The 50¢ Hat that brought a Million Dollar Smile

50¢ Hat that brought a Million Dollar Smile

50¢ Hat that brought a Million Dollar Smile

We had our annual community garage sale last week. The little gray-haired lady pulled up in our driveway in a car that could use servicing. She could be anyone’s grandmother. She was dressed modestly with a white sweater, bright aqua skirt, white ankle socks with brown sandals.

She smiled and walked towards us.  She said “good morning, isn’t it a gorgeous day!”  She was out for a “shopping spree”, and we were her first stop. She lives alone and is on a fixed income. She likes to shop at garage sales because “you never know when you’ll find a hidden treasure”.   There wasn’t much that interested her until she saw the hat rack with hats.  The kind-of-beige-black plaid hat with a large black bow caught her eye. It was one of my favorites for a long time.

While she considered it, she asked “does the bow go in the back?” I said yes and helped her put it on her head. “How do I look? You know I have a round face, and I don’t want it to make my face look fat.” I told her she looked very stylish, and the hat was perfect for her.  She was tickled but had to see for herself. We had a very large mirror leaning against the garage door that had not sold in 2 days. She stood in front of it and turned her head from side-to-side, then smiled some more. If I didn’t know better, I would say she blushed when John told her the hat was made for her!

She asked “how much?” and was so excited to hear it was 50¢ She handed me two quarters and kept admiring herself in the mirror. She said “you’re right! It doesn’t make my face look fat. I’m going to wear it the rest of the day”. She chatted a few more minutes, and then got in her car to “shop” the rest of the neighborhood.

Some people shop at garage sales for the “thrill of the barter”. Most of those who stopped by our house last weekend can’t afford to shop anywhere else like this little lady. She looked so cute walking up the neighbor’s driveway in her new hat, and I couldn’t resist taking a picture. “Bea Positive” was blessed to see her million-dollar smile.

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Beauty from Ashes

Orlando was the lucky driver who got to cart two ladies around Jersey City and New York City. Our original plan was to ride the ferry to Ellis Island and see the Statue of Liberty. Orlando took every side street in Jersey City to get us to Liberty State Park. As he drove us closer to the ferry station, he made a really astute observation. We were the only car there! Just then, a Jersey police car drove by and Orlando asked about the ferry. “The last ferry runs at 3:30 p.m. and starts back up at 8:00 a.m.”  So Debbie and I got some nice pictures of the back-side of Miss Liberty from the park.
So now what? We didn’t want to go back to the hotel early, so Orlando suggested Ground Zero and Freedom Tower. About 20 minutes later, we arrived at Ground Zero. Standing 2 blocks from the Freedom Tower, it is so massive the spire looks like it disappears into the clouds. Did you know that the spire allows the building to reach a symbolic 1776 feet – a fitting reference to the year of our Declaration of Independence.
Orlando drove slowly and around all four sides of the area known as Ground Zero. I always like to ask people I meet in NY where they were on September 11, 2001. I haven’t been surprised to hear that every person I ask knows exactly what he/she was doing and where they were when the planes hit the towers. Orlando was working as an EMT at the time and was one of the first responders. As he worked desperately to help during the pandemonium, he watched people throwing themselves out of the top floors of the buildings.
It’s hard to describe in words the expanse that was affected by two 110-story buildings and surroundings. It was a sobering experience, and I’m so glad I got to experience Ground Zero in person. Even after 13 years, there is still a lot of work to be done. However, the Freedom Tower is literally and figuratively “Beauty from Ashes”.

Memorial post at Ground Zero

Memorial post at Ground Zero

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