Sunday, February 17, 2008

What's Important?

I hafta' tell you how proud I am.

Today I talked with my second son, Andy. He lives north of Detroit about two hours from here, so we don't see each other that often. Because of that, I don't always know what's happening in his life. You know, I get the big picture, but not the details.

Today he called just to chat. We were talking about all the snow days his kids have already had this year. Last week they again had a lot of snow, but his older daughter, Kaitlyn, surprisingly had school. He had the day off, so he kept his younger daughter, Lauren, home from daycare with him.

I asked what they did.

The made the usual rounds; work to pick up his check, the bank to deposit it, Home Depot for a hot dog and someplace else for another food item. But here is the part that just melted my heart.

After all those stops they drove over to Mr. Barnes. This is a 90 year old man that Andy keeps an eye on. Mr. Barnes is a customer of the tire store Andy manages. But Andy knows that Mr. Barnes has no one to watch over him. So on Andy's day off, he spends an hour or two chatting it up with Mr Barnes. Andy says that Mr Barnes always has a "project" for Andy -- something that pleases Andy to do. Recently he put some tar on the roof of one of the old barns.

My parents did the same thing. When we moved to Lyndonville, NY, our next door neighbor, Mrs. Smith, was in her late 80's and even though she had children in town, they didn't seem to be around much or at all. My parents took on the job of watching over Mrs. Smith. She didn't even have a phone, so they went over every day just to make sure everything was okay. On Sundays they sent over a plate of our dinner, because Mrs. Smith didn't like to leave her house. I mowed her lawn for her, although she did pay me 35 cents to do it. It was fun to sit and talk with her about her childhood.

I am so proud of my son that he will spend his valuable time helping someone else. I'm sure that he has a thousand projects around the house that need his attention, but he gives to Mr. Barnes first. Andy knows what's important.

Really I am speechless. I don't think I even begin to give half so much of myself.

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