Thursday, June 2, 2016

So, just what can one man or woman do?

I decided to get up this morning and do something I've not done for awhile.  I didn't turn on the t.v., I didn't get on Facebook or email, other than to check for important or timely messages.  No, I made coffee, gathered some reading material and came to my porch.

It's such and amazingly beautiful day. A perfect early summer morning.  To sit in silence and really listen is remarkable.  The variety of bird song, cars in the distance humming along, and the rustle of leaves from the nearby birch tree make me happy.  Three little sheep are enjoying a patch of clover...outside of their designated confines, but they aren't hurting a thing.

I picked up my non-ceasing pile of home decor magazines.  Seems I don't ever take the time to enjoy looking through them much anymore, either.  As I was grabbing and heading out the door, I picked up the book, Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul.  I bought it at a garage sale some time ago; read a couple stories and there it has sat.  Good intentions.

Today is different.  I read a story from the book first.  Barnaby Conrad was telling the story of how he came to know the now famous, Alex Haley.  You know him, or should if you don't.  Alex wrote the award winning book, Roots, which subsequently became a movie.

At one time, Alex told Barnaby the story of his dad, Simon Haley, who had dreams of going to college.  He was a hard worker and was burning the candle at both ends, trying to work and go to school, concerned he'd have to give up his dream.  He took a job as a Pullman porter and it was there that he met, R.S.M. Boyce.  Mr. Boyce had retired as an executive of the Curtis Publishing Company.

Mr. Boyce took an interest in the young Mr. Haley and they spent some time chatting.  He found out about Simon's life, his dreams and ambitions.  It wasn't too long after the chance encounter that Simon received a check in the mail from Mr. Boyce in the amount of $500.00.  It was enough for a full year's tuition and living expenses for a year.  That amount enabled Simon to graduate, first in his class.  He then won a scholarship to Cornell University for a master's degree.

A chance meeting, where being a polite and alive young man, collided with an inquisitive, discerning and generous man, changed, most likely, both of their lives.  One in an overwhelming way and the other, in a quietly proud way.

What can one man or woman do?  This story speaks volumes to me.  The ripple effect of this good deed goes on for years, centuries, millenia.  Changing Mr. Haley's life's course of continuing in the sharecroppers livelihood and poverty was halted because of one man.  Mr. Haley went on to have four children.  Alex, a famous writer and play write; George, chairman of the U.S. Postal Rate Commission, Julius an architect and one girl, Lois, a music teacher.  This all happened in 1918.

So, just what can one man or woman do?  Don't you find this inspiring?  One man, meeting another man changed the course of life for all those who's lives have been changed by this one act for generations.

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