My sister who is now in her nineties and in a memory care facility lived a life of wonder and success. She often told me, “Every day is the same unless you do something to make it different.” I try to remember that thought each morning.
Recently when emptying my husband’s office, we found some squares of clear glass. We didn’t know what to do with them, so on impulse, we took them to a person who works with stained glass, hoping she might find them useful. She gave us a tour of her old, beautifully-crafted home. It made the day special. Her generosity of spirit led me to share a book with her that my brother sent me. Although I had hesitated to read it, when I did, I was mesmerized by David Wroblewki’s The Story of Egar Sawtelle, although I am conflicted by his ending. The fact that my brother thought to share the book with me made my day positive.
Seeing a red phone booth in our library’s lobby also made our day! The red telephone booths traditionally found throughout the United Kingdom date back to the 1920s, when the Post Office which doubled as the UK’s telephone company wanted to establish public phones. They commissioned Sir Giles Gilbert Scott to design a Kiosk type facility. Red was chosen because it would make the phone boxes easy to spot. The red phone booth became so familiar in the UK, that in 2006, it was voted as one of Britain’s top cultural symbols.
We owned a replica of the red phone booth painted by a local artist. It stood in my husband’s waiting room office for years, and upon his retirement, we donated it to the local library. The production of the traditional boxes ended in 1985, and some have been put on the market and repurposed. The Community Heartbeat Trust bought 1000 red phone boxes to hold defibrillators to help locals in case of heart attacks. Other boxes have been turned into miniature lending libraries, quirky little art galleries, and mini-stores. What a special gesture by the library staff to put our red phone booth in the lobby.
Recently when we had our house painted, we were surprised by the man and his assistant. They were fair, responsible, and on time. They cheerfully scrubbed, sanded, painted, and repaired the outside of our home. The job that we so dreaded turned into a positive experience. As Sheenagh Pugh wrote in her poem, “Sometimes things don’t go, after all, from bad to worse.” For little acts and encouraging words, I am thankful.