Colton, Texas—they moved Holly’s mother to a nursing home. It was time.
Her mother couldn’t recognize her friends or family. She’d forgotten names. Dates. Hygiene.
They placed her in a place they could afford—which wasn’t much.
Holly asked her daughter’s boyfriend to visit the center with his guitar.
“I’d heard music could stimulate brain stuff,” she said.
It didn’t work. What happened was a group of patients in wheelchairs gathered around the boy’s singing. They made requests.
He played for several hours.
“He really got into it,” she said. “It meant so much to me.”
And when he played “You Are My Sunshine,” Holly’s mother wandered into the seating area.
The old woman sat in a chair. She sang along with the others, word for word.
When the music ended, she looked at her daughter and said, “Oh, there you are, Holly.”
Jacksonville, Florida—an at-risk school. He wasn’t a good high-school student. In fact, he was failing. But he liked food and cooking. His English teacher discovered this.
She bribed him.
“I told him, ‘If you study your butt off, I’ll teach you how to cook.’”
She started an after-school culinary program in a local church. She got a restaurant chef to volunteer some of his time. Six local kids signed up for class.
“It was great,” she said. “Everyone had so much fun. It kinda gave us something to look forward to.”
It gave them more than that. Today, four of those students are working in commercial kitchens.
Arthurtown, South Carolina—Jason was single. Young. A CPA. He drove a quick car, he stayed out late. But standing at his brother-in-law’s graveside changed everything.
His sister’s husband died, leaving his sister with four kids. She was a mess.
“I had a job to do,” Jason said. “I just knew it. Those kids needed somebody. My sister needed me.”
He quit his job. He moved across the country into his sister’s spare bedroom.
He cooked bacon and eggs every morning. He packed school-lunches, kissed boo-boos, read bedtime stories, and carpooled for baseball practice.
A few months ago, he walked his sister down the aisle.
“Hardest part about this is,” he said. “Not getting to see my buddies in the mornings before school. We were a family.”
I’ll just bet you were.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter what I think about anything. I’m an ordinary nobody with mediocre health insurance. I have nothing valuable to add to the commentary of the world.
I read the newspaper today. The outlook was bleak. Murders, mass-shootings, nuclear warheads, and bacteria capable of eating a person’s face off.
And the nightly-news anchor still has the audacity to wish me a good evening.
It’s too bad. Because this old world is more than explosions, cussing congressmen, and BOTOX bodies in dental-floss bathing suits.
It’s high-school culinary teachers who give a damn. It’s neighborhood barbecues. It’s animal shelters. Old folks. It’s volunteer uncles who live in spare bedrooms.
It’s guitars in rehab homes. It’s singing “You Are My Sunshine.”
It’s making someone happy, by God.
Even when skies are gray.