Finding Joy

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Caught in the act of smiling and enjoying seeing the young black man with a heavy beard and wearing a hoodie carefully looking at a bouquet of tulips in each hand, one white with delicate touches of purple and the other red with yellow accents, he must have felt my attention because after a moment he looked directly at me as I was approaching to pass by.  I just couldn’t help enjoying the fact that he was so carefully trying to decide which flowers would please a certain lady the most.  As I got closer he asked which one I thought she might prefer.  I said they were both beautiful and if he gave them to her with love, she would be happy.  With a few more seconds we both thought the white with purple ones were more delicate and so he made his selection and I moved down the aisle past pretzels and chips.  If only, I thought, she could see the care he put into making the choice, she would appreciate them even more.  I felt lucky to have witnessed the moment.

So often it seems I am blessed to capture a lovely picture or event which only has a brief life, but to me seems so special.  Perhaps it is because my own life pace has slowed down from the break neck work a day world I was racing through during the years of rearing my children.  At least that seems to be my present day perspective.

A few weeks ago when the new stove and dishwasher I finally decided to buy arrived, the young man who both hauled out the dead or near dead appliances and brought in and installed the new ones, had gone to the basement to reset the circuit breaker.  When he got back up the stairs he mentioned that he really liked the three foot square painting that Mika had done when we were still in Parma.  It was just a few feet from the circuit breaker box on the wall, where it has been all these years.  When she was here almost six years ago she asked me if I wanted her to finish the painting which is a kind of surrealist view of Humpty Dumpty falling backwards with figures, horses and knights around him.  I didn’t much care, but here was a young man quite excited about that canvas.

Happily I told him my daughter painted it and that I would e-mail her and tell her he liked it.  I then said I would just give it to him myself and he said oh no, he couldn’t just take it, she might want something for it.  So with some level of excitement I e-mailed her.  A week later when there was still no response, I was moved to e-mail my children’s father and ask if he’d heard from her in the last month and he responded that he had and she sounded fine.  Then he asked if I had some concern, so I did explain and thanked him for responding.

Another week went by before she got back to me, with the same pleased feeling that I had.  So I called the phone number he had given me and left the message that she was happy to have the painting hanging on a wall instead of in my basement.

When he got back to me he was really happy (all this time I had been thinking what a fine son-in-law he would make, just living down the main street from me a little way and so capable of so many things!)

Arriving at my door with a big cloth to wrap the painting in he let me take a photo of him smiling with the painting before he carefully covered the artwork and gave me the agreed upon amount of money which I then wrote a check for and mailed to her, and after placing the painting in the back of his truck, he pulled a strap over each end and I was relieved that he secured it so well since the wind had been quite strong all day.  As he drove away I was very content, imagining him building a frame for it and hanging it on his front room wall to proudly display when his friends and family would come to visit him.

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