On being Lucky

“People who need people/
Are the luckiest people in the world”
 –  People by Barbra Streisand

When I look back on some of my favorite people, they all have a different story … with the same message.

Bob has been my mechanic for over thirty years.  He has taught me a lot about cars, but much more about life. In all the time I’ve known him, I’ve never seen him lose his temper; and as a younger family man, I remember how hard that was when you’re trying to balance family responsibilities and job pressures.

One day, I asked him about it. He told me that the secret was to only work half days. Half days? I didn’t get it. I mean, over the years I have always dropped off my car very early for repairs. I also knew that he often worked well into the evenings. He looked at my puzzled expression and said, “Well, like I said…  half days. That’s 12 hours isn’t it Fred?

That Bob… he’s been the funny one!

Once my wife gingerly drove our car into his extremely busy garage. She was dragging the muffler system on the ground. Bob stopped everything, took her car in, fixed it all up, and sent her on her way in no time at all.

A few days later, I dropped in to thank him and asked how he was able to help her immediately when his shop was already full of cars. He simply said that if it had been his wife who was in a similar situation, he’d like to think that some other mechanic would do the same thing.

Looking back through my young teenage years, I do recall being influenced by some of my relatives in a positive and vicariously religious manner.

From my maternal grandmother, I learned how a simple woman of faith could command the love of everyone who met her. I could tell that she was special because of how she treated me – with kindness, patience and with such gratitude or any little thing I did for her. She had an easy way about her: like the time I stressed over not having any cake mix in the house for my promised birthday cake. Smiling she said, “Don’t worry Freddy, we were making cakes long before Betty Crocker.”

From my paternal grandfather I learned that volunteering of one’s time to help others made you happy. And, although he didn’t act “religious” during his lifetime, he had written on his shed door, “A person is closest to God in a garden, than anywhere else on Earth.”

And, from Aunt Mamie, I learned honesty. She was the matriarch of my Mom’s family and if anyone – especially adults – were to cross swords with her, she had a memory that could expose lies in no time.

My dad used to say that civility doesn’t cost anything, but promotes a caring attitude, understanding and self-respect.

Few practice what they preach; but in my life, I’ve been lucky with my role models !

Fred Parry                The Music In Me
May, 2017

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