Flt. Lieut. (Retired) George Brewster, whose history a fighter pilot who flew the legendary Spitfires during the Second World War earns him enormous respect among cadets. (Citizen file)

Sarah Simpson column: A kind word can change your day

The phone message that made me smile

I dragged myself into work recently, for the early shift, with a coffee in one hand, a NeoCitran drink in the other and a Kleenex stuck firmly up my nose.

I was sick. It wasn’t pretty.

I’ve had that cold that doesn’t go away. The one where you feel pretty reasonable one day and so you carry on with normal life and then you wake up the next morning with your eyes glued shut by some type of sticky something that’s gross and with snot dripping down the back of your throat, feeling like you’ve been pelted repeatedly by rocks a la Shirley Jackson’s 1948 shocker “The Lottery”.

Anyway, work is important to me, I like my job. And given I knew I would likely be spending much of my shift in the newsroom alone, I went in sick.

There are perks to being alone. You can play music if you want. You can talk to yourself or read your work aloud without people laughing or getting annoyed with you. Best of all, you can listen to your voicemail on speakerphone. It’s a little thing, but it gives this multi-tasker two hands to get my day organized while I listen to my messages. It makes me feel very efficient. I love efficiency.

I work part time now and that’s translated into not very many phone messages. But I did have one that early shift so I put it on speaker while I prepped for my day.

It was my friend George Brewster.

I wrote about being invited to Mr. Brewster’s 95th birthday party on March 17.

I wrote about Mr. Brewster’s trip to Dieppe last July.

I can’t help myself from writing about him again.

He had called to thank me for my column about being invited to his party.

There’s something about Mr. Brewster that fills me up. Does that even make sense? I feel like he just gets it. This man, in his loveable rambling two-minute message, made me smile from ear to ear on a day I was feeling not at all like smiling.

He told me “I think of you often with fondness just for being who you are.”

Is that not the sweetest thing ever to say? It certainly melted my icy little heart.

“I want to tell you how many people I’ve heard from,” he added in relation to my party column. “They said ‘she writes about little things that mean so much’. I think that Mother Theresa said there are no big things, there are only little things done with great love and I feel that you have that kind of love for what’s around you and you can even make an old man like me feel good about being old.”

Wow. What a compliment.

And then he said something that pretty much is the entire point of my column and so I wanted to share it.

He said: “I think it’s the ordinary things in life that make a big difference that keep us from losing our heads altogether in a very troubled world; to be reminded the joys of the simple things,” he said.

So keep searching, everyone. The little things are out there if we only take the time to look for them.

And thank you, Mr. Brewster. You made my day.


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