Group Writing: The Little Snippets of Life

 

Last Saturday was a relaxing day for Mrs. Tim and me.  There was nothing pressing on the schedule, so we slept in a bit.  Our daughter (Offspring #3, Daughter #1, or her preferred title – The Favorite Child – TFC) had to be at the bakery at 0600, so she was gone before we got up.

After rising, we had a light breakfast, tea, and cereal for Mrs. Tim, coffee for me (prepared in advance by TFC), and perused the morning paper (an old habit that is hard to break).  We discussed some of the news items and did the Word  Jumble.  But the main topic of conversation was a September trip to two different nieces’ weddings, which were a week apart, the first in Colorado, the second in Virginia.  The exciting part is that we began firming up plans to stop and visit with our favorite Ricochet member (@she) along the way.  That made us pretty happy.

Then, we went to the gym for a workout.  As we were leaving, we decided to get smoothies.  Mrs. Tim, a VERY considerate woman, called TFC to see if she wanted one.  Well, TFC was still at the bakery as they had lost a ticket for a groom’s cake (for that day), and she and a workmate were scrambling to get it done.  TFC said they’d like smoothies, so we got two extra and went to the bakery and I ran in to give them to TFC.  She spotted me, came over, and took them with an appreciative smile and an “I love you, Dad.”  That made me happy.

After a quick shower, we went to 1600 Mass at our church.  We’d asked to have a Mass said for my sister-in-law’s sister (who recently died of brain cancer) and for Boss Mongo; this was that Mass.  As they read the intentions, Mrs. Tim and I followed along as the lector asked the congregation to pray for Mary Elizabeth Greenstreet and LTC Brendan Welsh USA (ret).  We felt sad at their passing, but also happy that God gave us the opportunity to know them, even if only from afar.

After Mass, I delivered Communion to my 90-year-old mom, MamaTim, who hadn’t felt well enough to go to Mass.  We chatted for a bit, and I made her smile with some witty, off-color remarks.  She was happy I stopped by, and I was happy that I did.

For dinner, Mrs. Tim made baked zucchini and pasta as I grilled pork tenderloin.  After, we played a rousing, if somewhat slow-moving, game of Scrabble in which Mrs. Tim beat TFC by one point; yours truly coming in a poor third.  The meal was good, and the game was fun.  That made all of us happy.

Then, after TFC went to bed and Mrs. Tim settled down to her reading, I wrote this post, which made me happy.

But the thing that made the biggest impression that day occurred as we were driving to the bakery, and it took no more than ten seconds, if that.

We were driving down a busy street in a solidly middle-class neighborhood.  The houses were well kept, but rather close together; and the front yards were not very deep as the street had been widened after the neighborhood had been built.

As we drove along, we spotted an older white lady (maybe in her late 70’s) talking with a black gentleman (maybe in his fifties) in her driveway.   She was handing him a plastic grocery bag of what looked like fruit.  They were talking about it, examining the bag’s contents, both with big smiles on their faces.  As we passed, the black gentleman leaned down and gave the woman a heartfelt hug.  They were happy.

The very next house had a twenty-something couple, a man and a woman, casually dressed, posing for a picture in their front yard.  They were together, arms around each other, holding hands, with big smiles on their faces.  A woman, whom we presumed was the mother of one of the two, was taking the picture.  It looked like they were taking an engagement photo for their save the date postcard.  And they looked so happy.

As we drove on, Mrs. Tim said, “Little snippets of life.”  And I understood exactly what she meant.

In this busy, contentious world, we sometimes don’t appreciate the little things that make us happy, like planning to meet someone we hope will become a good friend, doing a little favor for our child, remembering friends that have gone before us, taking a little time to make a loved one happy, enjoying the company of those who are most precious to us, and being able to see others, even total strangers, experience joy in their lives.

What are your Little Snippets of Life, those little occurrences that made you stop and appreciate things?

Published in Group Writing
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  1. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Better than a smooth cup of coffee. This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under the August 2021 Group Writing Theme: “A day in the life.” Stop by to sign up for the August theme: “A day in the life.”

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Some Call Me …Tim: In this busy, contentious world, we sometimes don’t appreciate the little things that make us happy, like planning to meet someone we hope will become a good friend, doing a little favor for our child, remembering friends that have gone before us, taking a little time to make a loved one happy, enjoying the company of those who are most precious to us, and being able to see others, even total strangers, experience joy in their lives.

    Reminds me of when I was writing a series of elemental odes, like this one:

    Breakfast on the Wing

    I saw a bird today.

    Well, I probably see birds nearly everyday,
    but this one did something I’d never seen.
    He was standing on the concrete of a sidewalk
    as I was waiting at a traffic light.
    He was just a little brown bird,
    the sort of nondescript fellow you see in flocks
    on electrical wires,
    in the grass of lawns,
    or in trees.

