Monday, May 18, 2009

A blessing and a blog.

On Saturday, I had to mail some packages so I ran up to The Shipping Store in the shopping center near my house. I was in a hurry and really needed to get in and out as quickly as possible. I walked into the door of the place, loaded down with the packages and managed to get to the table right inside the door before all the packages fell out of my arms.

Just as I dumped everything onto the table, an elderly lady walked past me on her way out of the store. I smiled and said hi to her and she looked at me and said hi. Before I knew it, I found myself in the middle of a lengthy and, I might add, one-sided conversation. I thought I'd re-create it here for you, complete with my inner monologue in [brackets] . . .

Me: Hi!
Lady: Hi. (staring out door) Is it going to rain?
Me: I don't know. It smelled like rain last night but I don't think it ever rained.
Lady: It rained?!?!
Me: No. It smelled like rain (pointing to my nose and realizing she doesn't speak great English). But I don't think it actually rained.
Lady: But my grass was wet . . .

[Okaaaaaaaaaaaaay . . .]

Me: Oh! Well, I guess it DID rain!
Lady: It could have been the sprinkler.
Me: Yeah, that's true. It's hard to tell sometimes!
Lady: It rained really hard and my neighbor's tree fell on my house.

[This is not going the way I thought it would.]

Me: Oh no!
Lady: Yeah. During . . . (waving her hand back and forth to indicate wind)
Me: During Ike?
Lady: Yes. It was so big (using arms to indicate diameter of tree) and it fell on my brake-a room.

[What is a brake-a . . . oh . . . breakfast room. Got it.]

Me: Oh no! Well, I'm glad you're okay.
Lady: Yes. I was going to stay in my house and my daughter said I couldn't. She said I had to come stay with her. So I did.
Me: Well, thank goodness!
Lady: I almost didn't buy that house.

[This doesn't sound like a conversation that is wrapping up . . .]

Me: Oh, really?
Lady: No. I just didn't feel right. I had a feeling. I can feel that way sometimes, you know?

[No, I don't know, actually. I just met you a minute ago . . .]

Lady: My husband died.

[Yeeeeeeeeeeeah, I'm gonna be here a while . . .]

Lady: And I think "I shouldn't buy this house." But I did. (walks over to the table and leans against it).

[Uh oh. That doesn't look like "wrapping-it-up" body language . . .]

Lady: And I always do my paperwork in the brake-a room. Right there. And if I had been there . . . (eyes open big and eyebrows up and gives me a knowing look, as if to indicate she would surely have met an unfortunate end).
Me: Well, what a blessing that you weren't there!
Lady: Well, the tree wouldn't have hit me. It just hurt the roof a little.

[Wait. I don't get it.]

Lady: But if I had been there . . . (again opens her eyes and raises her eyebrows and gives me a knowing look).

[Yeah, I think I don't really know what that means.]

Lady: But it was my neighbor's tree. And she didn't want to pay to get it fixed. So I call a contractor and he comes out to look at it.

[Do NOT lean on the table, Catherine. That's the wrong body language. Don't do it.]

Me: (leaning on the table) Mmmmmm hmmmmmmm.
Lady: And he tells me it gonna cost 1200 dollars. (dramatic pause for my reaction)
Me: Yeah, that's a lot of money!
Lady: And he tells me I can stay in the house while he fixes everything but I don't want to breathe in the smell.
Me: Yeah, I wouldn't want to, either.

[What smell? What kind of contractor is this?]

Lady: So they fix it. But it was a big tree. And it was right next to my house. Like this. (starts moving my packages around to show me where the neighbor's house, her house, and the tree were) It was big.
Me: Wow.
Lady: Yeah. (smiles) Well, you need to mail your things - I will stop talking so that you can do it.

[Don't say it, Catherine. Do NOT say it. Do NOT say it.]

Me: Oh no, that's okay!


Lady: Really? Ok.

[Catherine, you stupid . . .]

Lady: My daughter's house didn't have any damage. She lives over there and I live over there. And her house - no damage. But MY house . . .

