway with a new boat ( squirrel) and starting talking to him.  I would rather watch paint dry than talk about boats but I waited patiently when an older woman walking at a brisk pace waved and I asked if her power was out as well.

We started talking about the power outage and  laughed about it, thankful it wasn’t hot and humid.  I found out that the power outage did not prompt her walk but she did it everyday while talking on the phone to her sister in West Virginia.   She lives with her son and his family, after deciding at age 80, she needed support more than her independence.

Then I asked if she was widowed and the conversation got interesting.

Without going into to much detail she casually mentioned her husband  left her long ago when her five sons were still quite young.  She managed to raise them, go to school, find a good job and have a productive life.  She herself was one of six siblings.  I listened intently barely managing to keep my jaw from dropping to the ground.

The most remarkable thing was her attitude.  She had no bitterness, angst or anger.  Her cheerfulness and positive attitude poured out of her.  She admitted it was hard but doable.  All five sons are thriving and it was evident she was as well.

We both could have waved as she passed and not engaged in a conversation.  So glad we didn’t.

We have the ability to connect in so many ways these days via technology but I will take a good in person conversation over any of that anytime.

So many people have stories to tell if we are just willing to slow down,  engage in a little small talk and listen.

It’s like a treasure chest that is just dying to be opened.

It doesn’t always open but when the connection is magic.

Go find some magic, a connection…it’s always worth a tri 🙂  Jennifer

P. S.  Thanks Dad

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