Have you ever started a conversation with, “You probably don’t remember me, but when I was a kid, you [insert story]. And I will never forget that.” ?
Or maybe there was always someone you admired for having done something quietly and without fanfare and you know only because you were a passerby?
Today, during our lunch at COTUS (Coffee Shop of the Un-Dead), one of our favorite waiters stopped by and told us that a man asks after our family whenever he is in the diner. The waiter couldn’t remember his name, but he said man always said the parents in the family (Mom and Dad) were wonderful people, did wonderful things for the community and raised fine children.
Apparently, we come in earlier in the day than he does and we come on the weekends, and he comes mostly during the week. So we don’t see each other.
After some (mild) interrogation, we determine the identity of the man. Both families went to the same synagogue and 38-43 years ago, his son and we all went to the same elementary school and played in the neighborhood. In later years, Mom and Dad saw more of the man and his wife socially. But very little after Mom died, although the man’s wife looked in on Dad from time to time.
Here is a man who never seemed to be listening while someone else was talking, never seemed interested in anyone else, and never seemed to remember people he had met many times before.
Yet, he asks after Dad now and the family whenever he is in the diner and tells people about Mom and Dad and the good people they were and the good things they did, all these years later.
You never knew the reverberations of your good (and bad) deeds.