I was in a grocery store this morning and the front registers were located where it was it easy to look out at the cars in the parking lot.
I put my items up on the belt for the cashier and a young woman walked up to the end of the register, where the groceries are bagged, and she was laughing and talking with the cashier. The cashier gave her something and they chatted for another minute, then the young woman walked out the front door of the grocery store.
The cashier paused and was lost in thought for a moment, watching the young woman walk away and toward a vehicle in the parking lot. She finally broke away from her daydream and smiled at me.
ďThatís my baby,Ē she said.
I turned and looked toward the parking lot and watched the young woman for a second or two then I smiled back at the cashier.
As I was walking out of the store, I thought of my daughter in Africa. This lady was enjoying seeing her girl for a moment at work. I havenít seen mine since the first of January. And that is the only time Iíve seen her in two years.
Sheís in the Peace Corps.
I loaded my groceries onto my front seat and got in my car to start the engine. I found myself pausing and thinking about my kids for a minute. I realized God made me pretty strong and open minded to handle a young pretty daughter, barely 21-years-old, leaving and going so far away for so very long, all alone.
Then I thought of those who are deployed with our military. I thought of the ones who are left behind, and I realized how strong they and their entire family must be.
My mind wandered and I looked across the parking lot where the cashierís daughter was just pulling out.
I smiled and I turned left, heading to work.
A couple of hours later at the office, we received notification from Milton Police about Travis Kelly and his arrest for DUI manslaughter in that horrible crash on Stewart Street last month. You might wonder how this relates to the rest of this column today, but it does because itís about strength and faith and loss.
I built a gallery on our website with photos from the day of the crash. I canít shut off the humanity in me when I am working as a reporter. The photos include the SUV where Susan Hartfelder died. There are white sheets over the vehicle because she was still inside while we were there.
I thought of her family and friends and students when I uploaded those pictures. I wanted a chance to tell them how sorry we are about what happened that day.
And how very, very strong they all must be.
Written: Sept. 20, 2013