Hello Stranger

You sat in the booth in front of me last night. I was early, my friend was running late. I had had a less than stellar day at work. Ok, I had a really bad day at work. Your back was to me. Your hair reminded me of a friend whom I have lost touch with due to lives coming to forks in the road. Your top reminded me of my maternal grandmother, it looked handmade down to the tiny zipper in the back (and as we all know, zippers are  PITA to get placed in flat in any sewing project).

She was a very independent woman, my grandmother. So creative… made amazing quilts from scraps of clothes that she would find in second hand stores. Some of her projects were bold colors, other simple known patterns (there was one amazing one … flocks of geese squares) She crocheted and made most, if not all of her own clothes. Each fall, she would make us new mittens for the winter. She was a first class hoarder… way before it was TV show popular. Her craft supply room (that oozed out into other rooms) had bags and bags of Pringle cans and those Legg Eggs that nylons use to come in… and fabric… oh my, the amount of fabric in her house.

Her husband died when she was 62, she sold the family home as she never learned to drive and moved to town (with all her fabric and other craft supplies of course). He died in 1971, pre ERISA, which meant even as a life long worker for a company with a retirement plan, there was no spousal death benefit. In 1974, more regulation came into the pension world to fix that problem. But she thrived and grew and embraced her new life. She died 26 years after he did and was always a solid, quiet, creative person in my corner.gmaSo Stranger in the booth in front of me, I grabbed our mutual waitress and I paid for your dinner. When the waitress brought you a box, for what will probably be your lunch today, she told you the bill had been paid, smiled and said “you know, pay it forward”. You asked three times if she was sure and she patted your shoulder and said, yes.

You got up and walked out with your box of leftovers and as you almost got to the door you glanced around the room to see if you could see anyone watching you or get a hint about who did it. And then you smiled and quietly said “thank you” to the whole room. My grandma would have done that too. Thank You Stranger, for giving me the opportunity to change how my day was going and some wonderful walks down memory lane while I waited.

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