Thursday, June 2, 2011

Jock, or Jacque, or Joc, or Jok

He has a dog.

Dog's name is Roger.

Jock, or Jacque, or Joc, or Jok (hereafter referred to as simply "J" to prevent incredibly frustrating redundancy) walks with Roger everywhere. J must clock at least ten miles a day, maybe more.

Originally from Scotland, his accent is thick, his laugh is hearty, and he spits just a touch when he talks, so that after a conversation, you know you've been in his company.

But you're smiling.

Because J is the kind of man who walks through life looking for connections. He stops and talks to everyone--no matter if you're a 95-year old woman or a two-year old boy, like my son Tyler. As soon as we moved into our home on Lesley, J started chatting us up every time he happened to pass by with Roger while we were in the front yard dancing, singing, tip-toeing, or being silly in some other kind of silly way.

Then, at Christmastime, we came home one day to find a massive yellow Caterpillar digger in front of our door. In a plastic bag, waiting. Tyler's head just about fell off in excitement.

Later, a bag of books appeared, after J had heard that I loved reading MG and YA novels.

Now, whenever we see J walking when we're out and about, he has a pound coin for Tyler. Now, with the exchange rate at 1.64 from pounds to dollars (as of today), and with J giving Tyler a pound coin at a very high frequency (at least one every few days), J is seriously investing in our family, and in Tyler's Gingerbreadman-purchasing ability.

In other words: J is a remarkably generous guy--with his time, with his money, with his concern for other people.

I don't know his whole story, but the snippets he has shared with me encourage me to believe that he is, like most of us, a person whom tragedy has touched in various ways, but one who has chosen to grow more loving and kind in the face of struggle, rather than to become more cynical and bitter.

For J, life is about connecting with people in every way possible--and the 12 kids who live on our street and get Christmas and birthday presents every year from him (as well as pound coins whenever he sees them playing out and about on his walks) will tell you the same.

J is a guy who lives through what all of us live through, and he finds a way to love in the midst of it. To care for people with total disregard for what they can do for him, how they can repay him. I think J is the kind of person who operates under an older concept than those currently advised by so many business, self-help, winning-friends-and-influencing people kind of books.

Instead, J simply cares. For people. Come what may.

He's the kind of guy that can tend to make a person see what really matters at the end of the day. Thanks, J.