June 28, 2011

the lady I met at the park today

I love people.  So varied, with so many stories to tell.  Especially, I suppose it goes without saying, older people (more years, hence, more stories to tell).

Today, my mom drove down to my house to watch my children while I ran some errands and took some much-needed time off my job (but you other mommies know all about that).  In the morning I took Nice, my youngest daughter, to a great bulk-foods store that's out of our usual path, so that I haven't gone but once since Lil' Snip's birth a year ago.  We had a lovely time, the highlight for Nice being the dried pineapple ring she got to eat on the way home, I think.

In the afternoon, I free-styled.

First I went to the discount grocery in search of dark chocolate (success!  Newman's Own organic espresso dark chocolate!!) and then hit the library to pick up the books they regularly import from other libraries for insatiable, grateful me.

[plug:  I LOVE the library!!  all the books a person could want, free for the borrowing, nice people with whom to chat and swap book recommendations, and air conditioned comfort for temporarily escaping the responsibilities of home life.]

Then I was off in search of a restful place to read and daydream (people-watching optional).

The park was loaded with large children on the loose for the summer and rather lacked the serenity I sought.  I drove on.

I remembered a smaller park a friend had showed me, hidden in the center of a residential area, and began threading my way up and down streets and alleys till I found it.  There were two other parties there - a mom with two young daughters in matching dresses, and an anonymous driver napping in an SUV.

I parked and found a bench in partial shade.  When my legs fell asleep, I moved to the grassy hillside, and read till it was almost time to go home.  On my way out, I noticed an older lady weeding one of the flowerbeds and stopped to express my appreciation of the park's well-kept appearance.

As we chatted, she wondered if she had heard me laugh over my book, and what I was reading.  We traded favorite authors-of-the-moment (Alexander McCall Smith and Richard Paul Evans), and talked about the best spots to plant hydrangea (partial shade, wettish soil) and why our rosebushes' blooms looked "crippled" this year (too much rain?).

She recommended the parks' summer concerts to me and took me to her house across the way to give me her program.  I admired the green glass bottles on the windowsill (I collect blue).  We chatted our way back to the park and she said she'd look for me at the next concert.

It is so easy to find new friends.  It takes so little effort - a smile and a compliment - and yields such satisfying results.  Behind every unknown face is a story waiting to be told, similarities waiting to be unearthed.

I want to remember to ask, more often.

1 comment:

  1. I wholeheartedly support your freestyling at the park with a book while the babysitter sits. This sounds so much more satisfying than shopping errands. I must remember this idea.


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