Thursday, December 22, 2011

Random Act of Kindness

With all the ugliness we see in the news, online and in life, it's heartwarming to actually witness a real life random act of kindness. Does give one hope that there are still some good people in the mix. The young man's random act of kindness will stay with me for a long time.

My husband and I were on our way to the store for grocery shopping. We're excited to have our whole family in on Christmas Eve. We decided to stop by a small diner we enjoy. It's always friendly there. The owners are often working along with their small staff of one or two, depending on the time of day. This evening, one waitress and one cook. It was an hour before closing.

As we sat waiting for our order, at one of the out of the way booths, we noticed a young man exiting from the restroom. He walked slowly, deliberately, with a heavy limp. He sat down at the counter. The waitress and the cook were friendly with the young man. From the exchange, it was apparent that the young man ate at the diner often. In walks an older man, probably in his fifties, who sat down at the counter beside the young man. There were four other men sitting at a booth near the counter area. The younger man and the older man, at the counter, strike up a conversation. It was easy to hear what was said. The older man was engaged in what the younger man said. The young man had slower speech, and seemed to struggle a little, but the older man was very generous. 

The older man explained he was passing through Ohio, to Michigan, to spend Christmas with his eighty-nine year old mother. He said he was from North Carolina and it was a long drive. He was planning to get a room in Columbus (about 90 minutes away) for the night, then head on to Michigan in the morning. By this time the other four men were also involved in the friendly conversation. 

After a while the young man got up to pay his bill. As he was heading out the door, he turned to the older man and told him he hoped he had a safe trip to Michigan. Then he said "Merry Christmas!" and walked out the door. 

The waitress informed the older man that "Jimmy" had just paid for his dinner. It was obvious the older man was stunned. He turned and looked at the door where Jimmy had disappeared. The waitress told him Jimmy was just like that and often left her a bigger tip than he needed to. The other four men all agreed and said Jimmy was even nice before the accident. The older man asked about Jimmy's limp, and his speech, and they acknowledged that Jimmy had been in a bad car accident. The man was still in shock, shaking his head a little in disbelief. I could see he wasn't used to something like that happening to him. As he was leaving, he told the waitress, and the four men, that their town was very friendly and you just don't see that very often these days. He wished all a "Merry Christmas" and presumably headed on his journey north.

Jimmy's random act of kindness touched eight people yesterday evening, those who were present to witness it. I'm sure he had no idea that he touched eight souls with his kindness. Regardless of whether it's Christmas, or not, being present to witness a random act of kindness is God's way of showing the rest of us that there is still good in the world.

Merry Christmas and may the spirit of this season be with you throughout the year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I feel I'm ready for winter this year. I'm at ease that the horses are prepared. My hay building is full, which hasn't happened too often in the past. I'm usually scrambling to get some more hay in before our winter hits hard, which is usually mid-January for us here in Southern Ohio. I like to distinguish Southern Ohio from the rest of Ohio because we're different around here from what is often perceived of Ohioans. Most people have visions of Columbus or Cleveland. My end of Ohio is more of a West Virginia and Northern Kentucky association. Yeah, we're the "hillpeople". When I was growing up I had a cousin who lived in Northern Ohio. She liked to call me a Hillbilly. I didn't really mind so much, I figured I was better off than her anyway. I prefer hills to flat land any day. We tend to refer to anyone who lives above Chillicothe, Ohio as Flatlanders.

Both horses are winterized with fuzzy fur. My big boy, Bo, looks like a bear, in my opinion. His hair has basically grown into a soft teddy bear-like looking fur and I love hugging his neck and petting him when he's in his winter coat. Spirit's coat grows a little different, but still furry, just not as teddy bear-like. I don't do blankets. Never have, probably never will unless there's an illness. I keep my horses as natural as possible. They've never worn shoes since I've had them. They have excellent hooves, so I've been told, by three different farriers and two vets. And they even have, the supposedly dreaded, light colored hooves! Guess I got lucky.

The heater is in the water tank. Sure, I know all the controversy about water heaters but I chose to go that route because I didn't want to be busting ice all the time. At my age, it's all about ease of the job on my part. I think after a while, we earn the right to be a little lazy on some chores, find ways to deal that make them easier for us.

