Carter, Anderson, and I had to run some errands this morning... we went to WalMart, then JCPenney, and ended up back at WalMart. (Really wish Oswego would get some more stores) When we pulled into JCP there was a man pulling the tops off the garbage cans, looking for cans. But, it wasn't just any man, you see.
It was one of our neighbors from "long ago" at Eastpoint. When Brian and I were first married -- in 2006 we moved into Eastpoint apartments in Oswego. In the adjacent building lived a nice elderly man... who walked to and from work at McDonald's pushing a little wire cart-walker-thing. He was super sweet... always saying hi to Brian whether we drove by or at the restaurant. His large, light brown plastic-framed glasses, scruffy stubble, black hat, and black/white flannel plaid coat (worn even in the summer heat) are unmistakable. His gait is slow and steady. I don't know his story-- and I probably never will. I just know he always has had a special place in my heart.
I am 100% sure that he didn't recognize me as we approached him. "Excuse me," I said-- diaper bag hoisted over my shoulder, Anderson on my hip, and holding Carter's hand, "Are you looking for cans?" "Yeah," he said almost shyly. "Well, we would like to give you this," I said. We handed him a can. The only can (surprisingly) that I could find in my van. He said "Thank you" and safely tucked the can away in his big plastic garbage bag in the cart. "Happy Valentine's Day!" yelled Carter. "Happy Valentine's Day to you little guy."
And we parted ways. It was in that very moment I wish I had money stashed somewhere I could give him. But, we gave him what we had. I hope that the smile that we gave him lasts all day. I hope Carter will always remember how good it felt to give and to help... no matter how big or small.
"If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around."