It was just a bowl of popcorn, but it taught me something.
Sometimes kindness and caring come out in unusual ways. For me, I think of popcorn and my father.
As a youngster, I was often sick. I had asthma and all sorts of allergies. Painfully thin, I didn’t want to eat. The thought totally turned me off. There was one thing I did like to eat– popcorn.
I Didn’t Want to Eat
Virtually every night during this time, my father would get out an old corn popper and serve me up a bowl. That was the beginning of a lifetime of enjoying this delicious snack. Even today, I occasionally make popcorn and serve it to my grandson as a treat.
So, popcorn brings memories of my father and his kindness. He didn’t want to eat popcorn for himself. He was doing something to make me feel better and have a little something to eat. You might say,
“What’s the big deal?”
It was a small act, but it meant a lot
It was a small act. And, truth to tell, I took it pretty much for granted.
It was only later that I reflected on what he had done. I realized that he had a special quality. What he did for me, he did for many. When he saw someone who was suffering, he responded by doing that little thing that could make them feel better. Somehow, he knew what to do.
He Listened Carefully
My father was easy to get along with and listened carefully. Consequently, he had many friends and acquaintances from work and the neighborhood. He knew what was going on in people’s lives.
People Needed Help
Sometimes he saw a need and offered his help. Other times people would ask him for help and knew he would say yes. He would always do it to the best of his ability. They trusted him.
My Dad would take kids to the dentist, take care of birds while the owners were on vacation, attend events as a surrogate parent. Whatever was needed. No charge, he just wanted to help.
There Was No One You Could Rely On
He filled an important need. This was in suburban California where people tended to be isolated. It was rare to find someone you could rely on. Family, neighbors, or friends used to help with these small acts. Now we don’t have that
It wasn’t only adults who felt comfortable enough to ask him for a favor. I remember one day when the five-year-old who lived next door came to ask if George (my father) could come out to play. He was 80 years old at the time.
Of course, he went.
One small kind act can make all the difference. It is something we all can do if we just pay attention.
And that is what my father taught me with his bowl of popcorn: a small act of kindness can make all the difference.