Lessons from a Lady in Yellow

By: Barbara Schwartz


Dear Lady Waiting to Cross the Street in Quincy Center This Morning,

Thank you! While the outside temperature was warmer than it has been over the last few days, there was still a chill in the air. You were wearing all black except for a vibrant saffron colored scarf and a mustard yellow, felted cloche hat with flowers on it. I was in my car, stopped at a red light when I saw you. The bright colors of your accessories caught my eye. I was cranky, felling rushed, and wishing that I were anywhere but there. And then I saw you.

My first cranky thought at the figure you cut was, “Good Lord, but she’s wearing some bright stuff!” After all, since I was in such a gloomy mood, why wasn’t everyone else crabby? Then I quite uncharitably thought that you surely got these bright accessories from some bargain bin of unwanted or discarded items.senior-woman-in-winter-nature-going-ice-skating-P38XAJY.jpg

And then I looked at you. The sun was shining on your face, you were looking around the city as you waited for the light to change so that you could safely cross the street and you were smiling at people. And then you saw me looking at you – and you smiled at me. The light changed, you smiled at me again, crossed the street, and went on with your day.

The way you looked at your surroundings with interest, your smile, and yes, your bright, cheery and maybe sort of wacky-in-a good way accessories changed my day. I think you chose those items because they made you happy. They made you feel good. And in doing that, you brought connection and cheer to me.

And even though hours later, I’m still in a cranky mood, I smile when I remember how you changed my day. I imagine that you were wearing the saffron scarf and mustard hat because you loved them and they made you happy. And you reminded me that there are things I love that make me happy that I save for “special” when they should be worn, used and shared. So don’t be surprised if you see me tomorrow in a purple velvet swing coat as I go about my errands. And when I have tea tomorrow, I do believe I’m going to use my grandmother’s “coffee and” set that she used for company – because it brings me joy.

Gratefully yours,


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