Lady at the Train Station

Jennifer on the train pic

Photo and Story
by
Elizabeth Vierra Hall

It was the first breezy, chilly 47-degree night of the season, mid-November at a train station in a very small town in California.  Normally 47 degrees isn’t so bad, but when it’s the first of the season after the warm California temperatures, it can take a while for the body to acclimate.  I was there sending off my daughter from her shortened, 23-hour visit. As my daughter was making her way to one of the open train cars, an elderly woman had stepped off with an Amtrak employee.  The woman was crying and clearly hobbling in pain alongside the employee.  Observing, I thought it odd that no help was given in the way of a wheelchair, or other relief assistance.  As my attention was teetering back and forth from the elderly woman clearly needing assistance to watching for my daughter at one of the window seats as I like to see her and wave one last goodbye for the night, the woman, now left alone, was wailing even louder.  I’m thinking that anytime now her ride would be here to pick her up as I’m watching and waving to my daughter.

As the train slowly pulled away out of the station, the woman began to wail in pain even louder; bent over the railing alongside the walkway between the tracks and the parking lot.  I turned around to observe if anyone was coming for the woman. I watched as Amtrak staff went back inside the office, people catch their connecting buses, and families helping to load their loved ones in their vehicles. Still no one came for this woman.  It was only her and I …at 7:50 p.m., dark night, vacant parking lot except for a few overnight parked vehicles.  As I continued to look around for signs of anyone coming for her, I walked up slowly so as not to startle her and ask if there was anything I could do for her. She proceeded to catch her breath just enough to tell me that she didn’t want to bother me and said she called her son to pick her up; he had forgotten. She kept telling me I didn’t have to stay and I told her there was no way I was leaving her alone out here in the dark.  I offered to walk her over to a nearby bench, but she didn’t want to move.  She said it would take too much energy and would hurt, so I rubbed her back as she hunched over the railing and talked to her to see if it would help calm her. All I could think of was how could anyone be so neglectful to allow this woman to be out in the cold, dark night, alone. As she began to calm, she told me that she had just fallen on the knee that she is supposed to have surgery on, and, that she just found out that she is VERY, VERY sick.  “I just don’t need all this right now!” she told me.  “It’s just too much!” and then began to break down again with uncontrollable sobbing.  With each vehicle that past by she’d say, “Here’s my son”…but it wasn’t, and as each car drove by that wasn’t her son, she cried.  Time passed and it was getting more breezy and colder.  Where is this son?

Finally her son drove in.  Did he rush to her aid?  No.  I watched as he 1) parked far away from her, 2) took time to slowly clean out his vehicle, 3) was clearly in no hurry to look around for her.  Really? I just couldn’t take it any longer, so I called out as I walked part way to his vehicle, “Are you here to pick up your mother?”  “Yeah”, he said as if it were a bother.  “She’s over here!”  I had to direct him over. She thanked me over and over for staying with her and said it’ll be okay and that I could go. I cried all the way home.  It was such an emotional experience.  Even though her son was there, I had to wonder if she really would be alright. My heart was tugged with all sorts of emotions.  Clearly, emotion for her well-being, but there seemed to be something else.  What was it? Even a few hours later, I was still crying.

After playing the night’s events over and over in my mind, it hit me, and it was two-fold.  The first was that fact that in today’s society people are so unaware of the needs of others even when it’s crying out right in front of you!  How robotic is our society? She was crying loud enough that everyone heard, yet she was ignored.  No one even approached her. My heart felt cruelty for mankind. I mean, just imagine if that woman were you or worse, your mother?  Can you imagine how much pain and hopelessness she was feeling on that cold, dark night?  Alone.  It’s just so upsetting.

And second, what I still can’t seem to put down into words, must be the heart’s emotion to helping someone in such distraught,  especially when no one else would; making a difference in someone else’s life.  Even now, almost two months later and tears in my eyes, I still can’t put it into words that would make you feel what the heart feels. And you know what?  I think, no, I believe, that there is a reason and a purpose for that.  It is an emotion that is best felt; only felt, with the heart. It’s a gift.  A gift that I was given to show love, faith in humanity; a purpose for our life on earth and that feeling that comes with it all wrapped up in one overpowering emotion never to be fully explained in simple words.

