Sister Sharon

Flying home Wednesday, my seat was 1 row from the toilets.  I got to watch everyone board the plane, try to stuff their luggage in the overhead bins or under the seat in front of them.  It is pretty amazing to watch people board the plane.  Many are completely oblivious to people behind them and will take their sweet time getting seated.

As I stood in the back row, an elderly lady came all the way to the back trying to find space for her luggage.  She stood out because her purple sweater matched luggage! The last bin over the last row was empty.  A gentleman behind her helped her place the bag in the bin.  She thanked him for helping her.  I didn’t realize until she started walking away that her seat was 12 rows in front of us!

We landed in Tampa a few minutes early.  I stood up, this time to watch people un-board the plane.  The process is very similar to boarding, and the same oblivious people boarding were the same leaving the plane.  Seated in the last row, I was in no hurry to get off.

I saw the lady with the purple luggag, waved at her and told her I would get her bag.  Of course, none of the “gentlemen” around offered help.  I let the man in 38C know that I wouldn’t drop it on his head.  I motioned to the lady to stay where she was, and I’d bring the bag to her.  She thanked me again and walked on ahead of me.

As she stepped into the gate area, I could see her looking around.  I asked her if she was meeting someone and she said yes.  I explained that they are most likely in the terminal area because you’re not allowed in the gates without a boarding pass.  I suggested she follow me to the shuttle since I was headed there too.  As we walked, I asked if she had ever been to Tampa.  “Yes, once, but I don’t travel much.”  I learned that she was staying for a week with her sister and brother-in-law.  As we got off the shuttle, she thanked me again.

She asked me my name, and she told me she was Sister Sharon.  When we didn’t see her sister in the terminal, she mentioned that her sister would drive around and pick her up.  I told her to follow me down the escalator because my husband was doing the same.  She thanked me again as we rode the escalator downstairs.  I told her about my 83 year old mother who traveled by herself last year and how me, my sister and father worried until she landed.  Sister Sharon told me that she works with elderly people, too, older than herself.  She must have thanked me 3 more times as we walked through the baggage claim.

It doesn’t take much to brighten someone’s day.  Sometimes a smile or hello is enough.  Sometimes you might need to inconvenience yourself to lend a helping hand.  It cost me a little time to help her, but the payoff is priceless.  I Bea-lieve that Sister Sharon is enjoying her time in Tampa.  Don’t pass up an opportunity to Bea a Blessing . . . and besides, Sister Sharon has High connections!  Bea Positive!

Timeout with Toshiko

I had a choice to make in my trip to Denver.  Twice before I had gone on business and missed seeing Toshiko.  The first time I called and chatted with her for about 30 minutes.  The second time I flew in and out the same day.  My work-brain argued with my heart.  I made my flight and hotel reservations still undecided how I would spend my time in Denver.

Work-brain:  Get there early afternoon, and you’ll have plenty of time to get to the hotel, catch up on e-mail, and check for any urgent messages.

Heart:  Gt there early and spend the afternoon with Toshiko.  Four hours away from e-mail, texting, phone calls isn’t going to crash my work-world.

I hate to admit that I actually thought about this and agonized over the decision.  On Saturday afternoon, 3 days before I left, I called Toshiko.  She was so excited that I called.  When I asked if she would be home on Tuesday, she got even more excited!!  “Oh, Bea-chan, so I will get to see you and not just talk on the phone?” 

So we talked a while, she gave me detailed directions on how to get to her house, said she would change her dentist appointment so that she would be home.  Once I hung up the phone, my mind was made up.  I would rent a car, spend the afternoon with Toshiko and get to the hotel later in the evening.

Tuesday, I arrived in Denver on time and got my rental car.  I drove to Toshiko’s house and arrived around 11:30 a.m.  She was so happy to see me, and I caught her in the middle of making lunch.  For the next four hours, I listened to her “crazy stories”.  We had a good lunch and a good visit.  About 2:30 p.m., it started snowing.  She started to worry about me driving to the hotel, so I started getting my stuff together.  I couldn’t go away empty-handed, so she packed all the nuts, walnut treats, yogurt covered raisins for snacking!

I arrived at my hotel in time for an early dinner.  Of course, I checked e-mail, messages, etc. and amazingly enough, all was well with the work-world.  I didn’t miss any call, there were no major emergencies, and I spent an afternoon with a dear friend.  I reflected on what I had learned that afternoon:

  • Learned how to make home-made yogurt
  • Discovered the healthy benefits of walnuts
  • How to burglar-proof your house
  • Watch Toshi light up like a child when we sent a “selfie” to my dad’s phone
  • Got a pretty good idea of what it’s like to be a widow and live alone
  • Work-world kept turning without me!

In the grand scheme, what really matter is the human connection . . . cultivating your relationships, spending quality time with your loved ones.

Toshiko will be 87 later this month, and I realized that she and I have fewer days ahead of us than behind us.  So what if I missed four hours of the work-world?  I’m positive that I made the right choice and will do it again if given the opportunity.  I hope all of you have a “Bea Positive” day and remember to disconnect from technology and connect with friends and family.

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