Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Year's Coming - Bring it on!

2015 flew past as all the years seem to do now, each day seemingly shorter. Today as I sit here on December 28 with my doors and windows open to enjoy the warm temperatures and the sound of a slow rain falling in my woods, I wish for many more days like this. Quiet times to observe nature and hear sounds I don't hear when my heat pump is on or my AC is blasting. 

I think I need more quiet time like this, but it seems time passes too quickly. Since I found my voice and became the woman I had inside me all these years, there is no end to all the things I want to do, to see, to become part of. 

On my way home Sunday, I stopped to eat at a popular steak house. I had totally forgotten it was Sunday. The past few days had seemed like Sunday to me with all the Christmas celebrations going on. With only a choice of sitting at the bar or waiting a long time, I chose the bar. I ended up sitting where the bar curved around and became a table of ordinary height. A single woman sat two seats over and right away she began a conversation. I learned that she was 80 years old and lived alone in Elijay, GA where the steak house was located. She had ordered a hamburger, but I used a gift card I had received and ordered a prime rib dinner. Oh, was it good!

We enjoyed the best conversation while we ate our meal. I don't know her name, and she doesn't know mine. We will not likely ever meet again, but she said she was glad I had sat down beside her because she had enjoyed getting to know me. "I don't like to eat alone," she said.

I think she often eats alone. Her husband is in Alaska. Not for a visit, but he lives there. Her grown children in the Atlanta area seldom come to visit, she told me. But she loves her house in the mountains, being so close to nature, seeing bear cubs and wild turkeys in her yard. 

We discussed the health problems that often come with age and how difficult it is to find a doctor who will listen while you tell them what you know about your own body. She said her children have no clue about her health problems, and they don't want to hear about them. She is diabetic with nerve pain in her feet. From our conversation, I can tell she spends much time on the Internet. This made me think again about technology and my love/hate relationship with it. I often feel it takes too much of my time but for this woman, the Internet is her outlet to the world, a place where she continues to learn new things, her way to converse with her family and others. 

For over an hour we two strangers ate and conversed. The time passed quickly, and we were both happy that we had come in alone. As my dinner companion said, "I love to talk with strangers. I learn so much that way."

She reminded me of my mother who talked with anyone she met--in line at the store, in the elevator, standing at the meat counter in the super market and always in waiting rooms. I have that gene, too.
If I smile at someone and they smile back, I know they are open to conversation. 

Since time is the most precious commodity I own, I hate to waste it. Having dinner conversation with the lady at the steak house was not wasted. She showed me her Fitbit and told me how she used it as a reminder of when to take medication, when to exercise, and many other things that helped her live better. I had thought a Fitbit was just for athletic people to keep up with how many calories they burned, etc. But now I might look into seeing how this new technology could be helpful in my life.  

My husband, Barry Beall, liked people and talked to everyone. I wrote this poem before I became one who also talks to strangers.

Never a Stranger
                    --- for Barry

I watch you and I'm jealous.  You talk
to people on the elevator, at the airport
waiting, at the grocery store in front
of the cucumbers.

I stand stiff, my eyes averted from
the woman's eyes, in line at the post office
window. What should I say?
I don't want to be intrusive.

Never lost for words, you smile
and burst right in. The stranger's
eyes light up and suddenly she has
become a friend.

--- by Glenda Council Beall


Maren O. Mitchell said...

Glenda, I enjoy all your postings, but this one was particularly touching, and your writing just flows. Thanks!

DJan said...

Isn't it wonderful to connect with someone who was once a stranger and becomes a friend? I loved this post, Glenda, and I wish you all good things in 2016. I like the layout of your posts these days, too. Hugs! Stay safe tonight if you venture out. :-)

Glenda Beall said...

Maren, thank you. I am so glad you subscribe and read my blog. I appreciate your compliment.

Glenda Beall said...

DJan, I am so glad you liked this post. Thanks for the compliment on my blog. I won't be going out for New Years Eve. I might see the new year come in but I'll be at home probably writing or reading. Happy new year to you.

Abbie Taylor said...

You're lucky to have warm temperatures and rain instead of cold weather and snow. Happy New Year.

gay said...

I enjoyed this post, Glenda. It's so good to see how you have become so much like mother ( and Barry) over the years in your ability to talk to anyone and enjoy it. I'm afraid I took after Daddy and am far too reserved to enjoy meeting strangers and it is definitely my loss. That's one of those risks of daring greatly that I haven't overcome. I'm very proud of you for finally getting past the debilitating shyness that we both had for most of our lives and becoming the charming, open, caring and interesting person you are today. You go Girl!!!

Glenda Beall said...

Abbie, it is a bit colder here tonight, but still not as cold as it is where you are. I am very tired of the rain, but I am so fortunate not to have damage from it. My friend's basement flooded just before Christmas. It was carpeted and like an apartment, so she said she has had a good bit of damage.I look forward to sunshine in a few days.

Glenda Beall said...

Gay, thank you for those sweet words. I remember when I was embarrassed (as a teenager) because Mother talked to strangers all the time. I don't know why that embarrassed me. We go through changes in our lives and who knows what makes us who we are. I am curious and that is a good trait when you are a writer.
One of your many good traits is your wonderful wit. You can be so funny and I love that about you.I laugh more when I am with you than with anyone else.

Anonymous said...

Glenda, I really love this story and the poem you wrote about Barry; he was one-in-a-million, that’s for sure.

I am so glad you have now learned how to embrace that wonderful trait of being friendly with strangers, and I am especially impressed with how you can have such long conversations with strangers at times. That’s such a gift and a thing that I have experienced only rarely.

You go, Girl !

Thank you for writing this and sharing it with all who care to read it.