Little Things

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve made a posting. It is now Sep 2020 and what a year we have had. The only other time I can remember that has been even closely as chaotic as this year was back in 1968.

But, I don’t want to use this post to talk about ‘big things’. I want to look at ‘little things’. You know, the things that make up everyday life. The things that don’t seem to be important. The ‘trivial’ things.

The real mystery is that these ‘trivial things’ may be the most important things we do in this lifetime.

By way of example I use the following true story.

Back in the early 1990’s I was going to Taylor’s Bookstore to buy a technical book. As I got to the store I could tell buying a book was going to be a problem as there was a line a city block long, waiting to get in. I went over and asked someone what was going on. He said, “Margaret Thatcher is signing her book.” I said, “THE Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of the UK??” “Yes”… so, I promptly got in line and waited my turn along with the rest.

As the line slowly inched forward we eventually made our way into the bookstore, but the line was still long and was people were stacked to and fro. But, it gave me a chance to see what the procedure was. You purchased a book, you handed it to Ms Thatcher, she signed it, you said, “Thank you”, and moved on. Simple enough, I thought. Too simple. I was not going to let this opportunity to meet a dignitary pass with only a “Thank you.”

As I handed my book to Ms Thatcher I casually commented, “Oh, I thought this line was for Ronald Reagan!” (For those who do not know, they were great friends as well as chief of states). She looked up, and for a moment I thought security was going to force me to the ground and put the cuffs on me. But, she brightened her outlook and began a conversation with me. “Yes, I just talked to him the other day. He is doing very well.” Just as if me and Ronny were the best of friends and simply updating another old friend. She chatted with me for several minutes, and I smiled and acted as if we had known each other for years. Security was annoyed, and the people behind me were not amused, but I had a great time, and so did she.

Afterwards I thought about this encounter. Why would someone so important take the time to talk to a ‘peasant’? After all, it was a ‘little thing’ wasn’t it? Was there really any benefit I could give to her? And then it dawned on me – signing books, one after the other, has to be one of the most boring jobs ever. I offered a moment where she could take a break from the monotony. Even though I was a ‘common’ person, it didn’t matter. She treated me as if I were royalty, and I immediately could tell why she was so popular and successful as a PM. Her discussion with me was not a ‘put-on’ but was real and engaging.

A little thing, right? But, then why would the memory remain after almost 30 years? It really wasn’t so little, after all.

What influence do we have on others? A word, a piece of advice, an encouragement, a thank you. Trivial things, or are they?

One Response to “Little Things”

  1. Barbara L. McGuire Says:

    Wow!! What an interesting story! You sure put a great spin on this story! And to think…I have talked to the person (you) who has talked with a celebrity. Yeah…I feel kinda special today! 🙂 Thanks for sharing such “a little thing”. It had a “big” message! Blessings my friend….

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