It’s Great To Be The Only Person In The Room

I fell against the side of my house on Friday.  My foot caught the front mat and I smacked my head into the brick wall.  (No, I will not validate that story.)

There was a bright light, then pain, then blood.  Then the eventual realization that I was going to have to go back to work on Monday and have everyone see this monstrosity on my fivehead.


But first…Mother’s Day.  Three dozen extra large crabs…a two-homer effort from Manny Machado (including a grand slam)…and gorgeous weather.  Lots of flowers.

I give you that back story because I couldn’t bring myself to show my face at work on Monday.  So I worked from home…feverishly dousing my head with Neosporin in the hope that it would miraculously heal enough to venture in on Tuesday.  It didn’t.  But I went to work anyway.

As I worked from home on Monday, I found my way into our fridge for lunch.  Into the bag of leftover crabs.  I threw down the Sunday sports section of the Baltimore Sun on the kitchen counter and picked a few.  As I stood there, I began reading an article on my newspaper placemat about Buck Showalter’s mom (apropos for a Mother’s Day column), who passed away during the last series in October 2015.

This was his first Mother’s Day without her.

Some of the quotes from the article:

“I think about her every day.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up the phone to call her. She lived and died with everything we did. Maybe that’s too strong. She took a lot of pride in how the Orioles were doing. That was a big thing at the house. Everybody knew at 6:45, 15 minutes before the game, you had to be inside the house sitting down. Everybody was welcome, but at 7 o’clock, you weren’t getting in the house.”

Linda Showalter was not a pushover.  She was tough as nails.  Even in suburban northern Florida in the 1960’s, just south of the Alabama border…she made it known that racism and bigotry was not to be tolerated.

As I read further, another quote struck a particular note:

“She always had time for everybody.  She never rushed through anything when she was dealing with somebody. She always had the ability to make somebody she was talking to feel like they were the only person in the room. If somebody thought it was important enough to bring it to her, she would stop everything.”

That’s a special trait to possess nowadays.  With the constant buzz of texts and emails distracting us.  With the TV on and the tablet up and the laptop next to you.  Not many folks can truly afford to give you their undivided attention.  Or go out of their way to stop everything else and focus only on you.


Last night, my better half and I were catching up on this week’s episode of CBS Sunday Morning.  One of their segments featured a deaf man who — among his many, many other difficulties in dealing with the general public — had a very tough time doing something as menial as ordering a drink at his local Starbucks.

But the next time he went in to buy a drink, there was a sign at the register placed there by one of the baristas:

“I’ve been learning ASL (American Sign Language) just so you can have the same experience as everyone else.”

She had no other friends or family members who were deaf.

She had no other reason to learn ASL.

Other than to treat that man like he was the only person in the room.

Buck Showalter’s mom would have been proud.

2 thoughts on “It’s Great To Be The Only Person In The Room

  1. Patrick, this was such an amazing article! It certainly hit home for me and I think your message was so meaningful. You are quite the talented writer, my friend!

    p.s. hope your head is okay!


  2. Pat

    Kathy, and I also saw that segment. It is refreshing to see someone take the extra effort to make someone comfortable, and tends to renew ones faith in how a simple gesture can have such a positive impact. Way to go Starbucks! makes that $ 6.00 coffee well worth it, Also great P R for S B and the caring employee giving the co. national recognition. CBS Sunday Morning should do a complete series of Steve Hartman past stories.

    Also, very sorry to hear of your accident. We did not know. Hoping everything heals quickly. george


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