it *will* be a good year

Aside from the polar vortex that is crippling the northern chunk of America lately, most of us have recovered from the holiday season, half way forgotten New Year’s resolutions, and returned to the daily work grind. I actually went back on Thursday, but normalcy returned somewhat today, Monday.

The past year and some change, I’ve been working as a vendor for a home improvement chain. (I’ll give you three guesses, but for the sake of Indoobian continuity I’m going to name it The Depot.) As a vendor, it’s my job to service multiple stores in my area. So twice a week I visit the Depot in Brewster, and twice a day I meet an elderly man named Joe

Joe comes to the Depot to walk around the store with a shopping cart everyday for exercise. There’s nothing odd about this since I first encountered a similar scenario at the mall… hence the term “mall walkers.” But Joe is a bit different. While I believe he’s there for exercise, he also seems to be there just to be out. He likes to share a few words whenever he walks by me when he’s working. Always commenting on my workload or just asking how my day is going. Always with a smile on his face. Always that kind of smile that looks like he’s ready to go into hysterical laughter. And he doesn’t move too quickly. So when you see him coming, you can afford to take a break to say hi and hear what kind words he shares.

I wasn’t until just before Christmas did I start to wonder more about Joe’s life because of one of our brief conversations.

“Are you going to be spending time with your family?” he asked.

“Oh yeah, just my immediate family this year at home.” I said.

He continued smiling, “That’s good. Being with your family is good. Enjoy that. Hey, have a merry Christmas.”

“You too,” I said, as he started to roll down the aisle. There seemed to be a slight sadness, or maybe loneliness in what he said. It was really kinda heartbreaking.

Then I see him today. He actually laughed today, mostly because it appeared to him like I was hiding behind a display. I really wasn’t, I was putting something away behind the display… but whatever makes him happy, who am I to take that away from him? He greets me as usual and we have our small talk. But before he leaves, he gives me a look with his glossy blue eyes, and classic smile and says “It will be a good year.” It still had that flair of loneliness to it, but with a strong hint of hope.

And even though we barely know each other, I felt like we both knew good things are coming our way. I really loved the confidence in his voice that it will be a good year. I don’t know what kind of a year it was for Joe in 2013, but I pray this year be a good one for him. I’d like to think he’d be doing the same for me.

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January 2014
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