When my brothers and I were young and following our parents around from Air Force Base to AFB, we were absolutely mortified by my mother’s…how should I say….friendliness. It wasn’t enough for her to go to the commissary, buy us some food, and come home and cook. NO. Instead, she would accost perfect strangers wearing WVU sweatshirts or sidle up next to people with that distinctive accent from those West Virginia hills. Worse yet, at the BX, she’d leave notes with her phone number under the windshield wipers of cars with WV license plates. “Hi! I’m from WV, too!” We would hide behind our wood-paneled station wagon and cringe. Our house was filled with people hankering for a taste of pinto beans and cornbread. Sunday dinners could see a WV family chowing down on our fried chicken. Thanksgivings were peppered with lonely airmen, just kids really, who were far from home, but welcomed in ours. Just mortifying. 😉
Here’s a favorite photo of her being shy in Montreal:
Well, time for me to apologize.
While I don’t leave my house number under windshield wipers, I have the modern day equivalent: the business card.
Yesterday I woke up without any prospects for a place to live during my Fulbright experience. I’d emailed and called leasing agents to no avail. Finally, ONE person gave me an inkling of help, so I popped into their storefront and found two possibilities. (And made an appointment to view the next day.) I returned from the hotel, happy, and went to the executive lounge to work. This is when I turned into my mother.
A lovely English lady made the mistake of asking me if I happened to know what time canapes were served in the evening. From this mundane encounter, I formed a friendship. I asked where she was from (London, btw, not West Virginia), what brought her to Nottingham, etc. Just like mom, I shared my contact information. I whipped out my business card. After she left, I hoped I’d see her again, as she was interesting and engaging. Soon, she did – husband in tow – to give me her card!
The next thing I knew, they’d invited me out to see the oldest pub in England, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem and to join them for dinner! Mom was right – you never know who you’ll meet and friends you’ll
make if you reach out. Thanks to Cath and Les for befriending me and giving me such a memorable evening!