    There was nothing really special
    or remarkable about him.
    Unless it was his hunger.
    Surely birds are hunting and foraging for food all the time,
    and maybe in that he wasn’t unusual.
    So maybe it was my seeing it that made this unusual?

    A small, white butterfly flew past his vision.
    The butterfly was also rather non-descript.
    Small.
    White.
    Nothing more.

    The bird hopped after the butterfly in chase.
    He hopped three or four times.
    The last hop assisted by his wings
    as he lifted six inches off the ground,
    about his own height,
    stretching out his neck and lifting his chin
    to snatch the butterfly out of the air.

    Just an ordinary day.
    Just an ordinary bird.
    Just an ordinary butterfly.
    Just an ordinary breakfast.
    So, why does it seem so magical?

    • #2
  3. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Glad I stopped to read your post.  Your “Little Snippets of Life” made me happy. 

    • #3
  4. Some Call Me ...Tim Coolidge
    Some Call Me ...Tim
    @SomeCallMeTim

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Glad I stopped to read your post. Your “Little Snippets of Life” made me happy.

    Thank you.  Glad it brought a smile to you. 

    • #4
  5. Some Call Me ...Tim Coolidge
    Some Call Me ...Tim
    @SomeCallMeTim

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Some Call Me …Tim: In this busy, contentious world, we sometimes don’t appreciate the little things that make us happy, like planning to meet someone we hope will become a good friend, doing a little favor for our child, remembering friends that have gone before us, taking a little time to make a loved one happy, enjoying the company of those who are most precious to us, and being able to see others, even total strangers, experience joy in their lives.

    Reminds me of when I was writing a series of elemental odes, like this one:

    Breakfast on the Wing

    I saw a bird today.

    Well, I probably see birds nearly everyday,
    but this one did something I’d never seen.
    He was standing on the concrete of a sidewalk
    as I was waiting at a traffic light.
    He was just a little brown bird,
    the sort of nondescript fellow you see in flocks
    on electrical wires,
    in the grass of lawns,
    or in trees.

    There was nothing really special
    or remarkable about him.
    Unless it was his hunger.
    Surely birds are hunting and foraging for food all the time,
    and maybe in that he wasn’t unusual.
    So maybe it was my seeing it that made this unusual?

    A small, white butterfly flew past his vision.
    The butterfly was also rather non-descript.
    Small.
    White.
    Nothing more.

    The bird hopped after the butterfly in chase.
    He hopped three or four times.
    The last hop assisted by his wings
    as he lifted six inches off the ground,
    about his own height,
    stretching out his neck and lifting his chin
    to snatch the butterfly out of the air.

    Just an ordinary day.
    Just an ordinary bird.
    Just an ordinary butterfly.
    Just an ordinary breakfast.
    So, why does it seem so magical?

    Nice poem. Thanks for sharing.  It is amazing how little things we would ordinarily overlook somehow make a lasting impression. 

    • #5
  6. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Most mornings Mr. Charlotte and I get up early to go to the gym. He is usually ready a few minutes before me. He fills my water bottle with ice and water while he’s waiting so I have a nice cold bottle to use during the workout. When we get home he usually gets cleaned up first which gives me an opportunity to put out the coffee and oatmeal and berries so breakfast is waiting for him when he’s done.

    I love the little snippets of life.

    • #6
  7. Some Call Me ...Tim Coolidge
    Some Call Me ...Tim
    @SomeCallMeTim

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Most mornings Mr. Charlotte and I get up early to go to the gym. He is usually ready a few minutes before me. He fills my water bottle with ice and water while he’s waiting so I have a nice cold bottle to use during the workout. When we get home he usually gets cleaned up first which gives me an opportunity to put out the coffee and oatmeal and berries so breakfast is waiting for him when he’s done.

    I love the little snippets of life.

    We have a similar routine on work days.  I am a Professional Man of Leisure now, but Mrs. Tim still slaves away in the salt mines (someone simply must make it possible for me to live in the style to which I have become accustomed).  So we get up together.  I fix her breakfast (usually tea and cereal), get the paper, make the bed, etc., so that she can have a smooth, calm morning before her workday.  I like doing it, and she appreciates it.  It’s nice.

    • #7
  8. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Some Call Me …Tim (View Comment):
    get the paper

    Get the paper?! Someone is still delivering papers?

    • #8
  9. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Some Call Me …Tim (View Comment):
    I am a Professional Man of Leisure now

    Congratulations. I cannot wait to be a Professional Woman of Leisure. Just think of how much time there will be for snippets then!

