Have you ever heard the term “God-bumps”? The first time I heard it, was from a friend and spiritual role model, and former colleague, Mrs Carolyn Cook.
“God-bumps” are those very special moments when you know God orchestrated something to make a bold statement, even in the tiniest of gestures. You know there is no mistaking that God just sent you a special message, to let you know He is out there, and He is indeed working in mysterious ways. It sends shivers right up and down your spine, and often leaves you breathless.
Yesterday, I got God-bumps. And I dare say, Dalton got them, too. I wanted to share this special moment…maybe after reading this, you will experience them, too.
As you know, I love taking photos – especially of the everyday moments in life that bring JOY, whether it be life moments with friends or breathtaking shots of my surroundings.
I’ve been pleased to see Dalton has picked up that photo-bug gene, too. We will often hang out together just to search for interesting pics around the island. It’s a nice way of spending an afternoon together. Philip enjoys photography, too, and they will often set out on their own photo adventures. What a great family hobby.
Yesterday, I was scheduled to work at Thriftys’s for the morning, to help put out “new” stock before they opened for the afternoon. As sometimes happens, I dragged Dalton along to help us. We had an excessive amount of bags to go through, having received extra freight from the Curling Club’s yardsale, and he was easily bribed with breakfast burgers from Food for Thought. It was during this morning shift, Dalton spied an old camera bag.
One of the number one rules of being a volunteer at Thrifty’s, is you can not make any purchases of things that get put out during “closed” hours. If you are working during “open” hours, you have to wait until the last half hour of your shift. The alternative, is to make sure you get there the next time they are open. This prevents potential “pickers” from volunteering just to get first dibs on the “good” stuff. Vivian, our Boss Lady, was looking for feedback on what to do with this bag, and its contenas …a 35mm Nikon camera. It still had film in it, and there was another roll of new film in the bag. Who knew how old this camera was, let alone the mystery photos on that film? Dalton was intrigued, to say the least. All I could think, was where would you even get it developed? All Vivian could think, was in this day and age of digital cameras, an old camera like this, no matter how nice, would be a hard sell, especially at Thrifty’s.
Finally, it was decided, as a big-ticket item, it would be placed at the cash counter away from the trivial 25 and 50 cent knick knack items. Electronics are a real hard item to get rid of in a thrift shop. Dalton expressed his interest to Vivian, and promised to be be back that afternoon to purchase this “antique”, hoping it would still be there.
We finished our shift, and I went about the rest of the morning with my plans. Philip popped in at lunch, and I shared the story of Dalton’s find. We both lamented about how it was just “one more useless toy” that would clutter up his house, but I knew this useless toy had value, not just monetary, but as item of curiosity and intrigue … I dare say, it did that same something to Dalton’s spirit. I understood his feeling of urgency to get back to Thrifty’s when they opened at 2. So I was not surprised to receive a text later, asking if he could get a drive back up.
Then the impatient text at 2:05, wondering where I was! I just had to finish bagging up a customer’s order, then I would be right along. Ten minutes later, another text…lol, yes, I am in the Jeep, in Woodward’s Cove, almost to your house.
At 2:30, we were waiting our turn to gain access to Thrifty’s; masks on, and wallets in hand. I found a couple of treasures for myself, and Dalton moved quickly to the line at the counter. Vivian is working cash today. Her eyes smile from behind her mask, as she spied Dalton and knows his mission. The camera case is resting beside her.
Then we both hear the words. The lady in front of us asks what is in the case, and inquires of a price.
Dalton and I both turn to each other, not seeing each other’s mouths drop wide open behind the masks, but I definitely see the anguish in his eyes. He turns to look at Vivian, as she knowingly looks over the woman’s shoulder to watch Dalton’s expression as she says to the lady (I’m pretty sure she’s a tourist, too!!)… “I’m sorry, that camera is already spoken for”. My heart just did a somersault. I’m pretty sure, if there hadn’t been a plexi glass barrier, Dalton would have jumped right over that counter, disregarding any rule of social distancing, and given Vivian the biggest hug she ever received. I held back a tear, absorbed by the fabric of my mask. Bless that woman’s heart.
Dalton floated back to the vehicle, and couldn’t wait to open the bag and inspect the contents more closely. We sat for a few minutes, looking it all over. He was so excited! We both imagined what might be on that film. Would there be photos of friends, or family? Scenes around the island, or a vacation in a far off land? Family pets? Would there be islanders we would recognize? It was all pretty exciting. It was too good of a camera to imagine a kid who took those poorly composed pics that get easily discarded in the trash. The first feat would be to find a place to get it developed… or if the age of the film would even allow images to be saved.
Then it happened.
Dalton discovered a luggage tag on an inside pocket. He flipped it over to reveal the owner’s name and address. We both just stared at each other. At the tag. At the writing. I don’t think either one of us could breathe.
I could even feel Dalton’s God-bumps in the air.
My island friends will quickly recognize the name. And likely have God-bumps, too.
Graeme was a special old soul in a teenager’s body. He loved the outdoors, he loved people. I enjoyed teaching him, many years ago. He was kind and funny; so good natured. When he was diagnosed with cancer, he kept those characteristics… and inspired all of us with his strength and perseverance.
I remember visiting him at his home, seeing his smiling face. He loved having visitors, and could easily make any of us laugh, no matter how sick he was feeling. I treasure my friendship now with his parents, John and Diane. It isn’t hard to see where Graeme got those characteristics.
Fast-forward, 2015. Dalton graduated from GMCS. We were pretty proud of his accomplishments, including various scholarships and bursaries. He showed determination and perseverance through his own journey with childhood cancer.
Of all the awards, I felt the most special one for him to have received was the Graeme Cunningham Memorial plaque.
And now you know what “God-bumps” are!!
*Philip remembered visiting Graeme, and how proud he was to show off his gift from Chidler’s Wish Foundation…that is another connection Dalton could share. We will keep you posted if/when the photos get developed!