9/1/11 Day 1: Little Brothers Birthday Visit tonight. The residents at Booth Home were really gracious.
9/2/11 Day 2: The kindest thing I did today was spray lots of air freshener in the ladies room. TMI.
9/17/11 It struck me that to list things as I did them would seem to be about showcasing my gestures. That wasn’t my intent for this experiment. I did leave the photo of Flower from Bambi, however, at the top…. I LOVED Flower as a child and at times in my adult years I appear to emulate her. Enough said. But…. my dad called me “Stinker” as a child (I don’t remember why, but I think it was friendly fire on his part!!) Flower is a lovely memory. 🙂
Today, I thought I’d write about some of the experiences that have stood out to me. I’ve done a few birthday visits. September 10th was to a sweetheart of a lady named Vera. I’ll post her picture down below. Vera is one of those people who come across a little gruff. When you take the time to talk to her, you quickly notice what a generous, kind, loving soul she is. Her first words about the cake were who she wanted to share it with. That same recipient was also going to receive some of the presents in her bag. She would NOT however, share the Wendy’s Chocolate Frosty I brought her!! Such a simple thing delighted her to no end 🙂
This week my son went away to Fall Leadership Camp at Morgan’s in Brookville, Indiana ( www.morganscanoe.com ) with his school class. I drove out two evenings to help. The first night, I met a lovely student who was hyperventilating over an incident that had just occurred. Wow, could I remember being that age and the way that a seemingly small thing to an adult can seem so HUGE to a teen. I asked her if I could sit with her, and proceeded to bring up all sorts of topics that had nothing to do with what caused her to hyperventilate. It worked. As I told my fantastic, completely true larger than life tales, she forgot all about what made her so upset. I suppose hearing the tales of me barfing on Mrs. Griese’s shoes in first grade, the night that a thug threatened to shoot me and kill my son if I didn’t give him my $9. purse from Wal-Mart, and other such tales made that pesky mutant boy who bothered her seem downright petty!! She was a little reluctant to return to the group, fearing that she might just die from how she was feeling. I leveled with her. I told her, “Sister, let’s face it – the longer you wait, the bigger the embarrassment gets and the harder going back will be. Here’s a deal. I promise you, if you go over to the group, the first few seconds are just going to SUCK. But then, you and they will pretty much forget what happened. And if I’m wrong, and if the embarrassment DOES kill you, I’ll give you your money back!”. She thought about it for a nano second, made a funny face at me, and then skipped over to the group. She was fine the rest of the evening. 🙂
I’ve been thinking of ways to show myself deliberate kindness. That’s not something I’m naturally good at. I’ve been trying to exercise a little more, letting a friend encourage me to try something new (more details on that as it plays itself out), and trying to make sleep more of a priority (Miss Sue is definitely a Supremely Hardheaded Lunkhead when it comes to giving herself enough sleep).
September 24, 2011
A few more events have transpired. Some fun, some ….. not worth writing about.
There were times I tried to do some of the deliberate acts of kindness recommended. At Kroger’s one evening, I decided to let the next person behind me go ahead , in line. Would you believe I couldn’t get a person behind me to save my life?? Every time someone appeared to be headed to my lane, that pesky floor manager with the red vest would whisk them away to a different lane. I found this quite vexing. I was ready to BE KIND… and fate WAS NOT COOPERATING. 😦 I eventually gave up and threw my stuff on the counter. I think I said extra nice things to the cashier and bagger to make up for my thwarted effort to be kind. Oh, here’s a funny, but it wasn’t intended to be funny (I try to be truthful even when it shows what a hillbilly I am). The bagger was a very polite young man. I believe he was what some call “special needs”. He was having fun talking out loud to himself the entire time and laughing at the conversation he was having with himself. Well, I started laughing to myself, because I talk away to myself out loud all the time and laugh at the conversation…. suddenly I knew how I looked to the rest of the world…. no wonder strangers are so kind to me. 🙂
Oh wow! I looked up images of hillbillies to see if I saw a photo of me. This is one I found…. wasn’t this a great Bugs Bunny cartoon?! One of my favorites. If my brother Jon is reading this, do you remember this one?!
Here’s a birthday visit to Marvin on September 21st. I have to tell you, this was one of the funnier and more lively visits I’ve done! Marvin loved to tell stories of his stunt work with Hollywood movies, meeting Roy Rogers when he was 6 and getting to ride on Roy’s horse with him as Roy rode around Crosley Field, being friends with Diana Rigg (the “Avengers”actress) many years ago, naming his favorite dog Emma Peel, liking marriage so much he tried it five times (!). Apparently he’s still a hit with the ladies today, as he regularly goes outside for his smokes with his buddies: Shirley, the other Shirley, and Cora. I told him with his connections in Hollywood, we should pitch a script for a new “Charlie’s Angels” – “Marvin’s Angel’s – the Westwood Version”. They were all up for it! If you look at the photo on the left, Marvin enjoys the camera – look at that smile. 🙂 This was his first birthday visit from Little Brothers: I told him that gave me a lot of pressure to make it a great one. 🙂 It WAS a great one, but it wasn’t me. The ladies obviously care about Marvin a great deal, the staff member seen in the left photo had the most beautiful accent and was fun to talk to, they all fussed over Marvin and his cake, his flowers and bag of presents. He loved the stuffed animal and showed it off frequently. I just told jokes and had them all laughing.
