Today’s Word from Mark Winslow…
Recently, I was out in my old neighborhood of Snohomish. We lived right in town, for most of the 50s and 60s. At that time, it was a sleepy little town. Mostly just a bunch of old houses that are now referred to as “historic.” I took this photo while retracing the steps of my old paper route.
Shortly after my 11th birthday, some 50+ years ago, I decided that I needed a job so I could make a little money. No allowance at our house! So, I approached my mom about helping me to get a paper route. The Everett Herald was our local afternoon paper. My mom contacted the circulation manager for The Herald in Everett. He informed her that I was too young for a paper route. Her response to that was that I was capable of handling it, and my dad would take a few hours off of work for a few afternoons, to teach me the route. The manager agreed to give me a chance.
One of my stops along the way was an old eight-unit apartment building. On the ground floor, on the right-hand side, there was a little apartment. In the window facing the street sat an “old lady,” looking out her window. My dad must have taken notice of her. She was sitting in that chair for the first few days.
On the third or fourth day, my dad suggested that I knock on her door, and offer to read her the weather forecast, which was located on the front page, on the bottom right-hand corner. This was not something I was really interested in doing, but I followed orders.
When I knocked on the door, I heard a woman’s voice announcing for me to “come in.” Once again, I followed orders.
The apartment was very small. In front of me sat a heavyset woman, wearing a dress and apron, at her little kitchen table. I immediately noticed that her eyes did not seem to be working properly, even though she wore glasses. She was what we refer to as walleyed. She was a pretty scary site for an 11-year-old.
I asked her if she would like me to read the weather report to her. She didn’t say anything. So, I just read the two or three sentences, and put the paper next to her on the table. She had no response, so I just turned around and left. I followed the same orders for the next couple of days.
On the third or fourth day, after I had read the report, she offered me a little piece of hard candy. I reluctantly obliged her. The candy looked a little old too.
For the next 3 plus years I read her the weather report six days a week. Over that period of time, we became friends. When I gave up my paper route, I trained the new paperboy to follow the same practice as I had.
During these pandemic times, we have a lot of time to think about days gone by. I hold the memory of that relationship with the Weather Lady dear to my heart. Lessons learned from acts of kindness can be very long lasting.
Maybe there is a Weather lady in your life. Maybe you are the Weather Lady, or possibly the father, or the mother, or the paper boy. Whatever role you might play, my suggestion is that you draw back the curtains, and be willing to receive a kind act. Or teach your child, or grandchild, a lesson in kindness.
Who knows, that memory may last you a lifetime. My weather forecast is for brighter days ahead!
TLC Member, Mark Winslow