One week ago today, I was attending The Scottish Highland Games in Ventura and this year was quite unlike any other...
It's always interesting to see how people grow and change as each year passes. The same folks seem to always be at this event but I never imagined that there would be a loss...
A very favorite vendor known to all as "The Sweater Lady" was not in attendance this year, but her daughter was. As we each came to visit or buy from our "Sweater Lady", we learned that our dear "Sweater Lady" had passed away on September 5th.
I was devastated.
I have seen "The Sweater Lady" for many years at both Scottish Highland Games and at the Pomona Irish Fair and it was in the past two or three years that I had finally introduced myself with my given name and asked The Sweater Lady for her's - it seemed so silly to call her The Sweater Lady!
Her name was Nydia (like Lydia but with an "N") and she had sold sweaters at the fairs for over 12 years and I remember buying many favorite sweaters from her, not to mention having conversations with this lovely lady. I would share things happening in my life and places I had gone to. She told me of places she had traveled to and where she was traveling between selling at the fairs. She was excited to learn that I'd had artwork published and wrote down the names of the books to look them up.
She was warm and kind and always smiling in her very busy booth. She had many customers who looked forward to seeing her and buying sweaters from her, or kilts or plaid jackets. Nydia loved selling to us all and never forgot a face. She remembered me though we only saw each other once or twice a year! I always looked forward to seeing her at the games in Ventura and at the Irish Fair if she was selling.
When I saw her last year, she was not planning on selling at the Irish Fair, so I said I'd see her next year at the games, but it was not to be...
Everyone who heard the news of Nydia's passing was saddened by it and spoke to her daughter about how much Nydia would be missed by us all. I think it was good for Nydia's daughter to hear how much we appreciated Nydia and how much she will be missed. Nydia left a legacy of generosity and kindness that many of us will always remember.
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Lately, I've been observing that we really don't know what an effect we have on others. We might be speaking and say something of little consequence to us, but it can make a huge impact on the person hearing it. You might smile at a stranger and it will make their day though you may never know it*. There might be people in your daily life that walk in and out, like your postal carrier, the FedEx person or the person at the check-out at the grocer's but you see them on a regular basis and they do see you. They become a part of the pattern of your Life. Believe it or not, they may very well notice your absence if you stop going to the same post office or grocer's.
We may have small, short interactions with strangers but you just never know when it might have more meaning for the other person on the receiving end.
In our own ways, we each have a chance to leave a legacy of humanity with every encounter we have with each other, no matter how small that encounter is...
Though I saw Nydia only once or twice a year, she was a part of the pattern of my life.
For me, her legacy is one of warmth with her smiles and her sweaters.
For me, the Scottish Highland Games will not be the same without her.
* - My blog buddy Kat at I Saw You Dancing wrote this week along similar lines, about missed connections, that really resonated with me. Please take a moment to stop by her blog and read her post and maybe take a little time to think about the people that pass through your days. They really are part of the pattern of your life.