Oktoberfest September 18th
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati has been an annual celebration in Cincinnati since 1976. I’ve never missed a year. I wish I could tell you I did all kind of deliberate acts of kindness down there. I DID spend lots of money, that was kind, I suppose! But Oktoberfest turns me into a bloodhound! I am in search of one thing: a Schmidt’s Jumbo Cream Puff. It is the gastric highlight of my year. 🙂 And, here’s a page that might be taken from, You Know You’re A Redneck When. Most people splash out money on their yearly family portrait from wherever families go for those things. Not my family! You can’t get me to dress up & our version is a little closer to reality. 🙂 We take our yearly photos at Oktoberfest! I have a photo of Kevin each year, except he’s not usually standing, so you can’t tell how tall he’s gotten. He’s hunched over his own cream puff, scarfing away!
My birthday is now five days away. I can’t say the experiment I proposed to do has made it feel more significant. I still miss my mom and dad and those electric purple roses on chocolate cakes with white icing from Bonomini Bakery. I still get a little melancholy about people who are gone from my life. That’s the way I’m wired, I’m afraid. Doing nice things does take my mind off of myself and the sad feelings. It makes me feel like less of a slug as a human when I’m helping someone else out.
Time to round it all up and see what I think.
I performed an act of kindness on Monday September 26th. That was the day of the wicked nasty storm in the early morning. Having pity on my son, I drove him to school. Must tell you, Columbia Parkway during a storm like that is NOT for sissies! The intersection at Delta and Linwood by the UDF was positively nerve rattling; we were at the stop light in standing water and the gusher coming at us…. glad I’m not in need of those previously mentioned Depends just yet!!
The skies were sunny and smiling on my actual birthday, September 29th. Treated myself to a lovely wee cake from Busken’s. Talk about “perfectly fitting” waiting for me. The little beauty was sitting in the case: chocolate cake, white icing and deep purple trim. CUTE! And quite tasty. 🙂
Greetings from as far away as England and as close as the home made card my son made with sentiments that included The Musty Pines Old Folks Home (!) (when did this kid get to be so much like me??) made my day festive. In 2011 good wishes come from the U.S. Postal Service, text, email, Facebook, homemade, telephone, in person. What a variety of ways people have to “reach out and touch” these days!
Part of my day was spent on Fountain Square with Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, handing out carnations and telling people about the great stuff LBFE does for the older population in Cincinnati. It was to celebrate International Day of Older Persons, which is October 1st. Sometimes, the most unexpected things can happen. The person who might look blase about hearing our objectives would actually be quite interested. I gave carnations to young, old, homeless, persons in business suits, lonely looking people, folks with a world of hurt etched on their faces. Some wanted to tell me their story, many wanted hugs, lots gave me good wishes for my birthday and beautiful smiles. This sometimes causes me to shake my head. I am a squirrely woman who appears to be trying out for Bag Lady of the Year awards. My fellow volunteers are attractive vibrant well dressed women. I always fear that people will run from the crazy squirrely bag lady chick with Completely Nuts on her t-shirt. But they seem to like my Squishiness. Maybe my Squishiness makes me feel safe to them, I don’t know. I had a 19 year old guy approach and ask me all sorts of questions. He kept appearing over the next half hour or so. I can only surmise he was drawn to my motherly side, I have no idea!
The most endearing moment occurred when one of our elderly Friends – Nellie – found out it was my birthday and commenced to sing Happy Birthday to me. 🙂 Having no shyness about letting her voice ring out in song and her pure, simple act caused me to choke up. She then put her arms out for a hug and for just a whiff of a moment, I felt my mom’s spirit and it was pretty sweet.
Oh, Fox 19 and Frank Marzullo were there filming relay races between mascots from UC, Xavier, Skyline Chili Dog and Gapper from the Reds. It was hilarious! Gapper is great. 🙂 I took a few pictures. It also gave me a nano second glance of myself in the crowd up on the Jumbo Tron. Oh dear! Which segues right into my blog focus for the month of October, but you’ll have to read the post next time for that!
I’m putting a slideshow of photos below to show the highlights of the month. I tried to insert some of the photos and it just isn’t happening. Technology – pfftttt!
To sum up the birthday month, I’m glad I wrote this blog throughout. It’s a nice way to remember the time and in my distractible mind, little helpers are welcome. 🙂
Thank you so much for any part you’ve played – be it reading this, sending a greeting, treating me to a wonderful evening and meal at Ron’s Roost (Thanks Jon and Marcia!!) or in any way touching my life. Each little happening enriches my life and spirit beyond measure. Cheers! 🙂