Story Hunter.

Posted: March 24, 2018 in Uncategorized

I discovered three amazing stories today.
It was like unearthing hidden treasure.
It’s a curious thing…
I could have easily missed it if I wasn’t paying attention.
They were hiding there in plain sight.

The first story came to our house.
He was a repairman there to work on our dish washer.
He was the rarest of repairmen, he actually got there on time!
He possessed a slow southern drawl, a cool graying bouffant hairstyle and an American flag patch on his sleeve.
We discovered that, he too has a granddaughter that he calls Moonpie.
His Moonpie is a teenager, our Moonpie is about to turn 1.
We talked about our love for Moonpies, both the grandkid type and the delicious marshmallowy treat type. He was suddenly craving a Moonpie and an orange Nehi.
He grew up on the Carolina coast.
We talked about bowhunting, and deer, and where to get really good barbecue in Charleston.
It’s a curious thing…
If you listen you can hear people dream out loud…
He has a curious dream, He wants to hunt in Iowa. He has hunted all over the East coast and he has heard stories about the cornfields in Iowa being a big buffet table for deer.
We love Iowa.
We have special friends and family in Iowa, we are hoping someone has some land that he can bow-hunt on.
He fixed our dishwasher problem and gave us homespun advice about how to keep it working.
We made a friend.
He became part of our story.

The next story showed up on our sidewalk.
She was wearing pigtails.
We were walking the Moonpie, pushing her around the cul de sac in a rainbow colored stroller.
The little girl that our neighbor watches, came over to talk.
I think she is 4.
It’s a curious thing…
She was carrying an old tire pump, the kind that you use on bicycles.
I thought “hmmm, that’s curious…”
I asked if she was working on bikes.
She informed me that she is a doctor and that she was going around the neighborhood offering her services. She was using the tire pump to blow people’s lips up. I’m pretty sure that she was trying to practice some weird form of unregulated organic Botox.
Clearly, this child has watched some reality TV.
She sweetly offered to use the tire pump on the Moonpie.
I said “ummmm…no thanks, we wouldn’t be blowing up her face today”.
She sighed, stroked my granddaughter’s hair, and said “okay, her’s so sweet”.
She told me that she really wants a baby sister but, her parents really aren’t up for the challenge.
I told her that I understand.
She became part of our story.

Finally, we met an elderly gentleman at the card counter at Wal-Mart.
He had a lifetime etched into his face, and on top of that face sat a Dallas Cowboys hat. I commented “are you a Dallas fan?” Suddenly he pointed at me with one bony hand, balled up his other fist like he was ready to punch me.
“Are we gonna have a problem?” He asked with a mischievous spark in his eyes. He is used to people giving him a hard time about his choice of team. I assured him that I’m a Cowboys fan too.
It’s a curious thing…
Everything changes when you realize that you are on the same team.
He has lived in North Carolina all his life, but early on, he decided that the Cowboys were his team.
On his face, under the ball cap, there was the strength, tenacity and character that comes with growing up as a black man in the south in the mid 1900s.
There was hardship and hope in his face, the kind of courage that comes with doing what you have to do every single day.
I don’t know why we try to hide the wrinkles on our faces, they are the roadmap to our journey.
He was picking out a birthday card for his wife. She is turning 76. He asked us to help him find a card. So, Diana, our new friend, and me looked through a lot of brightly colored cards.
Finally, Diana found one that he thought was perfect.
He and his wife are also celebrating their 56th anniversary this week. They are having a big party with a roomful of friends and family who, he was quick to point out, are all buying their own dinner.
We also met his wife, she had been in the back of the store looking for a new pillow. There was a beautiful story written on her face too, but it was getting late.

The greatest treasure that I can collect is story.
It only happens through observation, interaction, and listening. I have to slow down and be present. I have to look strangers in the face and start conversations that magically transform them into friends.
I need to live with the constant awareness that every single human that I encounter today has a story, and each story can make ME a wiser, richer, better human being.
Like the pirate I am, I go in search of treasure today.

What stories surround you?
It’s a curious thing…

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