We were able to get sand into the corral area back in October so I'm free from mud this year. That's a relief. The sand has its drawbacks, it gets tracked all over and I have to sweep off the stall mats occasionally. The horses have discovered they enjoy rolling in the sand which can be unsightly when it's wet and sticks all over their coats. I think Hubby appreciates the fact he doesn't have to listen to me gripe about mud this year. No swamp to deal with. I don't have lava rocks pointing up, which happens when the mud freezes, although the water logged sand did freeze after the heavy rains we had four weeks in a row. But after the temps warmed up, the lava rocks were gone. I'm thinking I like the sand better than the mud any day.

Brought out my Carhartt overalls last week when the temps dropped. I do love my Carhartt's! Both the coat and the overalls keep me warm on cold mornings. Of course, I feel like the Michelin Man or a human size marshmallow walking around, but I'm not cold.

Of course, Dear Mother Nature has other plans and this week we're back to temps in the 40's & 50's with rain predicted most of the week. No worries, the worst of our winter usually always shows up by mid-January so the worst is yet to come, but I think I'm ready.

Right now I feel confident that when December 22 rolls around next week I can say Winter, Bring It ON! I hope I don't regret those words but for once, I feel winterized and energized! 

This photo was taken a couple of years ago after a serious ice storm in early February.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Short and sweet...I'm not

I tend to ramble sometimes and that's what I'm doing today.

I've been busy, for once. For a few years now I haven't had to travel to any kind of job for work. Hubby and I are fortunate we can be comfortable with his income alone. Actually, I've not been employed full-time since 2004, when I was a librarian/library branch manager. My last job was working part-time at a horse facility from summer '04 to winter '07. My life plan didn't necessarily include not being gainfully employed, at age fifty,I had planned on becoming an elementary teacher, that was my training back in the '80s. But, as we all know, after dwelling a few years in the adult world, life has a way of moving down different roads and away from our original plan. It's up to us to choose which route is best. I love this little gem: We plan, God laughs. Something like that. I have no regrets.

Anyway, the past weekend saw both Hubby and I on the road and putting down miles. Saturday we headed to a few out of the way places with a little Christmas shopping in mind and a gun show on the way home. Saturday night, our oldest son called asking if Hubby could help him replace a broken brake line on his truck. A deer attempted to cross the road in front of him, typical this time of year, but as Son put on his brakes, the truck kept going. Fortunately Son wasn't hurt. He's not sure about the deer. Besides the brake line, the front grill and headlights were obliterated. Son's truck is a '90somethning Chevy S10 he's trying to keep running until he can afford something else. The incident could have been much worse had the brakes gone out at another time in another place. I believe his guardian  angel was flying with him that evening. So, Sunday was spent at our son's place, about fifty miles northeast of us. Our daughter-in-law fixed a fantastic dinner for us, which was much appreciated though not expected. I enjoyed spending time talking with her. She's a busy lady and I'm so proud of her for many reasons. Though I've known our daughter-in-law since she was a young girl, there's a lot I still don't know about her and enjoyed that she wanted to share her thoughts and ambitions with her mother-in-law on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

By Monday morning, Hubby and I were both tired, unfortunately, he had to go to his job. I do feel guilty about that at times. I remind him, his time will come and I may be the one heading out the door while he gets to do his own thing at home around our little farm. OR, maybe we'll win the lottery and we can both just spend time here at the farm!

Then, yesterday, I took my mom to some stores just to try to get the Christmas feel. I actually detest Christmas shopping in general. Most of my gifts are purchased online. I thought Mom should get out. This is a tough time of year with my dad gone and even though she tries to act like she's OK, I know it's a painful time. Well, that trip was another fifty mile jaunt north. Any time I need to shop for anything, it usually involves a 30-60 minute drive, unless I just want to check out the Dollar Store or Post Office in my little village. I really don't think it's a town though it is listed on the map.

Basically, random thoughts on a dreary, half snow/half rainy day. Not so short and sweet because I guess my mind doesn't run that way. I'm trying to get into the holiday mode, but quite honestly, I'm not that into it. I'm not a Grinch, or Scrooge, but I've found the feeling has to be worked on the older I get. So, back to working on that holiday cheer!