The Other I

July 29, 2010

Hug a grandmother

Filed under: Survival Strategies — theotheri @ 3:01 pm

In the last five years or so, I have been hugged by the most unexpected people.  Unexpected because they are typically young men – in their 20’s or 30’s – whom I barely know and whom I will never see again.

The first hug in this category was from a young man who came to take photographs for our property in the Lake District we were putting on the market.  The real estate agent wanted a distance photograph taken from the fells so we hiked ten minutes or so into the hills to get a good shot.  On the way, he told me about several uncanny dreams he’d had which seemed to be psychic.

I listened carefully because I have a healthy respect for folklore and traditions.  Mixed in with some silly superstitions, I think people often know a lot of things they don’t know they know, and when it shows up in dreams or intuitions, think it is psychic.  His stories were interesting and I didn’t laugh at them.

After the photographs had been taken, we walked back to his car.  He stored his equipment, and got in.  Then, unexpectedly, he got back out, gave me a hug, and wished us luck.  I never saw him again.

It happened again in a hotel in France when all the guests had been required by the fire department to leave their rooms.  It was fairly late at night and we all sat around a table while the young hotel manager served coffee or tea and biscuits while he tried to answer our questions.  When we were finally permitted to return to our rooms, I thanked him for what I imagined was as unexpected a night for him and it was for us.  Why he gave me a hug I don’t know.  He didn’t hug any of the other guests.  I don’t know what my husband thought.  We were both tired, and by the next morning I forgot to ask.

I was hugged again last week.  One of the young men who were topping up the cavity insulation in our property walls found me kneeling on the floor where I was cleaning behind the furniture they had needed moving.  “Oh,” he said, “you’re taking advantage of having to move everything.”  I laughed and said yes.  And when I stood up, he gave me a hug.

I absolutely do not know why I was the recipient of this unsought and rather delightful show of affection.  Although I am of an age to be a grandmother, I have never actually thought of myself as the grandmotherly type.

Perhaps these young men had grandmothers whom they loved.

Image from

Whatever the reason, unsolicited hugs are not to be dismissed.  I would never have thought I would remember a hug I received five years ago from  someone I’d never seen before and whose name I don’t even remember.

But I do.


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