We have a story at the end of this post, you will see why soon. But first. The giving and receiving of awards is most wonderful and most terrifying. Choices hurt. How can I possibly choose between you, when I have so many truly wonderful people reading and commenting on my pages. Many more whose pages stand up and beg me to read them each day, much to my grateful pleasure, because you are worth the reading.
My darling Nia from Photographynia , who takes photographs of everything, sent me this wonderful award the other day. The Candle Lighter Award. Isn’t that beautiful. This is a special award. Usually you only award this to one person. Anyone can award it, any time you like, if you come across a page that begs to be noted with this award. It is not one you have to pass on, as such.
I did some research and I found this quote from a friend of the woman who created it. “This award belongs to those who believe, who always Survive the day and those who never stop Dreaming , for those who cannot quit, for those who keep trying. If that is you, you are Entitled in this Award”
Well this is indeed serious stuff. I want to give this award to two of my readers.
Lois who, last I heard, was allowed out of the hospital to visit with her family. I hope she comes back online soon so we can see how she is. But this lady is a fighter if ever I saw one!
Miss T, who sees wonder in the smallest of things. She knows why I think she is a survivor, having stayed beside her mother through the pain of Altzeimers that lasted years and years.
Claire from Promenade Plantings who is presently swanning about up in the mountains, jamming her champagne into the snow to keep it cold and generally larking about, took time out of her extraordinarily exciting schedule to award me with the Reader Appreciation Award.
Firstly zap over to ChgJohn who also received this award from Claire – then promptly named a whole bunch of my most frequent commenters. Bloody fella got in first! So I join his thanks to Tanya, Greg, Katherine, Mandy.. Yes, I mean you guys! And of course The Bartolini himself. You are all deeply, deeply appreciated for your consistently supportive, generous and sometimes bizarre comments. ChgJohn also has the rules on his page. Claire also managed to nominate another of my frequent loveable commentors from a Little Corner in Rhode Island.
You see The rules for this one are strict you can only nominate the top 6 commenters and readers on your blog by the numbers. Well, apparently I am breaking the rules! Nominating another six.
Kathryn, an artist and writer who never ceases to astound and surprise me with her work and words! I love her.
Phyllis from FoodFlowersHerbsandLife, who cooks lovely food, and has such a delightful intelligent outlook on life.
MadDogTVDinners. This fellow is not mad at all and his blog has NOTHING to do with TV dinners and if he is eating this food in front of TV then that must be the most incongruous sight imaginable. Plus he knows an awful lot about Barcelona and is often Online just as I post.
Lynda from Pixilated. She lives on a little farmlet and is endlessly coming to my rescue with excellent if slightly quirky advice. She understands about naughty animals.
Ms Misk, a fiesty woman who I am sure is brave enough to tell me that the thought of my wine will make her gag. And this from a woman who is making vinegar in her fermenting room! Of course I deeply envy her that vinegar. I will get to it, I will!!
Soul Dipper, a woman with a big heart loaded with empathy, a gifted writer with a soft spot for Mama.
Our leader Celia from Fig, Lime and Cordial. Beautiful food from a beautiful generous lady.
Kay from Pure Complex, a striking sophisticated page from an adorable girl. I remind her of her grandmother and I just love that. Being the old fashioned farm girl that I am!
Thank you all. AND thank you to all the lovely people who comment on my little pages. The Farmy loves your feedback, support and advice. And to my wonderful silent daily readers I know who you are, and love that you visit with me. You all keep me writing.
And now, much to my delight I have received the versatility award again. From Ronnie over at Morristownmemos. A delightful sharp and witty woman who writes about all kinds of things and I suspect has a lovely big laugh!
This versatile award gets a story.
The Still Man.
“I’ll get a box and we’ll take it with us. It will taste better after a few drinks.” My two sons who were men laughed to each other.
We had been at a pizza joint in the Loop in Chicago. We could not eat all the pizza, we had ordered way too much and it really wasn’t as tasty as we had expected. So we filled a box to the brim with the last of the pizza to take back to the hotel.
This was a couple of years ago. It was very cold that winter. Dark. Snowing. I was wearing my big coat, and leather gloves, huge cuddly scarf and a hat. My boots, over my jeans with thick socks. Everything was warm except my face.
