[personal profile] madwriter
Yesterday a campus e-mail went out announcing the sad news of the sudden death the night before of our head swimming coach here at Ferrum College, Tom Calomeris. I regret that I didn't get to know him very well. But he was a library regular - at least once a week he would come in to check out movies and sometimes books. He would always smile. He would always chat with me for a few minutes while he was here. There are a lot of people here who knew him a lot better than I did, so I was surprised when I realized how much I was going to miss seeing him around.

It never surprises me when I miss people I was close to for a long time, of course, and how much time can pass before I stop expecting to see them around the corner, or when I keep thinking of things I want to tell them. It doesn't surprise me how much I can miss people I never met in person but knew online for years, especially when those people died decades before there time, like our losing Jay Lake and Eugie Foster this year. But after I got over being knocked off guard realizing that I would miss someone I didn't know nearly as well as I should have, something obvious occurred to me that I'm ashamed of myself for not thinking of before.

It also occurred to me yesterday, and has bothered me ever since, that Coach Calomeris was almost always the one to say "Good to see you" first whenever he came to the library.

There are a lot of people and things out there telling you not to take your loved ones for granted. And those are great, and should be out there, because sometimes we do need reminders of that. But I don't know if there's anywhere out there reminding you to appreciate the ones you don't know as well. The co-worker in a different department. That customer who comes in now and again who always has something nice to say to or about you. The particular clerk at the store whose line you always want to get into. The mail carrier who leaves a card in your box on holidays. The owner of your favorite store or restaurant, the waitress who sneaks you a little extra onto your plate, the barrista who remembers exactly how you take your drink. And heck, maybe the librarian who always has a pretty good idea of what to recommend to you when you're looking for a new book or movie.

So this is that message. While you're remembering not to take your loved ones for granted and to make sure you tell them how much they mean to you, don't forget the people you interact with every day that you may hardly know, but make your life a little better for being there. Maybe not a big expression of emotion. But say something nice back to them, add a little to the tip, leave a card for your mail carrier too. Tell them first that it's good to see them.

Appreciation. When you get right down to it, it does just as much for ourselves as for the people we show it to.

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Madwriter

February 2015

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