Somewhere between here and mid-state Vermont there is a one-pump gas station well off the highway nestled in amongst asbestos shingled porches and brick facades. It’s well lit and safe. The cashier is warm in his red flannel shirt and one-up/one-down ear flapped hat. It smells like a fresh pot of coffee inside the propane heated shop no matter what time of day it is. It might be snowing and though its only 5:30 you feel like you have been enshrouded by middle-of-the-night darkness for hours. The passenger side front seat is almost cocoon-like with the car still warm from the heater and the parka thrown over your legs; the encompassing warmth only momentarily interrupted by the gust of cold as the driver gets out to pump. And you hardly mind at all. While you wait, your eyes fix on the single strand of Christmas lights strung over the door lighting the white snow in bountiful color…blink, blink, blink…on and off they go, impervious to the weather or the darkness. They look so haphazard that it’s hard to believe that they mean something to anyone in particular and yet, in the silence, this whole scene creates a sense of joy and peace and good will towards man rarely experienced in other more purposeful endeavors. So you take a breath and take it in…blink, blink, blink.
I don’t know exactly where this gas station is but I know I will find it in the coming weeks. I will be drawn to it almost as if guided by some nurturing hand to remind me that all the risk, all the tears, all the worry can be remedied with the glistening silence of a snow fall on a peaceful winter’s night…blink, blink, blink. And just then I will remember that love prevails and hope endures. That, more often than not, I am lucky and safe and protected and when I falter, I can have faith that there is some guy in Vermont who can pour serenity into a styrofoam cup, can tolerate difference with a wink, can bring peace with a strand of lights.
We at F.H. Perry Builder don’t always get everything right but I know that we never stop hoping and loving with all of our might. We are small but we are mighty. Every now and again, we hope we may be a rest stop for serenity, tolerance, and peace—just look for the lights over our door…blink, blink, blink.
May all be merry and bright.