Rage and regret. Trust betrayed.
Tragedy and recrimination.
Violence without provocation.
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Hopes defeated and chances lost.
Broken promises and needless hurt.
Accusations and excuses.
Brave struggle that gives no reward.
These are by no means the only subjects that fill each day’s news columns. But they are without doubt a a serious part of the mix. What seems to be less noticed — or at any rate less remarked — is the abundance of good nature and plain happiness to be found amid all the sorrow and griping.
Good humor may be less marketable, but it has an undeniable power to brighten and change the day. In my usual routine, there are several such people I regularly meet — ones who are possessed of that splendid gift. Among them are the valet parkers stationed on the drives of the medical buildings to which I repair with some frequency for some necessary fine-tuning.
“How are you, brother?” the senior among them always asks.
He and I attended the same public high school, though a great many years apart. I count him and his colleagues as valued friends. Their greetings are a fine start for the day.
On one recent raw morning, I pulled up to the gas pump outside a big-box store where we regularly shop. I’d hardly gotten out of the car when the attendant took the pump nozzle from my hand.
“I didn’t know this station was full service,” I told him.
“It isn’t,” he replied. “I do it because I want to.”
That same evening, my wife and I went for light dinner to a restaurant we like in the neighborhood. The food there is modestly priced and tasty. Young families with children are frequent patrons of the place.
We finished our leisurely meal, and I gathered up our plates, utensils and glasses, preparing to take them to the counter intended for their deposit. Instantly, a young woman in an apron appeared at my elbow and relieved me of the tray.
“I can carry it,” I said.
“No,” she told me with a pretty smile. “It’s my job.”
Certainly there are many unhappy people in this world — ones resentful of the fate that bad luck or poor choices have dealt them. One hears or reads about them every day.
But all around us also are these others whose good nature and resourcefulness, though seldom properly celebrated, bring light and happiness to the troubled days of us all.
For more of C.W. Gusewelle, go to gusewelle.kansascity.com.