She was perched on the little brick window-ledge beside the entrance to the supermarket, with a dinged-up walking frame next to her and a tin box for tickets and change on a fold-up table in front.
The sign said Raffle and her name tag said Pat Somebody.
“It’s for Christchurch,” she told us. We pooled our change and discovered we had $10 between us, so we purchased 10 tickets.
“Have you ever been to Christchurch?” she asked as Mr B filled out one ticket after another. Yes, he told her he’d been and it was lovely.
“I never been,” she said. “I hear it is beautiful. But we gotta help them after that earthquake.”
We agreed. Mr B went on filling in tickets. She said again, this time to herself, “I never been.”
The old lady wore the front part of her shoulder-length, grey hair pinned back with little clips, just like you’d put in the hair of your daughter on her first day at kindergarten. Her cheeks were very rosy.
We asked if she’d had a good response to the raffle, and she said “Oh, yes! It’s been very busy.” And then possibly by way of explanation, she said, “It’s a big basket of fruit and all kinds of foods. Very, very good.”
Mr B finished filling in all the tickets, and handed the book back to her. The sly fox, he’d put the old lady’s name on all the tickets, instead of our own. Once she understood, she was over the moon. Her grin was ear to ear.
As we left, Mr B said “I hope you win, Pat,” and the old lady called out to us across the car park, “So do I!” We could hear her laughing and it made us laugh, too.
Mr B does these thoughtful little things all the time. It’s why I love him so much.
Well, one of the reasons.