Let’s be thankful for our good health and for our families and friends that care enough to make sure we are safe to and from our destinations; for not everyone is as fortunate. Pray for the less fortunate. 💔

 

Shopping Encounter

Old trunk in Ione

IT’S ON MY HEART: Nugget for Life

Photo and story

by Elizabeth Vierra Hall

So yesterday late afternoon, I went to Walmart to pick up a few things. One of them was some linguica I wanted to add to my potato soup. I haven’t bought linguica in a very long time. As I was standing in the cashier line, I noticed a small, elderly woman just ahead of me. She looked to be in her late 80’s. First thing I noticed was her hair. You know the look, the generation that would go every week to get their hair done at a salon – there’s just that special look; my grandma had that same hair. As she turned to put her items on the conveyor belt, I noticed her earrings. They too reminded me of my grandma…that vibrant costume jewelry of the 70’s. As I continued to watch her take her items out of her cart, I began to think about grandma and all the good ‘ole days; days of shopping with grandma and her patience, her mannerisms and how she taught me how to behave (mind) in a store. Grandma never dreaded shopping; of course the shopping experience wasn’t like it is today. I sometimes wonder what she would think about Walmart.

As I wait for my turn, I continue going down memory lane. Many memories flooded the moment and it was sort of a peaceful, relaxed wait in line…until….

The woman in the line next to me says to her cashier, “Yea, I’m buying crack!” She says this SO loud and kept repeating it. She was a loud woman who looked to be in early 40’s. She had her own special look; LOUD. Loud clothes, loud hair, a look that says, “HEY…LOOK AT ME!” She goes on about crack this and crack that….the young guy with her, looked to be her son, was unloading the cart…WITH attitude. The woman continues with her crack story and I’m thinking…”What the heck is she talking about?” Then she says, “Yea, it’s for my cat. This stuff is like crack for cat, right?” Ahh. Apparently she’s talking about cat nip. I’m rolling my eyes (on the inside) thinking, “Good Lord, no class, no tact.”

While this was going on, the guy on the other side of me is so BADLY TRYING to flirt with his cashier. Oh, and I mean badly. For a brief moment I just had to close my eyes, clinch my teeth and shake my head. There goes my tender-hearted, relaxing walk down memory lane of the “good ‘ole days.” Lord, just get me out of here and right quick please!

As the elderly woman unloads her very last item, guess what it was? Yep, linguica, AND the same brand I had just picked up. I had to smile. As I was beginning to unload my cart, I showed her I had the same item. She smiled and said, “Good stuff.”  At that moment, I felt my grandma’s presence around me.  I started to catch that emotional lump in my throat.  I wonder if grandma was watching me from heaven shop today.

As the elderly woman left with her purchases, it was now my turn and I couldn’t help but think about those people around me and THEIR shopping experiences, the memories they are creating for their children and the difference from when I was a kid to now.  The experiences, etiquette or lack of and memories that they are going to be passing along to their kids and so on. What a shame. It makes you think about all things that will no longer be in existence because the passing of the etiquette torch as it were, has started to die off.  Isn’t that just sad. The world has become such a different place. I feel as if my heart is mourning for  the shopping experiences that once were.  What would grandma think?

Enjoy your Sunday. Make good memories.

Timing & Blessings

Birds on entertainment center

Timing & Blessings – A “What Just Happened Here?” Experience

Photo and story

by Elizabeth Vierra  Hall (originally written February 25, 2017)

 

Yesterday, as I was driving down what has been deemed as the nation’s worst highway, the 99. I asked for God’s blessing, and my guardian angel’s (my Mom), to safely get me to and from my destination.  My destination was the Barnes & Noble book store in Fresno to attend the book signing of Hanford’s own Tyler Henry.  After my quick request for safety from above, I happened to glance at the clock in the car; 11:11.  Many people believe that anytime you see same digits, it is a sign from above that your loved one is with you.   I happen to see that occurrence a lot lately.  An overwhelming heart feeling just squeezed me, then peace.  Before I knew it, I was driving up into the parking lot.

