Sunday, July 17, 2016


We were having an amazing day. We'd been the the beach and had a picnic. As always we brought both chairs, the power chair and the manual, which was used to haul stuff and to give me seating options. When we arrived there wasn't a picnic table available we pulled up to a bench, I transferred into the manual, we lifted the arms on the power chair, put the table cloth over the seat and voila. It was great.

Sadie spotted the ice cream truck just before the bus was to arrive to pick us up so I asked her if she could wait til we got home and then we'd go out for ice cream. She agreed just as she spotted the bus turning in to pick us up. Our ride home was fun, the whole day had been lovely.

Once home and showered, sadly there's less of a beach left for other people because a couple of buckets of sand washed itself down through our bathtub drain, we left to get ice cream. I held the table on an outdoor patio a couple blocks from our home. It's my favourite patio for having tea and people watching and I smiled as I watched them cross over to me, hands full of cones and sundaes. Joe then headed in to get us each a tea and the seconds later was back.

Everyone was in a brilliant mood, Ruby and Sadie were at their best, sharp, funny and inventive in their story telling of the day. We played a game to see who could give the meanest look that had us all howling. It was awesome.

Well, to us at least.

An elderly woman had come out and sat at a table furthest from us. She was clearly in a cranky mood and looked over at us and the kids with annoyance. Let's face it, this is Yonge Street, right down town, it's not a fancy table at a tea shoppe in a meadow in Wales. It's noisy. And we were noisy. We laughed a lot.

At one point, after several really nasty looks, she'd have won the contest, hands down, I'd had enough of her sighs and her cursing under her breath. I looked at her, and said, "Oh, come on!" That's all. I wanted to know that she'd been seen and that, really, she's upset about kids laughing?

Kids should be laughing all the time. Childhood should be full of laughter. I was laughing. I should be laughing more. Joe was laughing, his life needs more of that stuff too. We were all getting a lot of oxygen and exercising our senses of humour.

The interesting thing was, as soon as I said what I said, her face changed. She stopped. She looked over and saw the girls curled up in laughter as Joe was trying to make a mean face, which he was hysterically bad at, and her face softened. It was like she connected the noise, which was irritating her, with the source. He whole body seemed to just relax.

I caught her a couple of times smiling when the girls said something funny. Like Sadie's dramatic announcement that's she's having a really, really, bad day and that we had to treat her nice with extra ice cream. And Ruby's commentary on the actions of the security guard.

She said, 'Bye,' when we left.

I've never had that kind of encounter before. I expected her to become more hostile or to turn her chair completely away. Even so, I wanted to let her know that her actions were completely out of proportion to what was going on. But it was like throwing cold water on an unnecessary fire. She just, suddenly, became a nice old woman.


Yet I know I've been called on my behaviour and immediately changed.

So, maybe not so odd.


Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

My mother calls it 'happy noise,' and it never bothered her.

I'm glad you helped that woman break out of a funk, but not glad her gloom (and your millions of previous encounters with people) put a pall over your fun first.

Sometimes I have to force myself to switch attitudes, a few times I've been called on mine. It CAN be done.

GoodWorx said...

Just love the sound of children playing, the sound of little feet running and children laughing.