Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along. - Paramahansa Yogananda
My first dedication this month is about my former coworkers Mix and Mac. We have known each other for over 20 years. We discovered that our birthdays were within days of each other. They knew I had little boys at that point, so they were gracious enough to offer to take me to lunch one day to celebrate our birthdays. These gentlemen are both Alabama natives and my experience has been that they are have consistently been gracious with their advice from a male perspective on how to get in front of what I was about to experience as a single parent.
They both played on the company softball team. We were able to see a few games and the fellas marveled that grown men had fun playing “baseball” even though they were past the age that they considered playing age. In one of these games, Mix got a great hit that rolled to the wall. His thin frame ran around the bases and he looked like he was about to get to home base for the coveted in the park home run. We were sitting on the third base side cheering him on when we heard him tell the base coach “Don’t send me.” The fellas thought this was strange but I knew he was out of steam by the way he ran to third base. We get a good laugh about that today.
Somehow, my money is never any good when we go to eat. They have always insisted on paying and even now that I can pay, they won’t let me. In my mind I can depend on being treated once a year. It is a nice feeling. We talk about our families, vacations, how soon we are going to stop working and what we want to be when we grow up. They were always very helpful in listening to my strategies with the fellas to get a sense if I am on track from the male perspective. I remember asking them, what is going to happen when these guys are bigger and stronger than me. What am I going to do for discipline then? They assured me that I would have laid a firm foundation of what was and wasn’t tolerated so I shouldn’t worry about that. These were very comforting words…they were so right.
Once we didn’t have to rush home for children activities, we started to meet either on the weekend or after work. This gave us more time to relax and chat. The guys could also get an adult beverage if they wanted to. We catch up from the last time we got together and celebrate graduations, grandchildren and other family accomplishments.
Our most comical birthday lunch took place one year when we still worked together. The restaurant wasn’t crowded so we knew we would be able to get in and out quickly. We all ordered water and this day I didn’t want lemon in my water. The young waitress brought three glasses with lemon. So I very gently reminded her that I just wanted water with no lemon, please. She then proceeds to stick her fingers in my glass and fishes out the lemon. She then reassured me that her hands were clean.
The expression on Mix and Mac’s faces was priceless. It was the look that says take cover because this puppy is about to blow. In a very calm voice I asked the waitress to send her manager over to the table. (What we have here is a teachable moment!) The manager was mortified and apologized profusely. He then brought me a new glass of water, reassigned a new waitress to our table, and didn’t charge us for my lunch. We continued our lunch and enjoyed ourselves. We laugh about that encounter even to this day. They were so amazed that I was able to handle it without losing my cool. “Any other woman, including our wives, would have had a fit.” I am the mother of three sons. It takes a lot to unnerve me and I certainly wasn’t going to let a little lemon make me sour.
The next entry will be about my very special uncle. Our relationship has built over the years after my father’s death. Most of my life has been spent enjoying my aunt’s love and attention, but what a jewel I have found in my uncle!