Home > General, Guest Posts > Stopping To Smell The Roses – A Story About James and Grandpa

Stopping To Smell The Roses – A Story About James and Grandpa

Growing up my dad used to tell us long, elaborate, wildly fantastical stories – at bedtime, on one of our many camping trips or basically anytime the mood struck him. I’m grateful to have inherited some of my dad’s story-telling genes and am equally happy to share another one of his tales with you (this time 100% true), about him and James.

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Stopping To Smell The Roses

by Michael Gerrity

The Roman philosopher Seneca once said that a good memory is the best gift that you can give yourself and James has provided more than a precious few.  One day sticks out in particular – I get a chuckle every time it comes to mind.

About four years ago when Michaela and Ryan were moving to Manhattan, I had James at my hotel in Times Square.  I was in town on business and they were looking for apartments.  I decided to take James to Toys R Us.  At that point in his life he was most definitely not interested in the giant indoor ferris wheel so we ended up buying a basketball to take outside.  I was wondering where we could toss it around when James came up with a great idea.  If I would just stand on the corner of 51st and Broadway and make my arms into a hoop he could use me as a net.  So for about 30 minutes James shot baskets using my face as a backboard.  Even being in NYC we attracted a bit of attention, but we were creating a great memory and having a fantastic time.

After I was exhausted and dirty enough, I convinced James we should retire to our hotel.  James agreed after finding out the hotel had Sponge Bob Square Pants on their TVs (apparently not something found on TV at home).  We entered the lobby elevator – my room was on the 17th floor.  As we entered we were followed by one of the hotel security staff – a big burly looking fellow and a tall young woman dressed in a chic black gown and carrying a dozen red roses.   We said hello. Neither of them responded.  Before we hit the fourth floor James had asked twice if he could smell the lady’s roses.  She and the security man continued to stare at the elevator door without flinching, as if engrossed in some Escher drawing or a Broadway Play.  It was bit uncomfortable as James continued to request a sniff, and as we approached the 8th floor they both kept staring straight ahead.

At this point I just wanted the ride to be over (desperately).  Then James turned and looked up at me and said in a quiet, but crystal clear voice, “Grandpa I really wish I could smell those roses.”  Now the silence from our elevator companions was nearly unbearable.  Just when I thought I could take no more of their ignorance of James, the cool lady broke, bent down and said “Would you like to smell the roses?”  It was all James wanted and he took one long sniff of sniffs.  I could not help but notice the smile on the woman’s face as she watched James’s grateful reaction.  From the corner of my eye I caught the big burly security man staring straight ahead and grinning from ear to ear.

Embarrassing? Sure. But it was also a most memorable and beautiful moment – especially to see how his quiet, innocent persistence brought some joy and smiles to others, despite themselves.  Thanks James for helping us all “stop and smell the roses.”

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