In The Presence of Greatness
copyright 2015 by Karen (Karina) Garrison
The day wasn’t extraordinary in any way. Same talk of snow, same dismal December greys and browns smudging the Ohio Valley background as if painted by the hand of a melancholy artist.
Usually, I am a positive person, turning over challenges to discover those precious gems of hope buried beneath. But today was different. Perhaps it was the dark news broadcast over the radio as I drove along the highway. Perhaps it was because of the next radio station I turned to that was idolizing celebrity lives and their designer wardrobes.
Whatever had me depressed, I needed to shake it off fast. Within minutes, I’d arrive at the local library to somehow lead and inspire my writers group.
“Shh…here’s the teacher,” one of the members joked as I entered the library.
I smiled but didn’t take my eyes off the new guest sitting beside one of my regular members. Dressed handsomely in black trousers, a grey button-down dress shirt and vest, he was the definition of refinement. He grinned somewhat nervously at me when I walked over to him, and as I held out my hand for an introduction, he immediately stood, took off his hat and brought it to his chest. That’s when he captured my heart.
Now, everyone who knows me knows I love bygone eras. On those rare occasions where I have time to watch television, you can bet the channel will be turned to a 1950s black-and-white movie, where men were debonair and the women—classy. And a gentleman rising to his feet in a lady’s presence might not seem like a noteworthy act, but it was for this man. His careful movements showed his advanced age, but with painstaking effort, he’d acted on gentlemanly principles that reflected a time when those principles were still being taught in the home and society.
Like a tingling electrical current, I sensed that I was in the presence of someone completely different than those in my usual social circles. And I wasn’t letting go.