Ponder this:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Success story: Richard S

"That law! That law is unconstitutional under the Constitution of the United States! No government entity...! No government entity! can tell a citizen what to do wit' hizzone personal property!" He had been on his way out the door but had turned around to blast Then Boss one more time. They'd been conferring vigorously for a half hour, Richard often raising to head height the Notice he had received, tightly clipping it at the air for emphasis. Among other things, he took issue with the Notice having been mailed certified, return receipt requested: "A waste of my money as a taxpayer!"
Richard is not a tall man, but he's solid and his voice and presentation made him larger than life. He might have had a point; he certainly sounded as if he were on the side of the angels.

Richard's last name ends in a vowel. He grew up in on de upper eas' side. He sounds more North Jersey than Manhattan. He has beautifully thick well-shaped eyebrows, a handsome jaw and chin, and his skin, soft, smooth and unwrinkled, fascinates me. He, like Jack M, often went head to head with Then Boss. I was less afraid of him than I was simply tired of his speeches.
Richard was finally compelled to attend the required meeting where I sat taking notes. He was accompanied and silently controlled by his wife. All was surprisingly jolly; Rich got his approval. On the way out, he turned around, eyes fastening on me for one last word. His wife stopped him. "Whattaya doin'? Don't go in that office yelling at her anymore. Go in and say something nice . . . 'Your hair looks nice today.'"

For years afterward, every time Richard was in the building for any reason, he would come to the door of my office, gaze at me for a few moments, and inquire softly and engagingly, "Did you do something to your hair? It looks beautiful!"
And we'd laugh. He'd come in and we'd shoot the breeze for a while. He's a spellbinding storyteller, and oh! the stories he can tell!

A few months ago I left Morning Job at noon. I stepped out into the hall. Taped to the stairway door was an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper with a handwritten note:

A few days later all three of us in Morning Office were folding and stuffing, mailing out bills. It happened that my pile of bills included Rich's.  I applied fresh lipstick and put a kiss mark on the bill, folded it, stuffed it, smiling to myself.  I didn't tell anybody. It was, I am sure, the first time anything left Jane's office with a smooch mark on it.
One afternoon weeks later, a commotion of laughter and voices down the hall . . . and Rich appeared in my door, followed closely by wide-eyed Jane, hands over half her face, laughing.  He had been to Jane's office to pay his water bill.
"Did you put lipstick on his bill?" Jane asked.
"Yes," I said.
"His wife opened it!"
"'What's dis?' she says t'me. 'I got 'em all over,' I told her," Rich said, with a complacent look and an off-and-away motion of his hand.
Rich and I were grinning. Jane was still laughing, scandalized.

Last winter, several weeks after Afternoon Job had moved to the first floor, the door flew open. There stood Rich, his face wide open. He flung his arms wide.  "Here you are!" I went upstairs and opened the door and .  . . I'ma so surprise! I didn' know where I was! Den they told me you were down here! And here y'se are!"

I love My Public.


rachel said...

And so do I now. A great story!

Barb said...

Hi June,
I've had some fun catching up on your posts - you've been prolific this week!
Everyone should have a Richard - I know he'll find you no matter what.
Hope you are feeling well and fully recuperated. I suggest that you don't wear a watch anymore on weekends. I don't wear one at all now that I'm retired. Life just falls into its own rhythms and patterns.

PS Your hair looks nice. PPS Love the Oriole photos.

June said...

Thanks, Rachel. I hadda leavalot outta the story. I wanted to tell some of Rich's stories, but I caught myself; I think that might be ill-advised. ;-)

Barb, not so prolific as I had hoped I would be, but I have had fun. I am feeling as if I am on vacation instead of recuperating! I might well take your suggestion about the watch.
About the hair: Thanks. ;-)
About the orioles: Aren't they stunning?

Susan said...

I remember having favorite customers, too. They would bring me candy and toys and fun things. Don't get me wrong, I love early retirement and recommend it to any and all, but I do kind of miss the fun stuff. :)

Joe Todd said...

Great story I like Ill-advised LOL

Vicki Lane said...

Nice story! And I loved your previous 'timeless' post. And the pictures of the orioles!

Friko said...

That's a lovely job you have there, in spite of the problems you've written about in the past.

You are brilliant at evoking people and atmosphere.

Friko said...

Actually, I just saw your comment about how you stopped yourself telling some of Rich's stories? Why? You can make him and them unrecognisable, can't you? I'd love to read stories written by you.

Think about it.

Anonymous said...

And Your Public obviously loves you. :)

Carolynn Anctil said...

Outstanding! You are a bright spot in that man's life, no doubt!!

Inay said...

Great story...

wondering for more...

God bless

Jinksy said...

People like that add zest to life - and skilful writers like you let us share in magic moments! :)

Bossy Betty said...

I want a Richard!

Thanks for following my blog.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Hi June, How are you feeling? I hope --much better..

I love hearing 'people' stories... We all need a 'Richard' in our lives. I remember when I was working, there was a man who would stop by my office almost every single day just to chat --and chat---and chat. I liked him --and he was nice, but I kept thinking of all of that work I was not getting done!!! ha

BUT---later on, I realized that 'that' was my ministry... He needed to talk and needed a friend...It was good for him. SO--I just relaxed and went with the flow!!!!


Reanaclaire said...

hi..claire from reanaclaire.com

coming by to visit your blog and ended up reading this story.. great post here!~

Slamdunk said...

Now that is a fan club. Fun story.

I appreciate your kind words that you left on my blog as well.

Enjoy your weekend.