the sunshine spreader

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