Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Words of Wisdom . . .

I've been thinking about my grandmother a lot lately. She's been gone for a few years now, but I still feel her very much as a presence in my life. They say that a person never really dies, that a part of them still lives on in everyone's lives that they touched.

I like that...

But the thinking I've been doing lately isn't so much about how she's gone, but about the things that she has taught thing, in particular, has been very much front-and-center in my mind lately.

My grandmother was the type of person who could figure out how she was related to just about anyone she came into contact with. A phone call to an operator in another state turned into an hour plus phone call figuring out this little gal was a second cousin through aunt so-and-so's side of the family.


She loved to sit and "people watch" but, even more, she loved to meet new people. I don't know where that courage came from but that woman would approach pretty much anyone who would hold still long enough for her to strike up a conversation. Complete strangers left her feeling as if they had made a new friend....and they had.

We were out to lunch and getting ready to leave when she stopped to compliment a lady on how lovely her silver hair looked (and it was done up nicely, I admit it, but I wouldn't have stopped to tell her so) They struck up a good fifteen minute conversation over this, that and the other before we finally made our way to the car.

Another time we were walking through a bargain basement store (grandma loved her bargains and "treasure finding" in out-of-the-way spots and yard sales). We passed a young lady walking around through the aisles, singing quietly along with the music piped in through the store speakers. After a few minutes of this, grandma approached this surprised little gal in order to tell her just how beautiful her voice was. Another good 5-10 minutes of conversation continued before we all wandered off again in our own little "treasure hunts"...but I noticed that gal still smiling, even as she paid for her purchases and headed out the door...a smile when she hadn't worn one before grandma's compliment.

It was at this time I asked my grandmother and asked her how was it she always stopped to talk to complete strangers out of the blue....I wasn't upset, just curious....goodness knows I didn't have that kind of courage, and I wanted to know where in the world she mustered hers from.

She told me that once she thought something complimentary about another person that it no longer belonged to her, but rather to the person that she had thought it of.... and she was always sure to give that compliment to its proper owner.

She was the sweetest person I ever knew and always tried to leave the people she met a little happier than how she'd found them.

I don't approach strangers as much as she did....I am still far too self-conscious for that....but I do go out of my way to compliment people whenever I can garner up that courage. Trust me, I still have a long way to go...but then, is it fair for me to grudgingly hold onto someone else's property? At least, that's the argument I use whenever I try to screw up the courage to approach someone when I am hesitant.

I get some funny looks sometimes, but, more often than not, people stop, smile, and thank me for noticing something that maybe they had not.

Its amazing how something that requires no real cost, no ribbons or bows, can still brighten up someones day.

Thank you grandmababy, for being such a wonderful role model for me to try to follow.


Corine said...

That is a BEAUTIFUL tribute, Shawan. And I'm guessing it is about Grandma Scott. :D If not... it fit's her, too. I always LOVED being around her, and live my life much the way she did as you descrige her here; she was one of the sweet people who influenced my life for good.

Thanks for sharing! :D

Shawna said...

Yes, this is about Grandma Scott...I was going to add a picture of her and then realized I didn't have one scanned onto my computer. I'll probably edit this one later once I have a chance to get a picture uploaded....I know Lori made me a disk years ago with pictures of grandma and grandpa, but I have no idea what box its in.....

leah z said...

She sounds like a lovely woman -- though I have to admit, I'd be nervous to ride the NY subway with her.

Danielle said...

That is such an awesome way to think of a compliment. That it belongs to the person. I miss Grandma so much. You guys were so lucky to have all that time together! She was amazing and you are too!