She: Hi! (to a short older man smoking a cigar who at first glance reminded her of George Burns without the suit).
Him: Isn't it a beautiful day? Sorry, I can't hear you I'm hard of hearing. What did you say?
She: Yes, (a little louder) it is gorgous!
Him: Come here (him coming up to her), I have a hard time hearing. Your dog isn't going to attack me is he?
Him: Have you ever had sauerkraut? How about turnip-kraut?
She: I've had sauerkraut but not turnip-kraut...do you make it your self?
Him: I'm a Catholic. (Looking hard in her eyes) Your not are you? But your...
She: I was raised Baptist...my Grandma...
Him: Oh your taking the easy way out! (no smile).
She: Yeah, (laughing).
Him: Have you read the Bible?
Him: You have? Well what did it say about the poor?
She: Ummm...that you should give to the poor.
Him: Well...Yeah...that but what did it say about the poor?
She: (guessing) That they will inherit the earth?
Him: God says that there will always be the "poor".
She: (shaking her head up and down slowly)...oh, that's true.
Him: Do you want to try some turnip-kraut?
Him: I'll be right back...(turning to enter his front door. He comes out with a Tupperware and a fork).
Him: Here, try this...
She: (takes a bite, savors it a little) It's mild...how do you make it? Do you use just salt?
Him: Salt isn't important...it just make the juice come out of it. You should have seen the turnip I got last year from the farmer over by the river. (using his hands he shows her just how wide and how tall it was) Well, do you like it? If you do I have some I can give you.
A woman comes out of the house, smile without a word and walks past and then around the corner.
He: That's my wife. She is going to church. I have to go to church too. She has red hair...well, she used to have red hair. (They both smile).
She: Well, I better let you get going then.
He: My great grandpa lives right around the corner. He came here during the Civil war. I'm Bohemian and Irish. My mother's family came from Ireland. (tears come to his eyes...he begins to choke up)
She: That's really interesting...(a wave of compassion and longing to touch his shoulder comes over her. She keeps her hands on the leash).
He proceeds telling her some of his family history. She is listening but mostly she is looking at his eyes full of tears and wondering what she should do.
Him: I have to get to church. Please stop over anytime to chat. (holding his hand out to her. She reaches out and they hold hands in a soft but touching handshake). Don't be afraid. My wife loves to garden. (Pointing to some raised garden beds).
She: Thank you for your hospitality. You said your name was Chuck?
Him: Charlie. I have to go to church. Bye.
This is a synopsis of what happened on my walk today with Mattie. Why did I feel suddenly humbled while walking home? I've felt that way all day since.