Kindness of Strangers
You may have seen me in Narragansett Pier last Saturday afternoon.
I was the chick shuffling along the seawall in flip-flops and an aqua cover-up, balancing my beach bag in one hand, while clutching this lovely white floral centerpiece, along with its glass vase, against my right hip, trying not to spill too much water.
The theme of the day? Kindness of strangers.
It was our first visit to the beach this year. Sigh. I know. We live in the Ocean State. But I've realized that giving yourself complete permission to mark off a single day on your calendar, to sit in the sand and watch the waves lap at the shore is something that most people beyond the age of 22 rarely do.
It's more adult, read: productive, to run around on these beautiful days and do errands. Or laundry. Or clean the house.
Completely wrong. We will fix this.
Narragansett is an outstandingly special spot for Andre and I. Way back in the spring of 1992, when I was a student at URI, and in the midst of my daily walk on Ocean Road, someone shouted from the window of a passing automobile, "Hey, sexy!", then stopped 100 feet ahead. (He'll deny it.)
A girl with street smarts would have turned around when they didn't recognize the car. But I wasn't finished with my work-out, so I continued on my path, naturally, while peering out of the corner of my eye at a safe distance. Thankfully, it was only Andre, my co-worker from the Showcase Cinemas, who also lived in the neighborhood.
The start of our special place.
Last Saturday, Andre and I were looking for a spot to sit on Narragansett Town Beach (the BEST in the state), when someone Andre used to work with spied us. We've run into Vinny before near the beach, but truthfully I don't even think he knows my name. There was a couple minutes of small talk before Vinny said:
"I'm glad you guys are still together."
Aw. Beyond sweet. His words, along with the truly perfect weather, was more than enough to make this beach day memorable. But there was more to come.
On the way back to the car, we walked beneath The Towers, where our wedding reception was held back in 1999. Pure magic. The door was open, so we went inside to look at the pictures of the historic casino that were hanging in the lobby.
Maybe a minute after our arrival, I could hear someone struggling at the front door with something heavy. I turned to Andre and said, "Maybe someone could use your help."
The someone was Towers coordinator, Kate, a passionate steward of the historic building. She remembered us from over 14 years ago, and our passions--photography and writing. When I commended her on her memory, I occurred to me that maybe it wasn't so much her recall, but our stories, and who we are as people, that made us stand out.
She took us on a tour of the upstairs banquet hall, set up for an evening wedding, including a stop on the truly breathtaking outside deck, with its panoramic views of the shore. Here, Kate pointed out an osprey in the water and told us how when the seagulls followed fish at night, they look like white butterflies fluttering over the water.
When we were leaving, Kate presented me these flowers, leftover from a reception the night before. I was beyond touched by her beautiful gesture. And I was once again struck by the fact that some of the most powerful positivity in my life has not come from traditional sources, but from surprising places when I least expected it.
It was also a further reminder that if you listen to the universe, it will always give you what you need.
And what you deserve.