At least for today, spring has sprung in the Pacific Northwest. What a beauty!
Along with most everyone else in town, I spent a good chunk of the day outside. I got some vegetables planted and played with worms. When I was ready to quit, I suggested to Louise that we take a walk to the library and promised her an ice cream cone at Baskin Robbins on the way back.
We just made it to the library before they closed. I picked up the book I had on hold: The Investor’s Manifesto: Preparing for Prosperity, Armageddon and Everything in Between. I can’t remember where I heard about this book, but the part about preparing for Armageddon sounds right up my alley.
Not surprisingly, the ice cream shop was hopping. I noticed a man come in with a young woman who appeared to be his daughter. They were deep in conversation. Louise and I made our selections then went outside with our cones.
As I said in my last post, I’m partial to fathers and daughters. We were sitting outside and I noticed the man and girl sitting on a wall across the parking lot, talking. Louise saw me watching them. “I’ll hold your book,” she said.
I walked over to the pair of them and heard the girl explaining something about a scholarship. “No, they keep the money. That’s how it works.” They were very engrossed in each other and didn’t seem to notice me. Finally there was a break in the conversation and I got closer.
“Beautiful day, isn’t it?” I asked. The girl smiled at me. “Can I talk to you for a minute?” I continued. “What do you want?” asked the man, looking somewhere past my ear. “We don’t have time to talk. We need to be somewhere.”
“You don’t look like you’re in a hurry,” I said, and it came out a bit more argumentative than intended. “Well, we are,” he responded with a scowl. “We have to be somewhere at 5:15 and it’s already 5:15. You’ve got ten seconds.”
“I know it seems kind of weird,” I said. “But I have a gift I’d like to give you.” The man snuck a look at me, a little softness around his eyes. “Why?” he asked. “It’s in honor of my mother. And a gift she left to me when she died.” He leaned into the girl. “Don’t worry!” he snorted. “I won’t leave you one!”
I asked the girl if he was always like this and she smiled and said he was. “It’s kind of a pay-it-forward thing,” I explained. She nodded. The man was looking at me now and smiling, too. I handed him the $100 bill and he held it out with both hands, looking at it for quite a while.
“Wow,” he said. “You don’t expect someone to come up to you and give you a hundred dollar bill! Usually people want to get something from you, not give you something! Thank you very much.” He looked at his daughter. “Do I have to split this with you?” “Yes!” she said, with a laugh.
We introduced ourselves and the girl, Alison, told me she’s been accepted to Rice University, where she plans to study Chemical Engineering. The Dad said college is expensive but that they would figure it out. Alison wants to study drug development. She struck me as a particularly self-possessed and intelligent young woman.
They said they were headed to choir practice and we said goodbye. Ron thanked me again and shook my hand. I watched them get into their car, and could see them still talking and laughing.
Talking and laughing and eating ice cream. What a great way to spend a beautiful Sunday.
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