I know my children are cute, but I often forget how cute until someone else tells me. When my daughter sat down next to you on the bench where patrons wait for tables, I honestly thought she’d get in your way. I was moving in to make sure she didn’t bother you and I quickly realized that wouldn’t be necessary. Instead, you turned to her and spoke to her like she was a grown up, and I don’t know if you noticed, but she loves being talked to like a grown up.
In today’s world, there’s nothing simpler while waiting for a table than to pull out a cell phone and hop on Facebook or Twitter, or send a text to a friend. You showed my daughter that it’s okay to meet new people, to joke with strangers as long as mom and dad are around, or to pass the time without a screen in your face. You held her attention by telling her stories and asking her questions about her favorite subject—her—and she giggled as she had to practically yell her answers back to you.
Because in a world where it’s hard to trust new people, you showed us that there are still those out there who aren’t evil. You complimented her purse and her blond hair. Your wife asked how our youngest child got his red hair, and my wife explained that it came from my side of the family. Truth be told, we adopted our children, and they don’t take anything from our genes. We didn’t want to bother you with that, besides, they aren’t adopted to us, they’re our kids.
Because I heard you tell her that I was a gentleman. All I did was get up when a woman walked in with a walker, and I really hope that anyone would have done the same. It’s nice to be recognized for our actions once in a while though, and I want my daughter to look up to me, and I think what you told her will carry a lot of weight. Sometimes she needs to hear a stranger say her old man is all right.
Because you married a woman just as nice as you are. Because she asked us questions, told us how cute our kids are, and was just an all-around pleasant person to talk to. I’d love to hear the story about how you two met, and how you fell in love. I’m sure that she was attracted to your kindness and to your toughness. I’d like to know how many years you’ve had together. What you’ve been through. How many kids you have. I hope you two have many more years of visiting Rib Crib.
Because, somehow, we left the restaurant at the same time and you asked me, “Where’s my little girl?” And then you stood and held the door open for my daughter and told her goodbye. You showed her you’re a gentleman yourself, and you’re also another person who was kind to her. If you knew the life she came from, you’d know how much that means to her.
Because on the way to the truck, my daughter looked at me and laughed, and talked about how you were from Boston, and how you kept saying your “cah was in the pahking lot.” She said you told her your wife fought in the Civil War, and she thought that was hilarious. She said you were funny, and nice, and all the things young people are looking for in older people.
So thank you, gentleman we met while waiting for a table at Rib Crib. I didn’t get your name, I don’t know where you live, and I wish I had a little more time to talk to you. Maybe one day I’ll see you again and I’ll get to thank you personally. Maybe I won’t. And just in case I don’t, I want the world to know how much your small gesture of kindness meant to me, the father of the little girl whose heart you won.
For those of you having a bit of trouble with the title, I’ve illustrated it for you.
|Disclaimer: Not my actual heart.|
If you’re still having trouble, I meant “from the bottom of my heart.”
Just what exactly am I trying to tell you from the bottom of my heart?
The answer to that is “Thank You.”
You see, I got a message the other day from someone, and it made me realize that I have the most supportive network of friends in the world. I’ve been stewing on it all weekend, trying to figure out how I can thank you all without spending a whole lot of money in the process. I was actually going to mail you all iPad 3s, but The Missus stopped that from happening. Something about needing to feed our kids and pay bills. She’s a bit of a killjoy.
In all seriousness, I want to thank you all for supporting me, this blog, and all of the crazy things I try. I realize that Facebook has become sort of the driving force behind this piece of Internet heaven, and so I want to give a special shout-out to all of you who have liked, commented on, or shared something I have written. The same goes for the Twitter friends out there retweeting and mentioning posts.
Another shout-out should go to the emailers, who forward my blog’s links, or just tell others about them.
And still another to all the “word of mouth” folks who send their people my way.
And yet I probably wouldn’t be doing this today if it weren’t for the “blog friends” I’ve made along the way. Some have come and gone, but others have stuck around, and keep supporting me in what I’m doing, which has to be hard, because most of the time *I* don’t know what I’m doing. So I want to thank y’all as well.
As far as spending money on you, you should all know that right now, I am having to hook up to my phone as a modem to type this and post it. So I’m using my data plan. Which means that this whole thing is going to set me back about .42 cents. If you break that down across my entire support network, you’re all actually getting a small chunk of that sweet, sweet Travis money.
There are things I still want to try. I want to write a book. I want to get up on stage again. I want to become a motivational speaker that makes people laugh and then helps them through problems. I want to get through college. And I want to hug each and everyone of you really hard and awkwardly while I’m doing all that other stuff. And knowing that you’re there, supporting me, will give me a lot of the strength I need to do those things.
*Except for the hugs. I’m already strong enough for really awkward hugs.
I know this is a blog, and is therefore a tad impersonal. I understand that you’re just reading the words that I put here, and you have no idea if I actually mean them or not. But I’m here to tell you, when I got the message that instigated this whole post, I sat back on my couch, smiled, and thanked God for each and everyone of you. I was, and still am, enormously grateful for all of you, and the daily interaction that we have.
So I’ve reached the end, and maybe you’re still not happy. Maybe you want your very own personalized blog post, Facebook post, Twitter update, autographed headshot, or Skype call. I absolutely understand that, and I would LOVE to do it for you. Shoot me an email, fire a text my way, message me on The Book, or DM me on The Twitter Machine, or simply comment down below. Give me the details, and whatever you want is yours. You can find the way to get in touch with me on social networks in the top right hand corner of the blog, and also the “Contact Info” tab just under the header.
I seriously love you all. And once again, I thank you. From the deepest recesses of the apex of my cardiac muscular tissue bottom of my heart, I thank you.I’m not a funeral guy.
Also, if you want something funny here today, go away. Yeah, I know that I’m a funny guy, at least funny looking, but the truth is, sometimes I need to be serious.
The Missus’ best friends grandfather passed away a few days ago, and the funeral was yesterday.
The man was 87 years old.
He was a pilot in the Air Force, and he loved flying. As they listed his accolades and honors, I felt something stirring inside me. It took me a moment to figure out what it was, and then I identified it. It was pride.
This man served his country, and he lived to tell about it.
They told a story about how in his final days, when his mental facilities were failing him, he sat up in his hospital bed, and pretended he was flying an airplane. He told one of the grandkids to “move the table” in the hospital room, so he could land the plane. He loved flying so much, it became his escape from his sickness.
The Air National Guard was at the funeral, and they gave him military honors. I was enraptured by the precision of it all, and the genuine respect in those young mens eyes as they folded the flag and gave it to the widow of an American Soldier.
Towards the end of it all, I was surprised to find not only a lump in my throat, but a lump in my calf as well. As I wondered why my leg was cramping, it hit me. I had been standing at attention the entire time. Without even realizing it.
Now, I am the last person you’d expect to do anything military. The concept of me at attention is probably baffling you. But there I was, back straight, hands to sides, knees locked, eyes straight ahead.
As the gun shots went off in salute, I experienced a moment of total and unadulterated pride. Pride in being a part of this country. Pride in the men and women who daily get up and help keep safe my life and my freedoms.
I guess you could say that the reality of Veterans Day really hit me yesterday. I realized that these people SHOULD have a day where they are honored. To be truthful, it should be more than one day. Each one of us should spend a little bit every day just being appreciative of the sacrifice that is made. Not just the sacrifice of life, but with time, with body, and with mind.
I try not to repeat myself too much here on this blog, but today I want to say a real thank you to our country’s service personnel. As Thanksgiving approaches, you can be sure that they will be mentioned in my prayers, and they will be thought of often.