Today was filled with a lot of good moments despite the fact that two out of three kids are sick and I didn't get to bed until 2am last night (or this morning, as the case may be). Nonetheless, good things happened that weren't all that big, but they were the type of moments that fill your soul. Moments of blessing.
The first part of the story began on Wednesday, really. We had just come home from a day out and two kids were riding by on a bike on their way to the P.A.L. Center. We live directly across the street from the center, so we have kids coming and going all day long throughout the summer. There's actually a Memorial Park with a real tank and other war memorabilia between the center and our street, but it's as close to across the street as you can get.
One of them stopped and asked if he could hide his bike in and behind our evergreen. Now, we find A LOT of bikes hidden in our trees and shrubs and for a long time thought that people were stealing them and putting them back there. Turns out that the P.A.L. Center kids have been trying to hide them so that they DON'T get stolen. You would think that if you leave your bike at the POLICE Athletic League Center that it would be relatively safe. Apparently, that is not the case.
So, I told him to go ahead and hide the bike but to come and see me the next day and I'd have a lock for him for the bike. I actually got 4 locks, one for him that I kept back and 3 extras that we dropped off at the center in case others needed them. Yesterday came and went and no one stopped by. Well, around dinner time tonight the front door bell rang and there he was standing on my front steps looking completely unsure. Three of his friends were on their bikes on the sidewalk looking equally as nervous.
But I was thrilled to see him and greeted him with an excited, "I have something for you!" The look on his face, on the faces of his friends, was priceless. He thanked me and walked down the steps in shock that I had actually gotten him a bike lock. The others just stared and he said, "Don't worry, we can use this to lock up all of our bikes."
Which made me just stare. And blurt out, "Come back tomorrow. I'll have locks for all of you."
Their wide eyes and slightly disbelieving stares flipped my heart. "You're a real nice lady," one of them said softly. It doesn't matter to them that their bikes are old and beat up with cushioning coming out of the seats....they're their bikes and the only way they've been able to hang on to them is to hide them in my trees and shrubs. And that's incredibly sad.
So, Aidan and I went out and bought 6 new bike locks and I have a feeling they'll be back tomorrow. And I wouldn't be surprised if others came along.
After the kids were in bed I headed over to see Chester at the nursing home. He and Frances were the residents I adopted without really telling them. I promised him last week that I'd come by today, but with two sick kids I couldn't go until Dan got home.
He greeted me with a, "Well, hello stranger!" and a smile that brightened my heart. We talked for an hour and a half, and for a man who doesn't like to talk much, that was A LOT for him! I got him talking about his wife, Annie, and his mom and sister. He told me about being drafted and how he was worried about his mom since he was the sole caretaker of the house after his dad died. He said he tried to get Annie to wait to marry him until after he was out of the service, because he didn't want her to be burdened with caring for him if he was injured or disabled. Annie refused and told him she didn't care, she was going to marry him before he went. Good for Annie, I said. His eyes twinkled and he chuckled with remembering. They got married in August at Mt. Carmel Church in Bridgeport and had a blind accordian player as the reception entertainment. He went on with good, happy memories for a long time.
And when it was time for me to go, I told him I'd be back next Friday morning with the kids and Suzy E Jo donuts. He said I didn't have to, that he knows I'm busy. I said I wanted to, that coming to see him makes me happy, because I love him. Well, his eyes filled up with tears and he waved me away as I kissed his cheek. "Get over it, Chester," I said. "I love you and am going to keep coming to see you." He laughed and said, "I know that even if I said don't come, you'd be here anyway to make me laugh." And I would, he's right.
Because those are the moments that fill my soul to overflowing. Kindness and love and connections....the best things ever.