I had been running errands all morning. One of my stops was at a Ward’s Supermarket. They have the best selection of locally grown produce. They also have beautiful fresh flowers. As I was headed out of the store, I browsed the fresh bouquets. Roses were two for $1.
So I bought three pretty pink ones. Before I knew it, it was time for me to pick up my son from school. After picking him up, he asked if he could have French fries. I had to potty and I was hungry so off to McDonald’s we went. After placing our order, we headed straight to the bathroom. As we waited our turn at the sink, a woman dropped a quarter. So Bryce picked it up–it was an eagle quarter, which he collects. She told him thank you and to keep it. Bryce thanked her and exchanged introductions. She introduced herself as Norma Cromwell, wife of the late, Rev. Cromwell.
As we headed out of the restroom to pick up our orders, I noticed that she was alone. By the same token, she noticed that it was just Bryce and I. She noted his energy and said, “I raised seven boys.” I told her then perhaps you can tell me a thing or two about boys. I asked her to join us for lunch and she obliged. She had a regular cheese burger, fries and a cup of water. She talked about her late husband quite a bit. I could tell she was still very much in love with him and missed him dearly. I begin to notice that so much of her identity was wrapped in that of her deceased husband who had passed away in 2010. She said they had 10 children together. I asked her, “So how do you feed 10 children?” Her response was simple, “God always made a way.” She referred to her children as little people and shared stories about how she and her husband kept them busy with football and other extracurricular activities. I told her how beautiful she looked and complimented her necklace. She paused and said, “Bryce, guess what? Today’s my birthday!” I jumped to my feet and said I had something special in the car just for her. Bryce and I walked to the car, wrapped one of the pink roses, in decorative tissue, I signed a birthday card ( I keep a box in the door of my car) and hurried back inside. Bryce hid the rose behind his back, asked her to close her eyes then shouted surprise! She gave him the biggest hug ever. I told her that I had to treat her to some ice cream and asked which flavor she preferred–fudge or strawberry. She chose the strawberry sundae. We talked some more. Then I heard a ring, it was her cell phone–An iPhone to be exact. I was thinking “Mother is doing pretty good for herself-lol! After hanging up, I told her about another woman I had met by the name of Estella Pyfrom who would be 80 in a few months and drove her very own technology bus. She told me, she didn’t drive a bus but she was 82-year-old and felt pretty good. As we prepared to go our separate ways, she gave me her cell phone number so that we could schedule a monthly date at McDonald's. We embraced.
This experience taught me the importance of being courageous enough to extend an invitation, to offer a warm hello and a smile. Had she not dropped her quarter, introductions would not have been made and our lives would not have been graced by one another’s presence. Thank goodness she dropped that quarter.
Be strong and courageous,