So there I was yesterday, driving to points north for a meeting with another team. Recent changes in our company have created opportunities for many, including me. But with those opportunities come changes and with those changes come new responsibilities and with those new responsibilities come questions and concerns. I think most just want to get it right, but we’re moving so fast right now that many are afraid to ask for help.
That’s where this meeting came in. Talking with another Manager, she referenced the changes to her team and how a responsibility our departments share has raised a lot of questions.
“Is there any way you’d be available to walk us through this sometime?”
“Sure, how about Thursday.”
This is a role that I enjoy most: mastering a task and helping others master it, too. It’s not new, I’ve done it my entire career, but sometimes the ability to share like this gets replaced by other tasks at hand.
Windows down, sunshine in my face, I drove past a “Big Boy” restaurant and I felt it. A pinch. I thought of him: Grandpa to the boys, Step-Dad to the hubbs. Father-in-law to me. Elderly. Widowed. Alone.
I called and, of course, got his answering machine. No surprise for he’s never answered numbers he doesn’t recognize. Listening to his stern message scolding solicitors and anyone daring prey on this ex Military policeman, I chuckled. I identified myself, told him where I was off to, and that I’d be back in about 2 hours .. just in time for lunch at Big Boy, if he was free, that is.
About 40 minutes later, my phone rang. The tutorial was already underway but I excused myself to take the call, something told me I knew who it was.
“Hi, this is John. I’m up for lunch – what time?”
Military man – man of few words — direct and to the point. I like that. We worked out the details with me promising to call when I was on my way back. Arriving at the restaurant first, I couldn’t help but notice all of the other elderly gentlemen dining …. alone.
In he came, grinning, and big hugs were exchanged. We laughed a lot, ordered our lunch, and chatted some more. He told me how they liked to stop here after her Wednesday hair appointments. He ordered the “Slim Jim” with the comment “it was her favorite.” We talked about the passing of George Jones and how she’d be tapping her toe in Heaven, now that George and Tammy were reunited again.
We talked of my Mom and sister’s upcoming visit and plans for barbeques he’s invited to and, before long, it was time to go. More hugs, more smiles, and I think I heard a whistle as he walked to his truck.
* “Near You” was played at her funeral
“A lonely day is God’s way of saying that he wants to spend some quality time with you.” – Criss Jami