Yesterday a guy from the cable company came to my apartment to fix my digital TV box, and he ended up staying for nearly two hours. As it turns out, he was a delightful young man and we enjoyed some wonderful conversation while he went about his work. What I noticed right away, as I was letting him into my apartment, was that he introduced himself with a beaming smile. “Hi,” he said as he held out his hand to shake, “I’m Jimmy.” He maintained that smile, to one degree or another, throughout his stay. He was obviously just a friendly person who enjoyed “visiting” with people. Over the course of his stay, as he tinkered with the equipment, talked on his cell with supervisors, and brought in cable box after cable box (mine and the first three he brought in were malfunctioning), I learned that he was from Arkansas, that his wife was sickly from mold and allergies, that he was an Arkansas Razorback fan, that he hated Notre Dame, and that he lived just up the street. With his long legs stretched out, he sat sprawled on my floor, fiddled with wires and cables, and chatted with me in a down-home, amiable manner. (By the way, he finally got everything working, and by the time he left, he had managed to convince me to switch my phone service to his digital company.)
Last night, I had dinner with some dear friends in a charming, antique farm house in North Stonington. I will be traveling in England for a time this coming year, and they wanted to share with me their significant knowledge about the English ways of life. We looked at guide books and old photos, and did a lot of talking and laughing for nearly four hours. It was wonderful to visit with them in their lovely home, and their memories of their England trips stirred up my excitement about my journey.