It Was Nice

It was a nice day.

Ok, so the weather wasn’t a perfect 72-degrees, sunny day here in central PA. We’ve been talking a lot about the snow, ice, and coldness around town lately. Roads and bridges resembled a Dickens tale up and until yesterday as most staggering about have had enough. I saw the melting frustration in my customer’s eyes, however, as some sparkling ones, inside happy heads, approached my concession window – on top of bounce-in the-step bodies.

It was nice to see.

A sunny, 45-degree day can do this to defeated outlooks. As in most loving communities, the past few months have taken their toll on everyone. Nagging our collective souls: lingering election fatigue, a continuing unmasking of new information about the virus, national and local business struggles on how to survive, heroes of ours dying unexpectedly, personal and spiritual tussles within ourselves … and, of course, the weather.

I don’t know what, from that list or any other challenge, was on the heart of any one of my walk-up, special, fellow walk-abouts yesterday. I do know my mind wasn’t quite on task upon opening as a dear friend was in a cold, sterile hospital room being consulted about her ongoing (possible) newer treatment for cancer. Possible, parenthetically, because her cancer is a rare, unwelcomed friend that’s been hanging around a bit too long and she’s kinda tired of it needing attention. “What to do going forward…?”, could have been one of the questions of the day swirling inside her always optimistic, outlooking window of a brain. “Is the treatment – and possible side-effects – worth it?… Do I want to go through all this, again, for a third time? … Just what, exactly, is my body doing with this cancer that I need to know?… “. Her thoughts were unknown to me. My thoughts about keeping sodas cold, or over-grilling a few burgers took a back-burner for a moment as the quiet of pre-opening a concession trailer during a rather nice February weather day took shape.

She was one. One person who wasn’t in-person, but on my mind as the protective, hinged roof rose to start my day. The sun did shine through my less-than clean windows – sliding their way across north and south. I did find my way through the emotional morning, though. Sales are like that. Turning a switch as my first customer sauntered his way up to my window … happily so. I like this moment. Happy is transferable. Smiles spread well. An insincere smile, they say, is better than a sincere frown.

He appeared happy. I knew it was going to be this way. After all, the weather brings out happy when – after weeks of rain, snow, and ice – slightly-warm sunshine breaks through malaise sitting on folk’s vitalities.

It was nice to see.

Content and untroubled words continued throughout the day … as did warmth. Now, warmth, in this context, was 45-degrees and a slight glare I could finally see reflecting off of the gray pavement a few feet below where I stood inside. Salt residue crunched under the feet of an increased number of folks who saw 8-foot banners my irresponsible self at last decided to hang back up. It was these wonderful right-of-spring, bright red “Hot Dog” flags waving in the mild breeze I loved to watch yesterday in between thinking about my friend and waiting on customers … wondering what they were thinking each time one would walk up to my window. Yes, It wasn’t spring. We’re 21 days away, but there was a definite spring in their step.

It was nice to see.

I need a day like that. A day to see other people. A day to be sad about what my friend is going through and a day to be extremely glad to enjoy the sun, the breeze, the opportunity to be in business … and share the happy in other people’s lives. One ordered just a plain dog and was simply joyous to do so. Another came by later – after passing by earlier in a hurry, unable to stop – and was plainly contented ordering five sandwiches … talking about life with me as I prepared his order. A long time casual friend, out and about, needing some time with me to chat up the weather in his life. A somewhat stormy, but familiar life. The sunset, to him, was so welcoming. I got it. I really did.

It was nice to … hear.

That was the day to me. Customers, friends online and off. I did hear from my dear friend as she returned home later in the day. A sunny, some-what warm day for everyone … including her. The sun knows no problems we face down here on this floating home of ours. It knows only what it can give to us – bright, warm faces and hope for a better tomorrow. I saw glimpses of that yesterday … in myself and in the eyes of so many others as they casually, yet intentionally, walked a few steps away from their cars to my slightly speckled windows I never did take time to clean. Windows I closed, seven hours after opening. With more optimism, I drove home on dusk-laden roads knowing happiness during those warmer hours meant something. A sunny, 45-degree day can do this.

It was just … nice.

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