Monday, May 29, 2006

Exceptional People in a One-Horse Town, Part IV

Fifth in a series. As I have written this series of posts about "exceptional" people, I am cognizant of the fact that some will read these and think, "These are not really 'exceptional' people, in fact, they are rather 'ordinary' folks. Sports 'heroes', movie & television 'stars', politicians, media personalities,... those are the truly 'exceptional' people". I guess it just depends upon one's definition of "exceptional". I'll stick with mine.

To say Winnie is a "domestic" or a "cleaning lady" is to tell the truth, but not "the whole truth, so help me God". I'll get one thing out of the way right now. She does a real good job straightening up and cleaning the house. She does the litttle things, the often overlooked things, that adds the icing to the cake. And, while she does not like to do ironing, she does it in a pinch and does it well. But that is not why I think she is exceptional, so no more space will be devoted to this.

Winnie is a "Hoot". She always makes me laugh, or at least smile a lot. She is one of those personalities that is bigger than life. More than a breath, but a gale-force wind of fresh air. I look forward to the days when I am off and she is scheduled to work. If my day has started off bad for some reason, my "down" mood is no match for Winnie's intrusion. With her comes a bright beam of sunlight that brightens up the darkest of days. Abby, my little Boston terrier, is a good judge of human character, and she runs around in circles and seems as happy as a hog in mud when Winnie arrives.

Now Winnie is a Yankee. She kinda ruins my sterotype of Yankees. She is also a retired employee of the U.S. Postal Service, rather destroying another of my sterotypes. I kid her that I know she was fired and did not retire, because she was ruining the hard-won reputation of the USPS's "service". I don't think any present USPS employees need fear that Winnie will get a Mac-10 or Uzi and pay them a visit. "Disgruntled"is not a word that pops to mind when thinking about Winnie.

Winnie moved south, while still a postal employee to be nearer some family members, including a son who was living in the area. Upon retirement, she sought employment in the area of domestic services. She began working for a friend of my mothers. The friend recommended Winnie to my mother, who employed her and then recommended Winnie to us. That was our lucky day.

Winnie is one of the most caring, compassionate, selfless, generous persons I have ever known. Among her clientele are several elderly widows. She watches over her brood like a mother hen. Winnie goes that extra mile to cater to their needs. She takes them shopping or shops for them. She takes them to their doctor's appointments. She brings them (and us) surprise gifts. She visits them at home or when they are in the hospital. She calls to check up on them and makes sure they are doing OK. She checks on our house when we are out of town, volunteering to take in the mail and feed the cat on a daily basis, explaining that she will be going by the neighborhood anyhow, so it is no trouble. Reluctantly, she sometimes accepts a tip for these additional services. But, she does not do it for the money. She cares about them and about us.

Winnie is an active member of her church. She lives the Christian life. She epitomizes the saying, "If you are a Christian, act like one...You may be the only Bible some folks will ever see".

A devoted family person, she thinks nothing of jumping in her car and driving to New York and back to check on her elderly mother. Often she makes the round trip over a weekend. Round-trips to Atlanta to check on her son and dote on her grandchild are also a regular occurances in her life. She gives and gives and gives of herself.

I am very thankful that this remarkable, caring woman entered into our lives.


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