My first sight was the line that was starting to wrap around the building, and I was even a little over an hour early.  Oh boy, look at the cars in this parking lot!  Something tugged at me to quickly look to my right.  There it was, front row parking; the only one available in that area.  Another sign (blessing).  As I exited my car, I could hear something being announced over a speaker about the book signing, but with the constant noise of the parking lot traffic, I couldn’t hear what was being said.  Starting to panic a little that I missed an important directive about the event, I quickly walked up to the end of one line and asked the ladies what was just said.  They told me it was about the numbered wristbands for the particular lines.  What? What wristbands?  This is the first I’ve heard of this?  One of the ladies looked over to her husband and said, “Get that other wristband out, now I know who I’m supposed to give it to.”  The three of them, the lady, her husband and her mother, all looked at each other, then at me, with a look like I missed a joke.  I felt like I just walked into the middle of a movie.  My head is thinking, “OK, what just happened here?”  I asked what the deal was and she told me, “Don’t worry about it.”  “Something told me that this extra wrist band I got was for me to give to someone who was going to need it”, and then she winked and said, “It’s all good, don’t worry about it.”  Standing in line in amazement, she tells me that there are 8 groups of 50 people each; we are in group 3.  She said, “It’s all about timing.  You were meant for this.” Timing.  I’ve been hearing a lot about that lately.

With one hour left to wait before lines began to move into the store, we discovered how much we had in common, down to the very little things in life that usually one keeps to themselves.  We connected.  We shared, we laughed; it was such a peaceful, enjoyable blessing.  Positivity.   Something there doesn’t seem to be enough of lately. She had such an incredible energy about her and yet peace and warmth as well.  It felt like…home.  A home one doesn’t have, but longs for.

As our group is finally escorted inside the store, I  see Tyler sitting at a table with a few people standing around him.  His mom, Theresa, was off to the side speaking with a few people.  I’ve never met her in person; but we’ve messaged each other several times.  Such a lovely woman.  I was hoping to get to talk to her.  As I stood in  line approaching my turn I’m thinking, “I wonder if Tyler will recognize me from the two readings I’ve had  back in 2014.”  With all the people he’s been in contact with, I didn’t think it was likely.  As I am one person away from my turn, Tyler happens to glance up in my directions, sees me, and with that big warm smile, waves to me.  What do you know; he remembered.  Well, at least recognized my face, so I’m thinking.  When it was my turn, he stood up from his chair and gave me a big hug.  He asked me how I’ve been and that he thinks about me and my mother.  From this point on I can’t remember the exact words in our conversation because I was so surprised that he remembered the reading that was about my mom who passed when I was three years old.  Now what does one do?  Not wanting to hold up the line, I kept the conversation to thanking and showing support for what he’s doing and for making time for this local venue. “What just happened here?”

Walking away, or should I say floating away,  I noticed his mom was having a conversation with someone and I didn’t want to interrupt, so I walked passed to catch up with the kind people I stood in line with.  As I walked passed, Theresa touched my arm to get my attention and said…what did she say?  I can’t remember. I was still in another realm.  First thing she did was give me a big hug.  She mentioned that it was so nice to finally meet me and thanked me for supporting Tyler.  We talked for a bit, and then took a few pictures together.  It felt like family.  “What just happened here?”

The thing about all these moments; the clock, the parking space, my wristband friends, Tyler remembering me and my reading, the warmth of his mother…at each moment there was this warm feeling that came over me, like a hug from above.  Since January, I’ve been having these moments.  They usually bring an emotion of tears, which Theresa saw and then gave me another hug.  “What’s happening here?”

I’ve discovered that this is how I am being directed to move.  To write.  To help others.  To, hopefully, bring inspiration.  And at that moment it hit me.  Something Tyler said to me back on March 18, 2014 on that park bench where I had my first reading.  As my reading came to an end, he said I was going to live a long time because he feels that my purpose in this life is to help others.  “What just happened here?”

