I was in line at the post office the other day.  I was incredibly cranky because I had to go over my lunch hour, the queue stretched longer than a Soviet bread line.  I was the only person under 80, too.  Of course there was only one person working the line for 20 people.  It seems like their employees make $70,000 a year and full medical bennies for only working three hours a day.  Must be nice.  And the post office complains no one sends mail anymore?  REALLY?!  Grr.

I was on a wild goose chase; I was just looking for my latest eBay purchase that turned out to be in another state for no good reason.  I was exiting the building ready to punch someone in the neck.

I was caught walking out behind an older man probably in his 70s and only one of the two main doors was working.  I was pissed because he was taking his sweet time and I had places to be.  But then he stopped in his tracks to open the door to two women walking in.  They thanked him and he raised his cap brim and said, “Merry Christmas!”

I felt like a complete horse’s ass.

Here I was fuming about petty ante crap and this man had the manners of my maternal grandfather who was a Southern gentleman through and through.  He held the door open for any woman, helped us in and out of the car, held chairs out for ladies, never swore, never said an unkind word about anymore…they really don’t make them like him anymore.

How could I be impatient with a man who had Grandpa Charlie’s old-fashioned, yet timeless and impeccable manners?  His simple act of courteousness spoke volumes to a sadly bygone era and in that minute I missed my grandpa intensely.

But that was no reason not to recognize this man for being a sweetheart.  I usually don’t talk to strangers but I piped up, “Why can’t guys MY age have manners like you?!”  He held the door open for me with a twinkle in his eye.  I smiled at him and said, “If you were ten years younger..” I half-joked, half-flirted (I’m in my 30s).

“I appreciate that, young lady, but I’m spoken for,” he said with a grin and went on his way.

What a lucky wife!

I drove back to work realizing this season is about more than the hassle or traffic, waiting in line, dealing with jackasses…it’s about honoring the memory of loved ones who have gone on.  It’s about appreciating the beauty of random acts of kindness.  And stopping for just a minute to remember there is a big world outside of your own little one…and it’s up to us to make it a better place.


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