The day was dreary. The sky was letting us know that it was about to give the earth a satiating drink of its healing water. I sat nestled in the corner at Yellow Dog Bread Co., wrapping up emails, blog posts and social media calendars for 2016. My heart was heavy, but I powered through. I desperately needed to let go of a burden that continued to play like a broken record, bouncing off the walls in the four chambers of my heart. (I would actually say it was more like a balloon that I loved, but I couldn’t hold onto it and type at the same time.) But regardless, I held on.
Looking up for a mental break from my work, I saw an older gentleman fetching the trash bags from the bins outside. It wasn’t the first time I saw him dutifully doing his job as I did mine. In fact, it was probably the tenth time I had seen him slowly walk up and down the sidewalks on Person Street’s shop corner making it beautiful. I watched as he carefully lifted the lid and gently placed it on the ground. He tightly tied a knot at the top of the black bag and placed it beside him while he returned the metal lid to its proper place. I was fascinated. For that moment, I was suspended in my imagination and forgot about that balloon I was holding.
I began to realize things about the old gentleman. He was never without a flat cap, wore slacks and neat shoes, and held a toothpick in his mouth. He also never looked burdened. As I observed, I began to wonder about his story. Married? Possibly. Five kids? No, maybe three. Did he own the business? Definite possibility. Was he happy? I could guarantee it. After my four minute personal story-telling session, I decided to walk outside and say hello.
Swinging open Yellow Dog’s door, I walked up to him with a huge smile on my face and said, “Hi, I’m Taylor. I just wanted to tell you that I see you all the time here, and you always look nice and wear the best hats.” He grinned with his toothpick in place and said, “Well, thank you.” I naturally asked, “What is your name?” He naturally answered, “Herald.” “Well, it’s very nice to meet you Herald,” I said back. “I hope you have an amazing day.”
Joy overflowed from my heart as I made my way back to my seat. Herald. That was the perfect name for him. I took a deep breath and noticed my little balloon wasn’t so much of a burden anymore. Taking a minute to tie my favorite balloon to the chair and meet Herald made everything ok. He will never know that our two minute conversation made me realize that my balloon wasn’t a burden after all. Next time I see Herald, I’m going to say more than hello. As a thank you for being kind to the wide-eyed, heavy-hearted girl, I'm going to ask his favorite color and what he takes in his coffee.