The hardest thing for me has always been not having my mom here on earth as my guidance growing up.  It’s supposed to be your foundation.  NO ONE can replace your mother; that guidance, love, support.  Someone to hug you, love you like ONLY a mother can.  That was stripped away from me at 3; never to be replaced.  But maybe, just maybe, in a nontraditional sense, she has been trying all along to be there for me. Tyler thinks so, and after that first reading it has opened my eyes, and heart, to another way of connectivity.  And so I say to all of you stuck in traditional beliefs, open up your heart and minds.  Be aware of the blessings that are happening all around you.  Get out of the negativity realm.  Break away from the humdrum just for a bit and see what you’ll discover.  You just never know what is waiting for you.  A chance to grow.  A chance to love. A chance to say, “What just happened here?”

A BIG thank you to my wristband friends, Claudia, Claudette and Erin, and to Tyler Henry and his mom Theresa.  You were all a part of another “What just happened here?” moment in my life.  God Bless You!

An Angel Experience

by Elizabeth Vierra Hall

 

Last night, while attending a retirement dinner in honor of a former co-worker and friend, I had an experience that could only be explained as an Angel experience.

Go back 38 years ago to sophomore year high school. I had an English teacher who was an admired, kind, strong and loving soul. Even though it was mandatory class, it didn’t seem like one. One particular day I had such a bad cold that seemed to just be getting worse. Just before class actual begun, she gave me money to buy some orange juice. Surprised by the gesture, I accepted and walked out of class quickly so that I wouldn’t miss much class time. As the class went on, I noticed how much better just drinking the juice made me feel. I was able to concentrate better on the class, her teachings, and the paper I needed to write. It was “term paper” time. Back in those days, “term paper” time was about as dreaded as finals.

So years have passed and I’ve never forgotten her gesture and how good some vitamin C can boost your system. Every time I get a cold, I go get some orange juice and think of her. All these years that have passed, I’ve always wanted to thank her and let her know that I have never forgotten. Thing is, she passed away at the young age of 45, and even though some may say it was only a few coins for juice, it was much more to me. Teachers don’t just hand out money to students. They don’t want interruption of class time and attendance, nor do they need students roaming the halls during class time; part of my amazement.

This teacher had a twin. A twin I never got to meet or cross paths, until last night. Seeing her walk through the door of the retirement party; time stood still for just a bit. All that went through my head was, “Go up to her and tell her what her sister did for you”, followed by, “No, that would just sound silly.” I continued to mingle with present and past co-workers and enjoyed the evening while continued thoughts of the past high school experience forced their way in and out. As the night started to come to an end and people were walking about saying their good byes, a strong force just had me think, “Go right now…just go up to her.” So I did. She was still sitting at her table, the family table – – go figure. I walked over, squatted down to her seated level, and said, “Hi. You don’t know me, but your sister was one of my teachers in high school and I just wanted to tell you something she did for me.” I began to tell her my story and that it probably sounds silly. I always wanted to thank her. She stood up and gave me a warm and loving hug, to a stranger. She motioned with her hand and and said her sister was there, on her shoulder. The overwhelming feeling that, even right now as I type this, came over me. It was an unexplained feeling. I began to cry. She shared stories of her sister and it felt like we were no longer strangers. The entire time, that strong feeling surrounded me. It felt like a cleansing of some sort. So hard to explain.

Over the past few years, I have come to believe that things happen for a reason. That people, places and events will have something that will be for either our benefit, for those around us, or perhaps for both. Life is short; shorter for others. Life isn’t just for our benefit, but for us to benefit others. To be good, loving and kind and to help each other grow. I think we are taught this, but not many TRULY experience it. It is a gift. Something not to take lightly in this our journey of living.

I have never forgotten this teacher.   Now that I have met her twin sister, I feel things have come full circle; the closure so to speak that obviously my heart needed after all these years. Thanks Janice for allowing me to share my story.

In case you were wondering, I did very well in that class back in 1979. I got an A. I also received an A on my term paper. It was entitled, “Child Abuse.”

I hope you all have a blessed Sunday. Enjoy it. Love it. Live it.