Slice of Life Challenge day 6 #sol18

A Small Glimpse of Humanity

My colleague and I stepped into the subway.  All around us, the chatter of the day’s events at Teacher’s College consumed the space.  Yes, an amazing day.  Entering the train, I immediately looked to my left, spotting two empty orange seats between passengers.  Wow! I thought.  At such a busy time, what are the chances?  Hurriedly, my colleague and I lowered ourselves into the two seats.  Feeling tentatively good– and definitely lucky– I settled in for the short ride to 96th Street where I knew we would transfer.  My colleague joined me in the other seat.  But as a former New Yorker, I continued to study the passengers entering the train car.  I watched as more able bodies crowded onto the train, and, clutching a silver pole, located a square foot of real estate in the bustling car.  I studied each of them.

And then it happened.

An elderly woman entered the fray.  Dressed in a white fleece jacket and leaning on a walker, I watched her eyes scan the crowded car.  No seats.  Suddenly I stood, and reached out my hand to direct her to my seat.

But someone had already beat me to the gesture.  A young man in a black waist-length coat had abruptly risen and politely began ushering her to his former seat.  Carefully and slowly, the woman made her way to the gifted bench spot and sat.  I thought I saw their eyes meet as she nodded brisk appreciation to the stranger, thanking him for this favor.

As I lowered back down, I silently thanked the man, too.  Not because I was able to keep my seat, but for the humanity he exhibited in that moment.  It’s nice to see that once in a while.


Slice of Life Challenge day 5 #sol18

Birthdays are times for reflection…


Birthdays are Times for Reflection

I closed the car door.  Walking toward the house,  I could feel a wave of reflection beginning to churn, like a storm, uncontrollable.  Entering through the front door and stepping into the house, I met my wife coming to greet me.  “What is it?” she asked.  I guess she could tell I had something on my mind.  I paused, not sure how to put words to feelings.

“Have I done all I could have?” I mused aloud.  Although I’m not sure that particular grammatical structure captured my exact sentiments, she knew what I was referring to in the question: My birthday.

Yes, another birthday has found me.

Thinking back through time, I remember birthday number 30.  A surprise party.  I had met the girl of my dreams. Things were progressing well, something I had resigned would never happen. But yet it had.  Great hope. Anticipation for what would come next in life.  The next ten years brought great adventure.  A wedding.  A house.  A move.  A new house.  New friends.  Wonderful friends.  All good. All good. Ten years move past.

And then, somehow another round-number birthday found me.  This time a trip to Costa Rica.  Two beautiful children.  Another move, to New York City this time.  A new job.  Amazing new colleagues.  Then another move.  New job.  One more baby.  All good.  All good.  Except Mom, losing her. Tough. Terrible.

Not speaking of my mom, my wife asked, “Would you have traded any of that?”  Inhaling deeply, I shook my head.


Have I done all I could have?  The question echoed in my thoughts.  Then, Is that even a fair question?  I realized… I’m so grateful for the many blessings, people, experiences, family, knowledge, and opportunity that have graced these past fifty years.

Today is my birthday.  Here’s to another decade of adventure…


Slice of Life Challenge day 4 #sol18

A small moment story about the kindness of a stranger…



A Little Kindness from a Stranger

Check engine light.  Something most of us abhor.  But they do a job, right?  An important job. They inform us when something is awry within a vital material possession: our vehicle.  In my youth, no such technology existed.  In fact, it’s difficult to imagine where a check engine light would  even have been situated in a 1967 Volkswagen Bug.  But modern cars are able to let us know when something is wrong, even when we can’t detect what that something is ourselves.

As the snow began to overtake the rain, I jammed my 2009 Honda Pilot into park.  Wind whipped into my face as I made the reluctant mini-trek into the repair shop, umbrella in hand.  If tamping down anxiety were a skill I could monetize, I’d be on the cover of Fortune Magazine.  But that’s unfortunately the chief effect a future car repair produces in me.

“Can I help you?” came the voice from the buoyant, greasy kid behind the counter.  Approaching him, I provided my information and he located me in the appointment system.  “Okay, we’ll give you a call once we figure out what’s going on with your vehicle,” he assured me.  I thanked him and headed toward the exit.  “Wait a minute, you walking?” he asked.  I responded affirmatively, briefly explaining that I did not live far.  Maybe 15 minutes.  “You wanna ride?” he offered.  I paused. Glancing through the shop windows, I could see today’s Nor’Easter generously sharing plenty of wind and precipitation.  This would be no easy walk, but I had come prepared with my… well, my umbrella.

“I could drive him home.”

To my right, I turned to see from whence this voice originated.  Sitting calmly in a waiting room chair sat a woman.  Adorned in a sand-colored camel hair coat, tightly coiffed blonde hair, the woman was perhaps sixty years old or so.

I had never seen her in my life.

Our eyes met.  “Well, unless you’re an axe murderer?” she quipped, cracking a polite smile.  Chuckling and returning the smile, I explained that no, I was actually a teacher.  Not much of a risk.  “Come on,” she motioned as she stood up, “I’ll drive you.”

Apparently I had not tripped the woman’s check engine light.  Nothing awry here.  And grateful I was for this unexpected kindness from a stranger.