It’s funny how I navigate this blog with abandon, not really worrying that I’m in my bathrobe with toast crumbs in my lap. That’s the beauty of this domain. Anonymity!
But last night I had to put myself out there, and I was nervous, for no reason, thank heavens. It was wonderful. Everyone, every single person I met, and I think I met them all, was kind and gracious and helpful and funny and welcoming. I was made to feel at home. I was instantly comfortable.
The mix was not as I expected. I sat across a Ph.D in Chemistry. To my left was a Master’s prepared English teacher. Some were experienced knitters. Others not so much. Some were dressed from work. Others appeared they’d just fed their families, and rushed out the door. It was upbeat. There was copious chatter and mini show-and-tell camps around each table. Everyone was laughing about something.
The knitting acumen was free flowing. I ordered the “right” needles for my socks from Knitpicks.com while being helped by my new sock mentor. So I didn’t get to knit. But I made yarn balls from skeins which kept my hands busy, and of course my mind was concentrating on putting faces with names and remembering all the information that was being given to me…which is what those knitting journals are for. And then there was the incident.
Actually the incident happened before I arrived.
The yarn I’d brought with me was the same yarn from last summer’s project that I unravelled and now the yarn was all zigzaggy, so I decided to buy new because Hobby Lobby had all their sock yarn on sale. I found my favorite, took it to the counter, stood in line, opened my purse, and whoops! No wallet. Someone, a young man, behind me started to move, and so I quickly turned to apologize while fumbling still with my purse, and he looked at me and said to the cashier, and I quote: “Please put her yarn on my bill.” My hands stop fumbling. I am sure I am now bright red, so while putting everything I’ve taken from my purse back into my purse while still looking intently and with incredulity at this young man, in military fatigues with his name embroidered over a pocket, and I can’t quote myself but I am saying something about having my wallet somewhere, probably in my car, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for his offer but I know I can find it, I’m sorry to make him wait, please go ahead of me. And after two or three more offers and Ma’ams, and something about him really wanting to help, I rush out of Hobby Lobby’s door.
I have found my wallet laying on the passenger seat. I have it in hand and I am walking back to the store, and the young man is in my aisle and coming directly toward me. He sees my wallet in my hand, he smiles a smile I will never forget. He says how “great” it is I found it, but it really would have been “no problem,” which I assume meant about buying me the yarn.
This is a smile, a face, a name (Litchford), and a gesture that is now indelibly imprinted in my memory forever. I thanked him again, and feeling a loss of emotional control start to edge into my face I waved and broke into a small trot back to the store.
By the time I reached the cashier I was crying. She was smiling, and I asked something about “Had she ever seen such kindness before?” She looked at me while handing me my change and said she’d seen “a lot of nice people come into this store.”
I realize no matter how many adjectives I use, or how hard I try to convey this simple story, you could not possibly understand the depth of the feelings I had in those few moments. When I called my husband on his cell, unable yet to drive, hearing my tears he expected the worse. The story rendered him silent.
I had tears in my eyes still as I entered the knitting group, and one lady noticed. I told her what just happened, which started a group conversation about kindness. These women don’t know me or anything about me and now perhaps they think I’m a nut, but they didn’t show it, and I left last night feeling that I need to get out more. There is a world of amazingly beautiful, wonderfully kind, interesting and generous, especially the young Litchford, people I would love to meet.