Bill, regularly has driven Ray to his therapy appointments and will not allow us to help pay for the gas that is consumed in the endeavour.
On Monday it will be Bill who picks us up from the airport, as our children will all be working.
All he does, he does gladly.
Earlier this week we decided that we'd like to pick up some sort of gift while in Florida for Bill.
He is always dressed very neatly; no tee shirts for him.
Bill enjoys golfing and plays as often as he is able. So I suggested to Ray that we get him a nice polo shirt with some sort of logo on it, such as Florida or Bradenton.
No problem! Right?
We have visited Florida many times over the past twenty-five years since Ray's parents moved to the state.
In all that time there was never a lack of small gift and/or clothing shops.
All offered a great variety of products from which to choose.
Every day this week I have ventured out in search of said polo shirt. Not only couldn't I find such an item of clothing, I couldn't find any of the little shops!
Oh, I had no problem finding Walmart!
The only shirts in there that bore a logo of this area were tee-shirts, which would not do. Besides most of the clothing is not top quality, so even if they had the desired shirt, I would not have wanted to give it as a gift.
So where are all the little shops? The privately owned stores?
They have been disappearing for a while, at least in the Northeast where we live.
There are a few left and when possible, that is where I choose to shop. It is more intimate. You know that you are valued as a customer and you receive the service that says so.
When I walk into the local hardware store, I am greeted and even receive eye contact!
They know that I am most likely shopping for some small item, but that doesn't affect the service given me.
I have never had to roam the aisles in search of some help. Many a time I have received instruction on how to do one thing or another. All given patiently and cheerfully.
The proprietors of the small businesses that have inhabited our towns throughout the history of our country were simply trying to earn a living by offering a service to their neighbors. The majority's vision was to grow their business to meet the needs of the local area without becoming so large that the personal touch would be lost.
We are losing our personal touch as a people. So many no longer know their neighbors. They do not have the time to do so. Those who do often find no reciprocation.
I am sad. I think Papa is too.
For a growing segment of the population, amassing treasures that do not last has left the value of personal connection in the dust.
Jesus warned against such things over two thousand years ago.
"And He said to them, 'Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.'"All that because I couldn't find a shirt, huh?
I bet I can find a nice polo shirt at the airport...
And have to pay some clerk who couldn't care less who I am, let alone why I want the shirt...