    • #9
  10. Some Call Me ...Tim Coolidge
    Some Call Me ...Tim
    @SomeCallMeTim

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Some Call Me …Tim (View Comment):
    I am a Professional Man of Leisure now

    Congratulations. I cannot wait to be a Professional Woman of Leisure. Just think of how much time there will be for snippets then!

    Well, you have to take a test to get certified as a PMoL and do continuing education to keep the certification current.  But the rewards are worth the effort.  The slower pace does give me the opportunity to see and appreciate things that I would otherwise miss.

    • #10
  11. Some Call Me ...Tim Coolidge
    Some Call Me ...Tim
    @SomeCallMeTim

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    Some Call Me …Tim (View Comment):
    get the paper

    Get the paper?! Someone is still delivering papers?

    Yep.  The modern saga of The Times-Picayune (local paper) was infuriating to the locals.  The TP was owned by a newspaper conglomerate with many papers.  Most were losing money, except for the TP which was making money.  In fact, the TP had enviable reach (I think that’s the correct term).  The percentage of households getting the paper was very high.  But in the name of cost-saving measures, the owners decided to cut production down to three days a week (Sunday, Wednesday, Friday), but promised to have a paper every Monday after a Saints game – a promise that they quickly broke.  As they broke very other promise them made to their readers.  So the owners, in trying to save money, almost destroyed the one paper making money.  When advertisers and subscribers complained, the owners basically to them to go f*** themselves.  What kind of businessman tells his two main sources of revenue to p*** off? 

    After refusing to sell the paper to buyers interested in keeping the TP open (including Tom Benson, owner of the Saints), they finally relented and sold it to the guy who published the Baton Rouge newspaper.  So now, it’s back to 7 days a week.  It’s an okay paper.  The editorial page is about 60-40 liberal to conservative; the sports coverage is good (they did an OUTSTANDING job during the Saints superbowl year), and the funnies are top-notch (any paper that carries Prince Valiant is ok in my book).  Bottom line, we just like reading the paper paper.

    • #11
  12. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Wait. . . you’re coming to Colorado in September?? Whereabout? If it’s the third week, we’re heading east, but if earlier, we should try for a meetup? PM me?

    • #12
  13. Some Call Me ...Tim Coolidge
    Some Call Me ...Tim
    @SomeCallMeTim

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Wait. . . you’re coming to Colorado in September?? Whereabout? If it’s the third week, we’re heading east, but if earlier, we should try for a meetup? PM me?

    Will do. 

    • #13
  14. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    What a beautiful post to discover the next day, along with my morning cup of coffee! Thanks for the shout-out, @somecallmetim, and I am greatly looking forward to our meeting in September, when I’ll be happy to give you both some tips on upping your game and winning at Scrabble.  (First and foremost–if you’re me–insist on allowing proper names.  Mine is full of awkward and high-scoring consonants, and if I can manage to put the right tiles together, I can win the game in one go: Those whose names are full of VCV’s (Very Common Vowels), probably not so much, but you get the idea…basically, it’s “cheat.”)

    I’m always touched by random acts of kindness from strangers.  They occur a lot out here, whether it’s the nice man at Tractor Supply who helps me get the bags of feed into the back of the car, or the couple that stops on the road to round up the sheep with me when a few of them have escaped the fence and are blocking the way.  (No one has ever been grumpy about that, and I’ve actually met a few neighbors who’ve become friends the latter way.)

    Yesterday, my snippet of life occurred as I drove from one end of the parking lot (Lowes) to the other end (Target).  Just before I reached my destination, I saw a young man (I should think he was about three) with an older lady (Grandma, maybe).  She was holding his hand and seemed to be teaching him to ‘look both ways’ before crossing the road at the marked pedestrian crossing.  There was very little traffic and I was a distance away, and going very slowly, but she saw me and waved me on.  I wanted to watch, so I stopped and waved them on.  They set out on their procession, she bending down and encouraging, he meandering across on his chubby little legs.  At some point, I think she must have said something like “hurry up, you’re holding up traffic,” and he pulled a face and started to wail, but kept going, and eventually they made it all the way across.  Big hug.  Big smile.  (Both of them.)  And we all waved to each other.  It was sweet.

    • #14
  15. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    She (View Comment):
    First and foremost–if you’re me–insist on allowing proper names.

    I’m scandalized.

    • #15
  16. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    First and foremost–if you’re me–insist on allowing proper names.

    I’m scandalized.

    I’ve been given ideas!

    • #16
  17. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    First and foremost–if you’re me–insist on allowing proper names.

    I’m scandalized.

    I’ve been given ideas!

    It’s a slippery slope, WC.

    • #17
  18. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Charlotte (View Comment):
    It’s a slippery slope, WC.

    Indeed.

    • #18
  19. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):
    It’s a slippery slope, WC.

