Monday, May 26, 2008

Scrambled Eggs for a Stranger

Well, May is almost over. It has been a weird month weather-wise, more like fall than spring... kind of like a bad October, sort of cold and rainy.

I always think of my old friend Bill "Hicky" Healy in May. He passed away in May a number of year's ago. I posted about Hick's life in March a couple of years back. Hicky was a classic small town character. The kind of guy who really adds flavor to a small town.

Hick was quick with a pun and a smile and was always long on genuine kindness and short on gripes. He was one of a variety of regulars at Whtinisville's local diner, once called Barbara's Place, and known as "Peg's" for the last 15 or 20 years.

I'm not sure if he started it, but Hick was a great practicer of a tradition of buying breakfast for fellow diners at "The Ulcer Factory" as he liked to call it. Billy would pay for his breakfast and quietly pick up the tab for someone else, and simply leave.

I can say without exaggeration that I think of him just about every time I pay my check at a diner or breakfast joint. To this day, customers occasionally do this at Peg's. One of the waitresses told me she'd never seen anything like it, and that it happened all the time. It made her think fondly about the town, its residents, and the small, simple kindness you often find in small towns, where everybody seems to know everybody else.

It made me think of Hicky, who in his own way made Whitinsville a very special place for a lot of people, myself included. His kindness lives on, long after he has left for greener pastures, perhaps pulling up a seat in the ulcer factory in the sky.

For myself, I have adopted his practice. For the small price of a breakfast, I can out a smile on someone's face, brighten their day just a bit, and possibly encourage them to do a kindness for a stranger themselves. It's a nice, simple way of passing along good vibes and feeling good myself.

Give it a try sometime.

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