What Unites Us

This is a “Christmas Story” that maybe can remind us that we have more that unites us than divides us.

My dad “Herbie’ was a Mr. Fix-it in his heart of hearts. We lived on ten acres and my dad loved to work with his hands, he liked to fix things.
I had horses and he built the inside of our barn that is how I know what a “leveler” is and how to use it. He was always tinkering, improving, and discovering new ways to do old things.
His favorite place IN THE WORLD was Gamauf’s Hardware Store, at Copley Circle. Even in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s it was a throwback to another time, the ANTI big box store. Every day he stopped there for something on his way to or from making a deposit at the bank. He usually found a reason to stop there on Saturdays when he was doing errands.

Fast forward to the Monday after Christmas 2021. Omicron is running rampant.

I stopped for gas and am standing by my car as it fills. This little old man, looks like he came from central casting, is at the tank next to me.
Wearing a TRUMP hat and scarf, he is not someone I want to get closer than 6 ft. He asks me about Christmas. I say to myself, ‘be gracious, be gracious”. I tell him I don’t observe the holiday, how was his? He told me he worked in retail so he put off Christmas until after the New Year. ‘Be gracious, be gracious” I remind myself.

I asked where he worked, all the while swearing at him for even being close to me.
He said he worked at Gamauf’s Hardware.
Long story short, he remembered my dad even though he had left Akron in 1996.
He used to fix his tractor, his snow blade, remembered seeing me riding when he would come for the tractor, remembered my dad stopping in every Saturday morning.

It was unexpected that I would get my dad alive again that Monday morning. And another lesson to me that here with this man there was more that united us than divided us.

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