As a word, "nice" gets short shrift these days.
I remember when "tough" was the same as "nice." Of course, that's going back to the late 1960's. My mother hated when I used that word to describe something "nice."
Today, wonderful things are described as "awesome," which I find to be a bit of an overstatement. The Grand Canyon is awesome. The Sistine Chapel is awesome. A double cheeseburger with bacon isn't, although I admit I probably consider it to be really "nice."
I guess this is on my mind because last week I witnessed a number of things that made me say, "Oooh, how nice." One was at the 4th of July parade, where a nice young Navy man in uniform across from us who stood throughout the parade. I was very touched, for whenever the flag went by, this young man proudly saluted.
While the rest of us stood out of respect like we are supposed to do (and I think fewer and fewer people realize that's what you're supposed to do when the flag goes by), his solitary salute reminded me of what a special connection to that symbolic flag he has as a member of the U.S. military.
But what was really nice was when the American Veterans motorcycle group thundered by and, one by one, went over to this young man and shook his hand. They didn't know him, but it was with profound respect that they singled him out in the crowd and took time to thank him for serving his country.
The brotherhood they displayed with this total stranger brought the true spirit of the 4th of July home, and it was nice.
Later at a friend's cookout, it was nice to meet a lovely woman named Dorothy who told me she also remembered the little children who did drills in long ago parades that I'd written about. She made my day, knowing someone else shared that nice memory with me.
The word "nice" just elicits a happy and quick momentary emotional response. And it's simple. Gardening was nice this weekend as I found a nice fat worm in my dirt. It wasn't like winning the lottery, but it was a nice surprise from Mother Nature.
Evidently, the word "nice" carries a lot of weight with me. In my childhood, if my mom said to me, "that wasn't very nice," I would feel really bad.
One always needed to be "nice." Remember Mother Nature herself even used the word in commercials when she'd say, "It isn't nice to fool Mother Nature." Maybe it's simply a mother word.
But the nicest part of last week came as I was standing in our garden, when all of a sudden a little bird flew onto me and sat on the strap of my shirt. I looked at it and it at me. It must have been as shocked as I. It only stayed a few seconds, but it was the nicest feeling in the world.
So here's hoping you, too, have some really "nice" moments this week.