I visited the local library today where I was greeted by a delightful gentleman with an infectious smile. When I asked his name, he grinned from ear-to-ear and declared with great pride, “They call me the Sunshine Spreader!” In his lap sat a well-worn journal, its pages brimming with writing and small snippets of cards and paper clippings. The journal, #26 in the series, served as a kind of autograph book, a place to collect signatures and well wishes from new friends along the way. Of course, I asked to sign his journal. Composing the message was simple because sincerity was all that was required. He was clearly pleased with the attention and spent a good while sharing the stories of his life.
The man spreading sunshine is named Ralph White. He lives in Partlow with his wife Rosemary, and they’ve been married 54 years. Ralph tells us that he could set up a home office with a fax machine and such, but he loves to come to the library instead because he can socialize and make new acquaintances. He wraps his arms around us, both my husband and I, and we feel the warmth of his genuine kindness.
It’s easy to see how Ralph comes by his nickname, and sunshine is what the world needs now.
And more libraries, of course.
“In my mind, well-aged has meant well-lived. I don't cover my furniture in plastic so it will retain its look 30 years from now. I don't save certain plates for a meal we might have some day. Evidence of living intrigues me and piques my curiosity. Experience is rich.”—Randi Buckley
“The true material of knowledge is meaning. The only way to glean knowledge is contemplation. And the road to that is time. There’s nothing else. It’s just time. There is no shortcut for the conquest of meaning. And ultimately, it is meaning that we seek to give to our lives.”
—Maria Popova, Brain Pickings
There is nostalgia when a local business announces plans to close. We’ve shopped for garden supplies, plants—shrubs, trees, and flowers—at Roxbury Farm & Garden Center on Lafayette Boulevard for all of our married life. From our first purchase, the Crepe Myrtle near the driveway entrance, to the herbs and perennials that cascade over the sidewalk to our front door, Roxbury Mills has always been a part of our community. We already feel a sentimental longing for the days of fine customer service and quality products.
If we give meaning to life through time, it’s places like this that serve us well. For in the garden, there is always time for contemplation.