Every single time I see or even think about snow, I am reminded of an experience I had one Thanksgiving Eve. I had attended a service at St. Lawrence Episcopal Church in Libertyville and was filing out of the building like everyone else. It was snowing. There was a woman walking next to me with her son of about 5 years of age. I said to the woman, “Snow is a four-letter word.” The little boy replied, “S-N-O-W.”
Innocence is such a beautiful thing. That child took my statement literally, and created a memory that may last for as long as I live.
Something I saw in Krakow, Poland was equally as charming. A girl of about 5 was feeding the pigeons on the big square in the middle of the city, and getting excited about seeing the birds go after the seeds she was dropping. Oblivious to the danger of horse-drawn carriages passing by, the child held her hands up, waiting anxiously for her mother to keep handing her seeds so the birds would keep coming her way. The glee on her face was palpable.
Believe it or not, at age 66 I still feel relatively oblivious to many of the ways of the world, and have little desire to be enlightened. I have had disappointments such as divorce, the death of loved ones, and job loss, but basically have had a pleasant existence. When I compare my life to what I have read in the relatively recent trilogy by Greg Isles, I feel fortunate indeed. In those fascinating and entertaining tomes, people are murdered, buildings are burned, and lives are destroyed by all sorts of random and not-so-random acts. Reading the Chicago newspapers is not exactly inspirational either.
My sister, God love her, worries about me here near Chicago. I do not go into the city very often, but when I do, I take the train and feel perfectly safe walking to wherever I want to go, usually to a concert or a restaurant. There are always people around, and all are pretty much looking out for themselves. There are beggars on the street, but they are ultimately harmless. I live in a suburb almost to Wisconsin that is quite placid, except for commuter traffic. I even live in the corner of neighborhood so nobody is simply driving by at all.
I look to live another 25 years or so, playing the piano, studying German, and doing all the other things to keep my life interesting and my brain active. But even when I plan as much I do, there is often something delightfully unexpected around the corner.
Here’s hoping that whatever comes my way is a whole lot of F-U-N.