As I sat in the corner of the cafe reading and sipping my steaming hot caramel coffee. The smell of fresh brewed coffee and ginger bread cookies filled the air. The atmosphere was warm and the sound of espresso machines never ceased to take a break.
Then she walked in, a mature old soul of about twelve. She was dressed in her black velvet knee high boots, black leather jacket and her red scarf. Her independence was that of a mature business woman who knew how to grab the world by the tail. She went to the counter ordered her beverage and gave her name. Her mother followed suit. They nestled into a table beside me.
Their conversation dropped hints of having been apart. Her mother was enquiring of her about her Christmas exchange with her friend. The young girls tone caught my attention. Her happy independent demeanor trailed off into solemn words of sadness as she began to describe a world of brokenness about her friend Hadleigh to her mother.
Hadleigh lived alone with her mother, a mother who was absent for various reasons the majority of the time. As she described Hadleigh's house, it was an older run down, two colours of paint home that consisted inside of very few furnishings. She told her mother about how Hadleigh was embarrassed about her home because it was nothing in comparison to the home of most of the other kids in school. She said Hadleigh was most embarrassed by the fact that it was two days before Christmas and there was no Christmas tree in the home and no presents.
She told her mother how she came up with the idea for the two of them to draw a Christmas tree and decorate it. They hung it on Hadleigh's bedroom wall and placed the presents that they had for each other under it. She said Hadleigh cried when they opened their gifts because she had gotten Hadleigh a gift bag full of goodies, a shirt, and a scarf. Hadleigh felt her gift of homemade friendship bracelets felt so cheap in comparison to the gift she received.
This petite old soul impressed me with what she said next. She said she hugged Hadleigh and told her that there wasn't enough money in the world that could have bought her anything better than those bracelets. She told her Christmas wasn't about a tree with gifts, or a fancy house. Christmas was about a friend who cared enough to take time to make something as special as a friendship bracelet. Christmas was not in the world but in the heart.
I had a lump in my throat. I had just witnessed the most genuine Christmas spirit and it was very humbling. This old soul gave the best Christmas gift, repairing a broken soul of another. I wonder if she even realized it. I wonder if she realized she also gave a gift to a stranger through her Christmas conversation.
Not My Wave
My latest travels have me surrounded by a vast array of slender gnarled green palm trees sauntering endlessly in the island winds. They are encompassed with dreamy white puffy clouds. The warm rays glistening on my sunkissed skin. The rhythmic lull of the tidal waves play like an endless orchestra. The sand and salt of the ocean rolling on my feet makes me smile. I'm in my happy place.
I'm excited for the day's adventures to begin. I'm impatiently awaiting my deep sea fishing excursion that I've planned. The hour is finally here for the endeavour to begin and I'm as giddy as a kid. I walk in with elation on my face ready for the trip. It's the last day for Red Snapper season, my only reason for booking today. Unfortunately I am met with disappoint from the crew members. The boat is down an engine and my trip is cancelled for the day.
I'm slightly stricken with panic. What? No! This can't be. Today is the last day for Red Snapper. The best they can do is encourage me to call around in hopes of getting on another trip for today. My window of time is short and I feel like the a desperate mad hatter calling every deep sea charter on the island. I exhaust every avenue and the realization sets in that my quest will not happen today. I have to miss red snapper season.
Disappointment does not begin to describe my heavy spirit. I'll retreat to my happy place and drowned my sorrows in salty waves.
As I caper in the ocean alone with my thoughts, the deep blue green swells are gently cascading into white caps all around me. There is a sparse change in the wind that brings larger sweep of waves. It's then that a massive white curl rises up in front of me. The walloping wave is filled with a myriad of phosphorescent silver fish. The multitude alone was majestic and awe inspiring. It was an inexpressable picturesque of beauty.
When a group of surfers paddle out to sea, they patiently wait for the perfect wave. When a wave finally makes an appearance and only one surfer makes the watery trek to conquer it, that is because it was the wave meant for them. If I had gone on my fishing trip I would have missed out on such a rare sight. That trip was not my wave to take. My wave was dancing with the ocean and admiring it's beauty.
A Smile Comes With a Story
A Smile Comes With a Story
Running into the neighborhood market I make a hasty decision against getting a basket. If I don't have a basket I can't grab all the unnecessary things that somehow multiply from one to many by the time I reach the register.
It doesn't take long before the small space in my arms begins to overflow with items. I'm beginning to feel like a A circus act trying to juggle and keep things from falling. Still trying to contain the effects of what has now turned into a mini shopping spree, I venture down an isle to grab one last item.
It's there that I hurl the ball of yarn I'm trying to juggle right at a fellow shopper. I'm mortified that it looks like I threw the yarn directly in his path. I'm met with the warmest most friendly smile and a gleeful chuckle that would make anyone chime in on his contagious air of joy.
He teases me as he's gracious enough to reach down and pick up the spheriod that escaped my arms. He places it amidst the overflow of stock I'm carrying. As we engage in brief conversation, his smile and joy never waver.
What I discover is a man who has bravely served his country. I've been apprised of the stories that derive from serving. For some smiling or having joy is stripped from them. I also learn, as he explains the physical appearance of his nose, that he is in the midst of undergoing medical treatment to hopefully become free from illness.
There is a lost art in simple conversation. The distractions of technology diverts attention from interaction. I'm glad I chose not to get a basket and didn't allow myself to be preoccupied and inattentive with technology. I would have missed out on a new friend and a smile that came with a story.
4th of July Tea Time
As I stand eight floors up in Children's ICU waiting with a family staring at tragedy, my gaze is fixed out the window at a colorful playland nestled between two buildings. I see a beautiful cloud murial over looking a vast color of artistacly made children's furniture, play equipment and gardens constructed to bring joy and a ray of sunshine to both children and parents. My mind begins to wonder.
I imagine the many little feet that have graced the turf in the midst of their battle. How many of those little feet are no longer here and the playland is now just a sad memory for the ones they left to continue.
Lost in my thoughts I become privy to a family moment. I see two women and a little girl carrying items. Trailing behind them is the reason for the afternoon festivities. A woman pushing an intravenous infusion pole lavishly decorated with 4th of ensembles and the princess of the hour attached with all her tubes. A few strands of blonde locks are what's left displayed on her now bare head.
The frail princess takes her seat in the large golden throne. Her entourage gathered in their colorful chairs as they open the boxes and assemble cupcakes and drinks. I'm witness to their conversation and laugher. The red, white and blue cupcakes are indicative of their cause for celebration.
Their colors pull me back to reality and reminds me of what day it is. A day to be thankful and celebrate our heros. The word hero is associated with a uniform and battle. For those who wore those uniforms and served, I'm grateful. But a uniform is sometimes a hospital gown with tubes attached to your body or the worn out knees of a parent, both fighting a battle. The fact that they find strength for laughter in the midst of their war zone is cause for celebration.
The uniform of heroism is best worn with humility. Those who have worn the uniform of a hospital gown know this all to well.
Hats off to the brave of every uniform.