Bits and Pieces

Thursday, February 24, 2005


As many of you know, I read electricity meters for a living. I walk around suburban streets in my big red jacket and chat to folks all day, and I love every minute of it. Apart from the awful salary its a fantastic job. I speak to my boss about once a week and I can set my own hours.

Anyway... I was visiting a town around 6 miles from my home yesterday, reading on a small cul-de-sac of around 10 houses. Unfortunately nobody answered at any of the houses, and I was getting a little frustrated since I have a target to hit and the snow was coming down heavily. As I reached the last house on the street I noticed that the front lawn was covered - literally covered - in bouquets of flowers. I haven't seen so many since Princess Diana died. I called over to a kid across the street and asked if someone had died. He told me that the wife of the owner passed away last week, and everybody on the street was at the funeral. So, I left with the intention to go back today.

I got back to the street this morning. The snow was ridiculously deep, and as I slipped and slid up the pavement I noticed that the husband was out in the garden, slowly carrying the flowers into his garage and laying them carefully down on the floor. He looked around 70, and was obviously having difficulty walking on the lawn. I walked over and told him I'd come to read his meter, and helped him move the last few bouquets to the garage.

We chatted for a few minutes as I read the meter, and I have to say that I was humbled by his attitude. He'd been married many years, and his wife died after a long illness. He didn't go into the details but it was obvious that his wife had succumbed after a long, painful fight. After I finished the job we stood in the doorway for a few minutes. He offered me a drink but I didn't want to impose, so we just spent a few minutes passing the time of day.

I didn't want to leave. I felt so sorry for the poor guy - but it warmed my heart that he took everything life threw at him in such good humour. I can only hope that when I get to that age - and God willing I'll have shared a long life with a woman I loved dearly - that I'll be able to take that kind of tragedy with such stoicism, and display such poise.

So, silly as it may be, I'm glad there are people like him in the world. It's good to know that there's still some good, down to earth folk around.
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