Early on, I told you I’d introduce you some people I’ve known. So, with no further ado, here’s Carolyn! She was one of those rare birds who supplied her friends with endless joy and laughter….usually at her own expense. One of her many wonderful qualities was that she truly lived “in the moment.”
We had known each other well during our years in Ohio. Later in life, she moved to the Villages in Florida. Shortly after that move her husband of many years passed away. She mourned deeply but maintained her joy in life.
This particular “event” occurred several months after his death.
She’d just returned from a cruise with friends, was tired, had not unpacked a single thing and was getting ready for bed. The phone rang; a friend who lived nearby asked her if she’d like to go to a movie. Of course, she’d love that, she said. She simply didn’t know how to say no if it involved being with friends.
There was one caveat, however. She wanted to drive her own car so she could get a good parking spot. She was tired and didn’t want to have to walk too far to the movie theater.
When the movie let out, her friends went on their way. Carolyn went to get her own car. Except she couldn’t find it. Now it was dark and she couldn’t remember just exactly where she’d parked anyway. (That could happen to her in broad daylight, too.)
Two young men were sitting on the curb. One said; “Lady, are you looking for a silver SUV?” She allowed as how she was indeed doing just that. They told her that the sheriff had towed it away.
Why, she asked, would they tow away a perfectly good car that belongs to an old lady?
They had a simple answer. “Because, Lady, you parked in the intersection.”
Now, I venture to say that most of us would panic. How will I get home? When can I get my car back, and how? How much will it cost? Who do I call? Will I get a ticket? For parking in an intersection? Will my insurance go up?
Not Carolyn. She sat down on the curb with the young men and thanked them profusely for their help. Whatever would she had done if they hadn’t been there to tell her what had happened? She wanted to pay them for their help. They said they couldn’t take her money.
Well, did they have girl friends? Yes, they said, they did. Would they let her pay for a dinner date with their girl friends? No, they couldn’t do that either.
Then could she at least have their names and make sure that the Village newspaper knew of their good deeds? (She was going to find a way to thank them if it took all night.)
They agreed that would be fine. At last, things were looking good. She might get some sleep after all.
Then one made a terrible mistake.
He lit up a cigarette.
Now, remember, she’s tired, has no car, no idea how to get home or how to retrieve her car, her phone is still in an unpacked suitcase, her friends have gone home, but now something much more important has happened. One of her new friends is smoking! And at such a young age.
I fear the young man got a long and impassioned lecture on the evils of cigarettes, the damage to his lungs, the potential for a shortened life, money spent poorly on cigarettes, yellowed teeth and every other smoking bad you can imagine.
I don’t really know when she got home, or how. At that point, the one and only thing on her mind was to get this nice young man on the path to a long and healthy life.
Car?? What car?? People always came first for her. New friends or old. Didn’t matter. She was there, in the moment, and she had work to do. Everything else would eventually, and always did, fall into place.
Sadly, Carolyn, has since died. We all, who knew her, miss her like crazy.