We walked along in the lazy fashion that families often have. Together, with confident loose strings. I carried the weighty deep dish pizza with everything on it, like a waitress with a tray. My gloved hand directly underneath the wide box. I could feel the heat of it. The streets were teeming with colourful people. Lights flashed and cars sped past, honking and laughing. The jostle of packages, flicking of scarves, the huddle of collars. Soft snow in the air and underfoot. My tall boys, who were men, walked ahead of me. I enjoyed watching them laugh together, shoving each other with their invisible language. Bright snow gathering on their shoulders.
We turned another corner and proceeded down another road, more shops, more people , more movement. Things began to blur in their hurry, the sounds lost their softness and became raucous. The boys were further ahead. I swapped hands carrying my tray of pizza on my right hand now. It was getting heavy.
I saw ahead of me a Still Man. This is the only word that comes to mind when I think of him, and I think of him often. He stood straight, tall, immobile and stared up and out across the street, his arms laid forgotten at his sides, loose. His hands empty. He was waiting. I think that he had been waiting on that corner for months. Not years, yet. He was stood firmly on his feet, in the shadow of a closed doorway. He was not old, nor was he young. His strong head was bare in the cold and as I got closer I could see that he wore no socks, his shoes scuffed and thin, once good. His hands were in gardening gloves. He wore a thin windbreaker. He was dressed in black, his skin as dark as his clothes, though as I got even closer I saw that he had freckles, which struck me as incongruous. A homeless person on the street with no socks and freckles. Even closer now I found his scent amongst the other street smells, he smelt like a beach. Windy and salty.
As I walked past him I found his eyes, they were clear eyes, dark. Dark and reflective. His eyes were mirror sunglasses. He was not begging, he just looked back. Stoic. But not quite resigned. I raised my eyebrows slightly. He raised his eyebrows very slightly back. Without thought I leaned in and touched his shoulder, his hands came up and I tilted my body as I passed and the box of hot pizza slid from my hands to his. It was a small movement, an effortless movement, a movement without thought. I saw my secret smile in his eyes as I moved past.
I never even broke my stride, the boys were further ahead now, I needed to catch up. I increased my speed.
The tall black man heaved up out of his stillness and called out to me. Hey Miss. Hey Miss! God Bless You, Miss! Thank you. Thank you! You are an angel Miss! Merry Christmas to you, God Bless you.! I looked over my shoulder. His face was shining and smiling and real suddenly. His face was a high-tide crashing wave of joy.
I wanted to run back to him and place my fingers over his mouth. Hush now. No, no it was nothing. Oh my god, it was nothing. Hush. I waved and walked a little further on.
Thank you Miss! God bless you, Miss! Merry Christmas, Miss! His voice was a stevedores. A deep bell. A huge voice above the grim walkers. A rooftop voice. I moved sideways further down the street.
Then I stopped and turned fully back to him and he just demanded my voice in return, that Still Man.
Merry Christmas I called back, across the ducked heads. I could not help but smile at this tall, suddenly bright man. My face hiding the shame. It had been too easy for me. It had been a mere flick of my wrist. I had not even thought about it. I didn’t even want the pizza. Hush now, I called. I felt my arrogance like a burn. This arrogant magnanimous gesture of left over food. I put my fingers to my own lips. Ssh. I am so sorry, I thought.
I was half a block away now. I should have run back to him. I should have sat on the ground and taken off my thick woolly socks and given them to him. The boys were calling to me now. I should have given him my big warm hat. All I gave him was a pizza that I did not even want. My sons had a taxi waiting. I should have stood and chatted with him for a while. Thank you, Miss.
I looked back again and nodded to him. He nodded back.
I do not deserve your thanks. I gave you nothing that mattered to me. I should have given you a garden, I should have found you a days work. I should havediscovered what you were waiting for. I bent to climb into the taxi. My son holding the door.
He stood holding his box of food but looking at me. Then the crowds closed and he was gone.
“What happened to the pizza?” eldest son said, looking at my hands, as we settled gingerly into the back of the taxi hurtling out into the traffic.
“I gave it away.” I said.
“Oh, Cool.” Both boys who were men said in unison, then laughed at each other.
I think of him often, that beautiful black man with the freckles and no socks.