It was just last weekend (October 24th) that we were in Ann Arbor, MI. We were there for the Penn State, Michigan football game. It was a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon. Not quite the perfect weather for football, but it would have to do.
While returning from our vehicle with a cloth to put on the bench in the stadium I met Eric. People meet each other for specific reasons. Sometimes you have to ponder the encounter to learn what the reason is. Usually you learn something from the other. This encounter proved most interesting. It has taken me this long to cogitate about it and try to make some sense of it.
We were parked on the grounds of the university golf course just South of the stadium, the Big House. There were people tailgating there from both schools. Naturally there were more from Michigan than Pennsylvania. Everyone I met had been quite friendly. That is until I met Eric. His opening comment had something to do about my disrespecting Ann Arbor, the University, the golf course, and by inference, him. His opening comments had the "f" word sprinkled liberally through his discourse. There was no escaping him. Something told me to take some time to listen to whom, perhaps to get to know him. I'm glad I did.
Thanks, Eric. I learned some things from you and about you. Perhaps you learned some things from and about me. I do know you probably had more beer than I had.
I learned about respect, loyalty, family, meeting others, compassion, etc.
I learned this about you:
- Your age - 33
- You're married.
- Your family - three children, two girls and a boy, the oldest 11
- Your work - mechanic and recently laid off from an auto factory
- You work from 9-5 Monday through Friday
- You're wife is a nurse and works 1900 to 0700 on weekends at a local hospital.
- You're proud that your children have a parent at home with them all of the time
- You're fiercely loyal to your family, city, state and sports teams
- You're a golfer, too
- You ride bikes to just about every place you go.
- You are willing to stand up for what you believe
- I'm more than twice your age
- Taller than you by a couple of inches
- Heavier than you by more than ten pounds
- Out of shape
- Have three daughters
- Play golf
- Was willing to listen
Perhaps you heard a way to deal with children as the grow into the age of reason and want your permission to do things.
Perhaps you heard that getting them to tell you what it will take to make it happen will bring you closer to each other.
Perhaps you remembered to hit the first shot from the tee on your next golf outing for me.
Perhaps you learned that to respect others you have to first respect yourself.
I learned that you are a good, caring man. While our encounter didn't begin on a friendly basis, it ended on one. At least it did for me.
So, thanks again, Eric. I wouldn't have missed our paths crossing for anything.