Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Country Time

Monday, on my way to a doctor’s appointment in Waco and in a hurry, I stopped off at the local jeweler to drop off three items to be repaired. As I entered the store, Mr. Haynes was speaking to a few local elderly gentlemen. One of them had just purchased a piece of jewelry for his wife. As they left, Mr. Haynes, with his magnifying jewelry goggles propped up on his forehead, greeted me.

Mr. Haynes is a gray-haired, twinkle-eyed man in his 70s, who went to school with my mother. With dirty-looking nails bit to the quick and a friendly demeanor, he listened to me describe the problem with my watch clasp. “It won’t stay closed”, I said and demonstrated how easily the watch clasp came undone. I pulled the other two jewelry pieces from my purse, but before I could tell him what was wrong with each of those, he replied with a smile, “Betcha thought you’d hafta buy a new watch, eh?” I exclaimed, “I’d better not! That watch was expensive!” I said. Next thing I know, Mr. Haynes disappeared with my watch into the backroom.

I looked at the clock. Oh dear, I thought to myself, I’m going to be cutting it close to make it to my appointment on time. But, just a few minutes later, Mr. Haynes returned to the front where I was waiting and said, “See if you can open that.” I took my watch from his hand and tugged at the clasp until it opened. “Perfect!” I said and slipped it on my wrist.

“Now,” I continued, “I have a necklace of my mother’s that has a link missing to hold the chain together.” However, before I could explain that I just wanted to leave it so I could get back on the road to Waco, Mr. Haynes disappeared again into the backroom. A few minutes passed before Mr. Haynes returned again with a big smile, setting the repaired necklace in front of me and said. “Okay, what’s next?” “Boy, you’re fast!” I commented, “This Omega watch needs fixing”, I replied.

Mr. Haynes put the Omega watch next to his ear and shook it. I could hear a faint rattle. “Sounds broke to me.” He smiled. “Sumthin’s loose in there”, he added. I laughed and said, “It’s the second hand. It keeps getting hung on the minute hand. My friend would just like it removed if it can’t be fixed.” I added, “The watch has already been fixed a few times and even sent to the Omega factory. He just wants the second hand removed.” Mr. Haynes repeated my instructions and then got out an envelope in which to place the watch.

“You’re gonna hafta leave this one with me. Can’t fix it right now”, Mr. Haynes said, “Unless you’ve got some time.” “No, no!” I exclaimed, “I’ve got to get to Waco by 11:00 A.M.” We both looked at the clock on the wall. It was 10:45 P.M. Saying what I was thinking, Mr. Haynes commented, “You’re not gonna make it.” He smiled a big toothy grin and turned back to the envelope. “Grayson Powell,” I said. “Hey,” Mr. Haynes said, “Are you any relation to the Powells in town?” “No,” I replied, “and I won’t be a Powell much longer, either.” Mr. Haynes went on to tell me a story of how he’s related to the Powells and I continued to watch the minutes tick away. But, his story was funny and he obviously enjoyed telling it. I asked Mr. Haynes how much I owed him for the two pieces he fixed. “Nothing,” he said. “Nothing?!” I said with surprise. “Well, thank you!”

He had a few more stories to tell me about some of my family members, and as much as I needed to leave, I realized that sometimes, the right thing to do is sit still and listen. I love to listen to people’s stories. Real life is so much funnier than fiction. I think my laughter is what compelled Mr. Haynes to continue talking. It was 10:55 A.M. I let the anxious thought of being late drift from my mind. And, then, as if God heard my thoughts, the telephone rang. Mr. Haynes picked up the phone and I waved as I walked out the door, laughing all the way.

Things move at a different pace here in this small Texas town. I find myself moving more at Life’s pace, rather than one I set for myself, and that’s the way it should be.

“It is always the simple things that change our lives. And these things never happen when you are looking for them to happen. Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so. You feel like running, but life is on a stroll. This is how God does things.” –Donald Miller

“Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Stop, Listen and Laugh, Y’all!

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