    Indeed.

    Only eight points.  You. Can. Do. Better.

    • #19
  20. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    My stepdaughter Jenny enjoys finding “art” in the commonplace sights around the house and around the little town of Hollidaysburg, PA when she’s out on her walks.  Herewith, a few of her discoveries:

    Requiem for a Kayak by Dante Gabriel Rosetti:

    Sidewalk Bat by Edward Gorey:

    Cat by Man Ray:

    Neighborhood by Mondrian:

    She has oodles of these.  Personally, I think they’re crying out for some sort of coffee table book….

    • #20
  21. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    She (View Comment):
    Personally, I think they’re crying out for some sort of coffee table book….

    Agreed.

    • #21
  22. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    I guess my snippets are different, since we are in a much more rural area.  We are in northern Virginia – almost West Virginia, so if West Virginia is “Almost Heaven”, we must be in heaven.

    i see most of our neighbors while walking our dog and know many by their dogs.  “Look, there is Nick’s mom!”  Nick is very well behaved, so we have time to chat.  Those who can’t control their dogs don’t get much conversation.

    Working down the street, we come to the home of prior owners of ours.  His father grew up sleeping with his 5 (?) brothers in the Summer Kitchen – basically a single room with walk in cooking fireplace.  They have 2 young boys, so we have been talking about their problems with remote learning.  Mostly how hard it is for them to get good internet.

    Further down, we come to a horse farm on either side.  It is always nice to see the horses run in the field.  On the left, they are building a huge indoor riding ring.

    My dog Belle is getting older -as am I, so we dont get much further, but the next house is where “Rev War” and “Pa Rifle” live.  We call them that, since we knew their cars before we knew them.  They do Revolutionary War reenactments.  She dresses as Martha Washington and he as an early surveyor.  He also makes muzzle loading rifles.  They had Halflinger horses (like a Clydesdale) and cart they would ride in historic events.

    past the pond is the Lutheran Church – a small stone church built in 1892.  We will often see “PopPop3” (license again although, sometimes he drives “MamMam”). He is often working on the church property.  It made me very happy when they reopened after being closed due to covid.

    outside of those on the street we mostly see people from the restaurants we have been making a point to help stay in business with carryout.  It makes me very happy to see them open and doing a good business.  This weekend, I brought home BBQ from Monk’s BBQ.  I love seeing their way of serving the sauces:

    The graphic on the wall depicts the history of the Scotch and Bourbon they sell at the bar

    They are now doing a great business again.  That makes me happy.

    • #22
  23. Some Call Me ...Tim Coolidge
    Some Call Me ...Tim
    @SomeCallMeTim

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    I guess my snippets are different, since we are in a much more rural area. We are in northern Virginia – almost West Virginia, so if West Virginia is “Almost Heaven”, we must be in heaven.

    i see most of our neighbors while walking our dog and know many by their dogs. “Look, there is Nick’s mom!” Nick is very well behaved, so we have time to chat. Those who can’t control their dogs don’t get much conversation.

    Working down the street, we come to the home of prior owners of ours. His father grew up sleeping with his 5 (?) brothers in the Summer Kitchen – basically a single room with walk in cooking fireplace. They have 2 young boys, so we have been talking about their problems with remote learning. Mostly how hard it is for them to get good internet.

    Further down, we come to a horse farm on either side. It is always nice to see the horses run in the field. On the left, they are building a huge indoor riding ring.

    My dog Belle is getting older -as am I, so we dont get much further, but the next house is where “Rev War” and “Pa Rifle” live. We call them that, since we knew their cars before we knew them. They do Revolutionary War reenactments. She dresses as Martha Washington and he as an early surveyor. He also makes muzzle loading rifles. They had Halflinger horses (like a Clydesdale) and cart they would ride in historic events.

    past the pond is the Lutheran Church – a small stone church built in 1892. We will often see “PopPop3” (license again although, sometimes he drives “MamMam”). He is often working on the church property. It made me very happy when they reopened after being closed due to covid.

    outside of those on the street we mostly see people from the restaurants we have been making a point to help stay in business with carryout. It makes me very happy to see them open and doing a good business. This weekend, I brought home BBQ from Monk’s BBQ. I love seeing their way of serving the sauces:

    The graphic on the wall depicts the history of the Scotch and Bourbon they sell at the bar

    They are now doing a great business again. That makes me happy.

    Great snippets, which I loved reading about.  Liked the one about helping restaurants/businesses stay afloat.  We try to do the same and leave bigger tips or tip when one normally would not.  Mrs. Tim waited tables to make money for college and has a soft spot for servers.  When we got our smoothies at the gym, Mrs. Tim put a tip on the bill (something almost no one does there), and we were rewarded with a great big smile.

    • #23