And so it continued. She just kept chatting with me and telling me about all of her repair problems on her house, how the contractor did, what the neighbors said, and a million other things. I think she talked to me for at least 15 minutes. Which is a long time when you are in a hurry and you were just trying to answer someone's questions about the weather. She finally realized that the store was about to close and I still needed to get my packages out. So we said our goodbyes and hugged and then she walked out.

As she was talking, I had two types of thoughts running through my mind. On one hand, I was amused. I kept thinking about how this kind of stuff always happens to me and how these people just seem to FIND me. I wanted to remember every word of this conversation so that I could blog about it since I desperately needed something to blog about. Or, at the very least, I could turn it into a funny story. And on the other hand, I was thinking about how this lady must be kinda lonely and maybe God crossed our paths so that she could get a smile from a stranger and someone to talk with. That line of thinking, of course, made me feel horribly guilty for planning my blog as she spoke with me . . . :)

But maybe that's exactly what God intended. You know - to kill two birds with one stone. He crossed our paths and gave us both what we needed . . . a blessing and a blog.

Amen. :)


Anonymous said...

Love, love, love! A blessing and a blog... I seem to attract loners too-
so, i have posted a few anonymous comments so far-- including the one about clogging my toilet- I find that if i stay anonymous i can kill two birds with one stone: i can be lazy by not logging into my acount and i can avoid grammar and spelling scrutiny-Heaven for bid I ever type something as horrific as "tommows" :)
wanna guess who i am??

Anonymous said...

wow- i spelled "acount" wrong...

Anonymous said...

Catchy, I don't think God would need a stone to kill 2 birds. He could just say it and it would be so. Why would God want to kill 2 birds anyways? oh well. I'm glad for the blog.... I was having withdrawals. Can you guess who I am?

Emma said...

WOW!!! Loved this one! An amazing,and convicting, end.....LOVED the ending!

I wanna know who anonymous is!!?? :)

Catherine said...

Weeeeelllllll, Anonymous . . . my first guess would be Alana?? I've gone back and re-read all the comments on all my entries - I'm taking this investigation VERY seriously. :) The style is the same as Alana's BUT the "I'm new to the Chronicles" throws me off . . .

Am I right?

Catherine said...

Wait - are we dealing with two different Anonymouses here? Can you pluralize "Anonymous?" Can't tell if the third one is from a different Anonymous . . .

I've never written "Anonymous" so many times.

Emma said...

Catch, I believe you're right that there are probably two anonymous contributors (see how I avoided the plural problem??)....and I'm voting that one of them is Vicki!

Also, just as long as we ARE (were) talking about grammar/spelling/proof-reading, forbid is one ya, mean it, Anonymous! :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, Cathcy you are right. I am one of the anonymous contributors.... but i dont know who the other one is.... love ya, mean it

Phyllis Eddings said...

I'm thinking, had you been truly multi-tasking, you could have gotten your packages mailed WHILE listening to her and mentally composing your blog. But, you know, research shows that multi-tasking is counter-productive over the long haul. You do everything with less attention and efficiency.

I'm glad God sent you, because I wouldn't have had the patience.

Anonymous said...

tick tock tick tock

Catherine said...

I didn't know I was on a time limit??? I'm gonna guess Dustin or Vicki . . .


Anonymous said...

still alana- was just making sure you knew that it was already tuesday- but no new blog entry.....speaking for all those as obsessed as i am- lol
the other anonymous needs to speak up cause i dont know who they are

Unknown said...

I laughed so hard at this blog because I can't tell you how many times this type of thing has happened to me! I do the same thing...I just keep encouraging it against my better judgement, so I got a big laugh out of all your inner thoughts. good times, catch...good times!

could it be tiffany?

Erin said...

son of a...that was me again, not mom

Catherine said...

Erin, you would think that you would have LEARNED by now!! How do you keep logging in as mom??

Tiffany's a good guess.

I guess Tiffany, too!