Monday, March 20, 2017

The Kindness of Joyce

I saw my parents today. We went out to lunch and did some shopping. We do lunch and shopping well. Lemon Blueberry pancakes, the company of my Mom and Dad, Target, and Wegmans. What could be bad?
Over lunch we were reflecting upon last week's visit to the Philadelphia Flower Show. I had been wanting to go to the flower show for years. I hesitate to say it has been on my bucket list because that makes me think about dying, but yes, it has been on a bucket list of sorts. So I got tickets for myself, Sarah, Mom, and Dad, and off we went. The cars going to the flower show, combined with everlasting road construction and two days post heavy snowfall didn't make for easy traveling through the city, but two hours later we got there. We could see that parking was going to be an issue so Dad dropped Mom, Sarah, and myself off. Finding a location to pull over and open the van/ramp for me to get out had its own challenges, but Dad is city-driving savvy and he pulled it off. The intention was for us to go in and him meet us inside. Well, that never happened. Dad drove around for three hours and was never able to find a spot. In true Dad fashion he told us to take our time and he would come back for us when we were done.
So that is what we did. The flowers and displays were beautiful! I was most impressed with a display that a local high school did using Anne Frank as their subject. It included a building model that showed the inside of her hideaway home, an Anne Frank statue, and the gardens that would have been outside the home. Interspersed with the flowers were quotes from her diary that referenced the beauty of the flowers. It was quite moving.

After a bit, Sarah went off to find a snack and Mom and I went off to find the bathroom. The first bathroom we found had an "out of order" sign on the handicapped stall. No go. The second bathroom had a handicapped stall so we got on line. As we waited our turn we learned from the bathroom custodian that this bathroom was originally a men's room revamped into a women's room as the flower show draws more women. It had a handicapped stall, albeit smaller than most. (I am not sure why the men's room would have a smaller than most handicapped stall as wheelchair sizes are gender neutral.) Mom and I filed into the bathroom, commented on the urinals, and got to work. I was able to get my pwc in, but the door was definitely not going to shut, so Mom stood guard. I did what I needed to do, but then it was time to get up and that wasn't going to happen by myself, so Mom had to come in. Did I mention how small this stall was? Mom is small but there was no way Mom holding two purses and a jacket, the pwc, and me were all going to fit into the stall. Something had to give. Mom turned to her left and asked the bathroom custodian if she could hold our bags. She took them without hesitation. Mom was then able to SQUEEZE in, and help me up. And when I finally got out of the stall, giggling at the hilarity of it all, there was the bathroom custodian watching our purses, giggling along with us. She could see that I was struggling to reach the water and the soap, so without hesitation she assisted. As she was washing my hands, I thanked her and asked for her name. She said "Joyce". Joyce handed me the paper towels, held my hands and said "G-d bless you". We looked at each other in the eyes, smiled that deep sense of appreciation, and Joyce handed me the purses.
The flowers were beautiful, and I could breathe in the smell of hydrangeas and never tire of it, but it is the kindness and benevolence of Joyce, and the unselfishness of Dad that I will remember from that day.
Today Dad parked the van, the ramp lowered and I got out. I drove myself over to the sidewalk, face to the sunshine, watching my parents. They closed up the van, and together, like a well oiled machine, moved three shopping carts out of the way of other handicapped parking spaces. I smiled. I thought about Joyce, my Dad, my Mom and I giggling, kindness and the good feelings that you really can find anywhere if you just look. Today was a good day.

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