Friday, April 3, 2009

It's You I Like

Not many people know this but to the left here is a picture of a friend of mine. Yep, I met him and corresponded with him right up until the time that he died.

I think that this is the first time I have ever written two entries to this blog in two days. But I wanted to say something and this way, I can say it without anyone telling me to shut up.

Yesterday, I traveled down to my home town of Smock. The women of the community bake these incredible long nut rolls (we call them kolatch or kolatchi) twice a year. At Christmas and Easter which means that right now is KOLATCH TIME. My first question is why only then and not all of the time? Labor intensive? Some secret middle-European instruction in The Bible?

Anyway, I visited some friends and made a couple of new ones. One new friend is related to Ed Sparrow, made famous in my "The Town Mechanic" blog entry. I also met the man who currently owns the beer joint where my grandfather used to get sloshed in 3-4 times a month.

But what a difference in people. One was sawing down the stump of an old tree and the other was in a wheelchair. One chain-smoked while the other had a very welcoming demeanor. But walking away from this meeting, I felt that I liked both of them for who they were and not WHAT they were.

Fred Rogers taught me that both from inside a small vacuum tube in my television set and right to my face on several one-on-one meetings I had with him. But if this "I like you just the way you are" stuff is for real, where did Fred get it? He got it from Mrs. McFeeley. Not the make-believe wife of the "Speedy Delivery" mailman. But from his mother. McFeeley was her maiden name.

I can't help but believe that our mothers taught us this when we were children. Oh, she may not have said it in those very words, but she said it. And where did Mom get it? Her Mom? Yep. And where did SHE get it? If you go back far enough, you'll find it came from The Bible.

Now if there are readers here who are atheist or otherwise, let's pretend that we got that phrase from the planet Skyron in the Andromeda galaxy. Either way, it makes sense.

During these days of economic tension and the discord that it brings, why don't we look toward God (or Skyron) or even to Fred Rogers for a little easy advice?

When I visited my friends in Smock yesterday, I found that I loved each of them for who they are. And believe me, it took most of my life to get to this point too.

But the direction that I got as a child and adult may have come from The Bible, Fred Rogers, or Skyron. The real thing here is that you GET IT. Practice a little Smock philosophy and start to like people for who they are and not who you want or expect them to be.

And perhaps while walking down that street toward St. Hedwig's or past Ed Sparrow's garage, you'll come across this guy.....

If you do, please tell him that his old friend Bob said hello.

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