December 10, 2012

for just in case you get nervous

Today I went to see a guy I know. He's an older guy, and something you should know about him is he's a giver. He loves to give people things. He doesn't have a lot, not much at all - but what he has, he gives. I've seen him give away anything from wristwatches to cigarettes to an entire platter of chicken, once. One thing he particularly likes to try to give me is VHS tapes. He's got a plethora, apparently, and I can't tell you the number of times he's tried to convince me to go buy a VCR so that he can give me videos. He'd very much like to be my own personal Blockbuster. Videos for days.

Today I did something for him, something that he could not do for himself, and afterwards he wanted to thank me. After going through the whole VCR debate once more for good measure, he hoisted himself up from where he was perched on his walker and went to a drawer under the the shelf where the infamous videos are haphazardly stored. From the drawer he pulled out a small plastic bag of what I know to be his favorite candy, and from that he drew a generous handful and motioned for me to hold out my hands. Here, he said. I resisted, said no thanks, said I'd rather he keep them, tried all my usual refusal tricks, but he would not take no for an answer, not this time. After some back-and-forth about how no, I was not refusing because I thought he was trying to poison me, he said:  just put 'em in your pocket. For just in case you get nervous. What that even means, I'm not sure. I suppose there'd be no way of knowing. Either way, what choice did I have?

I filled my pocket with Root Beer Barrels.
For just in case I get nervous.

I don't have a really significant reason for telling this story, other than I wanted to tell it - it was just one of those nice moments we get to enjoy sometimes, if we're paying close enough attention. I was presented with a sacrificial kind of generosity, one of the rarer kinds, and one I wouldn't have expected to experience in the form of a Root Beer Barrel, if we're being honest. It was only a handful of candy, yes, but it was his handful of candy. It was all he had to give, and he was so, so happy to have given it. I think that's kind of a beautiful thing.

Maybe it sounds like a strange thing to take note of, and maybe it is, a little. All I know is, today was a good day, and whether I wanted them or not, I've got a pocket full of Root Beer Barrels to prove it. And for whatever reason, I just think that's great.

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