Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In that instant, Blanche Dubois

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Saturday's baseball game was more than just a game.

89 degrees and sunny. The only saving grace was a slight breeze that came and went. When it went, we got a muggy reminder of just how hot it was.

Our job was to watch the game and cheer for our team. Our voices hung heavy in the air thick with moisture as we made polite conversation before the game began.

Here's how it works: We arrive about an hour before game time. Another game is in progress. Their fans occupy the best viewing spots. After the game, they vacate quickly and we take their spots or move our chairs into position so we can get a good view without blocking anyone.

To position your chair before the earlier game is over constitutes a punishable offense. Please refrain or face the wrath of enthusiastic and over-scheduled team parents. You know what they do to subversives, don't you?

As sweat trickled down my back, I regretted insisting that Sophie come with me to the game. She'd made it clear on many occasions that she has no interest in watching baseball, not even (or maybe especially) when her brother plays.

She fanned herself with a card she was using as a bookmark. Her face turned pink under the fuming sun. My skin prickled from the heat and I looked longingly at the University of Georgia canopy shading some of the parents on the bleachers.

"We should have brought parasols," I whined.

"We're not really Southern. We don't have parasols. We have umbrellas," Sophie snapped.

This was going to be a fun afternoon for sure.

The current game ended right on time. The fans stood and stretched.

One of our team mamas joked that they could leave the canopy for us.

"You can have it for five dollars," one of the guys joked back.

That seemed more than reasonable to me.

The joking went back and forth. The price rose to ten dollars. Still reasonable!

"Actually, it's not even mine to sell," the man finally admitted. "It's his." He pointed to another man who was returning from the restroom.

"I just sold your tent to these gals for ten dollars," he said to the owner.

The owner paused for a second and considered us.

"Hey, you can use it. If you can get it to us by five o'clock at East Paulding High School, you're welcome to borrow it."

"Really?" East Paulding is on our way home.

"Sure. Why not?" He smiled.

Why not indeed? I know people (maybe I'm one) who could give you twenty-three reasons why you don't leave expensive equipment with a bunch of strangers you might never see again, except he sees us all the time at these games.

We thanked him profusely as he told us how to take the canopy down, pointed out the collapsible wagon for transporting it and exchanged phone numbers with me.

Many times throughout the game, those of us enjoying the shade remarked at his kindness and generosity. It was easily ten degrees cooler under the canopy.

Even Sophie had a good time.

Our game ended early and we got the tent back to its owner well before he needed it at 5:00. I thanked him again and he acted like it was nothing. His act of kindness was no big deal.

It was a very big deal to those of us who would have been puddling in the sun.

When is the last time you were the giver or receiver of some act of kindness?

22 comments:

  1. Awww... That was SO awesome and nice and sweet of that guy to let you borrow his canopy. Truly. I haven't heard any stories about random acts of kindness in a while, and I needed that. Thank you for brightening my day with this post.

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  2. Most of the time, I'm the giver, but every so often, someone is nice to me back. Last week, my wife surprised me with a liter of Crown Royal Black for our anniversary. Very happy man right here.

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  3. Once, before a hair appointment, I was pulling into a coffee shop drive-through to get coffee for my hairdresser and me. I pulled into what I thought was the way to the order thingy, but realised it was the wrong way in and there were cars already in line. I made an OOPS face gave a quick wave at the van at the front as I backed out, wanting them to know I wasn't attempting to cut in. When I finally did get around to collecting my order, I found that the lady in the van had paid for it.

    That little thing made me feel good all day - as good as you felt sitting under that tent, I'm sure.

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  4. Someone left a couple of kind comments on my blog this week . . . ;)

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  5. My son and I stopped mid-road trip to wash clothes in a laundromat. Some lady must have decided we looked like holy hell because she handed me a twenty and told me to take him to "someplace nice like McDonald's for lunch."

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  6. I'm bowled away by the number of people offering to help with the graduation party on Saturday. I'm learning to accept the help. Might even have fun this time around.

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  7. As a Giver? 30 minutes ago. As a Receiver? Twice in 1985. Almost another time in 1996 but that was an error of judgement.

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  8. Nice story, Lisa.

    A few weeks ago, I was driving a loaner heap of junk whose capacity to run on empty according to the gauge is not as good as my own vehicle. I ran out of gas on the interstate, it was almost dark and my mobile was dead (charger forgotten in my own car). Because there's never a cop around when you need one, I saw no choice but to try to flag someone down to use their phone. Twenty or more cars shot past when someone took pity on me - a guy with dreadlocks, a shiny iphone and a nice smile!

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  9. I know we Southerns don't have the corner market on acts of kindness, but seems like it happens more here. A big reason why I love where I live.

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  10. I love when nice "little" things happen. Especially these days. It doesn't have to be a million dollars (though that'd be nice); the little acts of decency mean so much more!

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  11. I believe we're very caring as a species but we're so inundated in bad news it can seem otherwise. I loved your story and I was also delighted to find these picture stories on buzzfeed a couple of days ago.

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  12. I'm on the receiving end all the time. It's impossible to give back as much as I'm getting.

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  13. I gave my husband a beej the other night, does that count?

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  14. People posted nice comments on my blog. And I posted nice comments on theirs!

    P.S. Lisa, this is a wonderful, inspiring post!

    ;-)

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  15. How clueless was I that you'd started blogging here again? Totally clueless.

    Nice to see you again!

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  16. My mother-in-law totally cleaned my new house's entire kitchen and bathroom, which was a huge help because I was traveling for work right in-between closing on the house and moving in. And then last night she came over and helped pull weeds. Not sure how I'll ever repay her...what she'd probably like most is not going to happen (unless she decides that the cats truly are like grandchildren).

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  17. Very nice. You don't see that kind of generosity everyday.

    As I sat on a hot beach (95 degrees) earlier this week I wished the three people to the right of me would have offered to share one of their four beach umbrellas with my husband and me (who had none). No such luck. To each his own umbrella is the way of the beach, at least in Texas.

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  18. I always thought that sports parents were very generous. As for me, my boss gave me $100. and told me to take my family out to dinner on Friday night. We gave the server a big tip!

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  19. Speaking of Blanche Dubois... I last had to rely on the kindness of strangers just over a month ago and now have to prevail on a little more just to keep a roof over heads for another month. Do political contributions count as random acts of kindness? If not, then I have to say I haven't been in a position to help anyone since December.

    Today's Welcome Back to Pottersville's 4th anniversary.

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  20. Blazing sun (or pouring rain) aside, God do I miss watching my son's baseball games! Seriously, it's one of my saddest moments of seeing my boys now grown up. Soak in the enjoyment while you can, my friend.

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  21. last night on a bike ride I went out of my way to give a compliment, twice. two interesting conversations resulted. win win. love the bike rides.

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