The other day, on my way to my car, in Danville’s Westover Drive Food Lion parking lot, I saw something which “jumped out at me” (not literally, though).
It began with something we all do (or should do) with our grocery carts when we’re through with them, but morphed into a sort of game.
A lady was getting ready to put her cart in the store parking lot’s used cart bin. But the way in which she did it was most unique.
She appeared to be in her late 60s. But how she “parked’ her cart was like a child at play. She sighted along her thumb in the same manner as Gary Cooper in “Sergeant York” (1941) when he “took a bead” with his Springfield Rifle. This lady’s “sighting” also had a purpose since she and her cart were about 20-30 feet away from the other parked carts.
The look upon her face brought back to me the look of a determined game-playing kid on the grammar school playground. It also reminded me of the look on a pitcher’s face while winding up for a pitch (but in this case, she was “pitching” a grocery cart, not a baseball).
She let go with a push (or a shove) after setting the same look of determination on her face as that of an athlete about to give it her best shot.
At the sound of her grocery cart crashing into line with those already assembled carts (kind of like a bowling ball hitting the pins), her face lit up like a bowler who had just made a strike! I also thought of the look of triumphant joy on the faces of croquet players and “whack-a-mole-ers” (a kind of “opposite end of the spectrum” in these last two).
I was surprised that after her successful “strike,” the senior lady didn’t raise her arms and exclaim, “Woo-hoo!”, or in my day, “Yee-Ha!”
In her apparent levity of mood, she added a sense of sport to something as utilitarian as a grocery cart.
In her own way, she gave evidence that a sense of playfulness should last for many decades past the eruption of wisdom teeth and into the denture years (although; I did not enquire as to her particular dental condition).
In fact, such a happy sense, like a musical instrument, should be tuned, played, returned, and played throughout life.
When we were children, our parents stressed the changing out of our “good clothes” and shoes into dress less formal for play, preserving those “good clothes” for when a proper impression should be made.
So, try to add a little (or more) playfulness into the daily things you do (of course, not in driving or balancing a checkbook).
Just a fraction of a percentage point of playfulness can change the character of the whole day.
When your mind laces up its figurative “Air Jordans” in order to make a “free throw,” don’t worry about what else you may be wearing.
It’s okay to play in your good clothes!