Tuesday, September 22, 2009

WEEK #3 Graf #7 Describing a person...

I think some people must carry some type of magnetic force within themselves that attracts the sunlight. I think Barbara is one of those people. It seems every place she goes gets a little brighter, a little warmer, and is left with an aura of a new beginning. It happens to the people she meets too.

She can lift your spirits by quickly reminding you that your half-empty cup is still half-full. I am reminded of the time she arrived home quite late from the hospital in her second year of Nursing School at BC. "Mom and Dad have been so worried. They were about to drive in to City Hospital to see what happened to you. It is midnight . Weren't you off duty at 5:00 PM ?", I asked my sister as she came into our bedroom.

She told me about someone who came into the clinic earlier in the day. He wore a clean, blue work shirt and baggy denim jeans. He was a regular there. He had diabetes and no health insurance. His records also showed he was only twenty six but his unshaven face, calloused hands, and hardened, tough skin added years to his appearance. She was surprised to see him again later that afternoon as she walked towards her car in the parking garage. She said, "His shirt was stained with sweat and it looked as though he was holding the same paper coffee cup he got in the hospital lobby."

She saw the look of despair on his face and heard his stomach growl and knew not to ask any personal questions. "I didn't get a lunch break today, so I am headed over to HoJo's on the Pike," she told him. She remembered seeing his address noted on the hospital records. It was the abandoned project on the other side of town and next of kin was left blank.

Five o:clock traffic can be brutal she told him. If I have two in my car, I can drive in the commuter lane out of Boston. "Can you help me out here?", she asked him. He got into the car. He agreed to come into the restaurant but only because she asked him to. My sister hailed a waitress going by. "This gentleman's cup is half-full, could you please top it off for him?", she said. They talked for nearly an hour about the weather and construction on the Big Dig. When they got up to leave, she left a business card on the table. As they walked away, she noticed he slipped it in his pocket and his face brightened a little.

I told her Mom and Dad would not have approved of her giving out her business card with her home address on it to a stranger. "I didn't", she said. It was Father McCalley's from the homeless shelter on Longwood Avenue. "He will have a warm place to sleep tonight, a full cup of hot coffee in the morning and a new beginning," she said as she turned out the bedroom light.


  1. YOu do a very nice job with that anecdote, letting the material breathe but not overdoing it and not crossing the line into mawkishness.

    My only suggestion is that the whole first graf is superfluous and that the piece would be stronger if it were dropped completely. There are teachers who would disagree with me and say that a foundation graf is a courtesy, but I believe in plunging in quickly.

  2. I will drop that first paragraph as suggested. Should I resubmit the selection on the Blog here again, minus the first paragraph?

  3. No need to resubmit--that was just a comment, not a request for more work.