an act of kindness…warms our family’s heart

My hormones were raging today, the downside of hormone replacement therapy treatment…Wiley Protocol in my case.

How do I know? My tear ducts were working overtime today. 

I think it began with An Affair to Remember with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. No matter how often I see this tear jerker, I always weep in all the same places. 

When Grant returns to his grandmother’s home after she’s died, remembering when he was last there, Kerr at his side. In the background, the haunting melody is playing which starts my tears. And then, of course, when Grant learns Kerr had been in a car accident and was, therefore, unable to meet him at the top of the Empire State Building. That’s when the flood gates burst, and I was a blithering idiot.

After gathering my wits about me, I went about my day.

In the evening I paused intermittently to listen to a couple of the singers on The Voice. When each of the 5 remaining contestants returned to their home towns to thunderous applause, again I choked up. How proud to be recognized by one’s own community, and to represent it on the national stage. How proud, indeed!

Then my daughter phoned. She has a way of making me sentimental mush. No, I didn’t cry…not then.

After filling me in on all she’s been up to since we last talked, she told me a story which had me choking back my tears once again.

An elderly gentleman stopped at a Discount Tire store to have a tire repaired. Upon looking it over, the young salesman informed the customer that, in fact, all of the tires on the old truck needed replacing. The man explained he only had enough money to make repairs, that he was doing it for his daughter. He paid the bill, indicating that she would return the next day to pick up her truck.

When the 17-year-old returned with her boyfriend, the salesman told her what he’d said to her father the day before. Again she reiterated that she had no money to buy new tires. She went on to say she had been accepted into veterinary school which took all the money her family had to spare.

The Discount Tire rep happened to be the Senior Assistant to the store manager. Making an executive decision, he authorized his technicians to replace all the tires with new ones. Noticing what they were doing through one of the store windows, the young woman was understandably upset and asked what they were doing. The young man, a 25-year-old, assured her that his concern was for her safety. He was probably also thinking about the safety of others she might encounter on the road, driving alongside her. She cried as he wished her a happy holiday season, inviting her father to make whatever payments he could…whenever he could…if he was so inclined. 

A Good Samaritan story for which I was not prepared. I cried when my daughter told it, and again when I retold it to my husband. It brought tears to his eyes as well.

The personal blessing for our family? The Good Samaritan is…

…our daughter’s boyfriend.

………hugmamma.

 

Advertisements

powerball!!!

The Lotto Powerball logo

The Lotto Powerball logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re like me, and I do pride myself upon being normal…although at times I’ve been known to behave somewhat “aby-normal”…then you were off in your own fantasy land dreaming about the $500 million dollar jackpot that was up for grabs recently. 

Not usually the gambling type, hubby and I get involved only when the $$$ signs are too many to ignore. So we were in it to win it with a wager of $10 bucks.

As the jackpot continued to climb, experts bemoaned the fact that the odds of winning were growing slimmer and slimmer. Something like one in 700 million, I think. So, of course, daydreaming was all I could do.

After all…it was free…no matter how grand the imaginings.

Paying off bills, a trust fund for our daughter and enlarging our retirement, nest egg…those were at the top of the family “to do” list. Surely not an uncommon trio of wishes. The remainder, however, were unique to my own corner of the world…at least in their specifics.

Tent City

Tent City (Photo credit: kuow949)

The “tent city” that shelters the homeless in our east side community must relocate every so many months, so as not to overstay their welcome among the residents in the area. There’s a fine line between accommodating the poor and guaranteeing the rights and privileges of nearby property owners. Those who organize the hospitality are good Samaritans, who are trying to remain good neighbors.  After all, they’d like to ensure that their “tent city” be invited back, albeit temporarily.

Fantasy number one with my power ball winnings?

Build a permanent structure to house, feed, and aid the homeless. Organize clinics wherein volunteer doctors and nurses could tend to the physical needs of the residents, and job clinics where volunteer, business reps could assist in preparing residents to become serious, wage earners again.

Fantasy number two?

Hurricane destruction, Union Beach, NJ

Hurricane destruction, Union Beach, NJ (Photo credit: spleeness)

Provide financial assistance to a community devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Perhaps one resembling my own, small town. Whether it be in providing a steady feed of  material goods to a  shelter where folks are housed temporarily, or establishing a home schooling situation where the children could continue their education, or buying good, used cars for folks to get around.

And my third wish…as in the oft-told granting of three wishes by a fairy god-mother?

Just that we all be thankful…for the small moments that make our lives good…without power ball wins.

 Awaking each day with minds and limbs intact…and working.

Having those we love and who love us…healthy and in our lives each day.

Living in a democracy…unlike any other in the world.

Finding peace on earth…even as we endure the ravages wrought by Mother Nature…and the havoc wrought by mankind…upon itself.

English: Abraham Lincoln and his son Tad looki...

English: Abraham Lincoln and his son Tad looking at an album of photographs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bearing witness to special people among us who take up the mantle of leadership…such as Lincoln and Obama…at great cost to their own…health, welfare, and peace of mind.

It is my contention that all people are good.

No one among us sets out to be bad on the day we are born. Familial and environmental circumstances affect our progress in becoming upstanding, world citizens.

I remind myself…often…that goodness is our origin and that we, in our own way, are trying to get along, even as we carve out our own niches in a society that is ever-expanding.

We are all power ball winners, even as we celebrate the good fortune of the Dearborn family who took home half the jackpot.

They look like us in their normal, outward appearance, and in the values they seem to hold dear, such as adopting a little, Chinese girl as their daughter and sister.

In fact…upon closer inspection…

…they are…us!

………hugmamma.

good samaritan…#13

The Good Samaritan

Image via Wikipedia

It’s been awhile since I’ve added to this list of people deserving of recognition for unselfish acts of generosity or kindness, or both. Tonight as we were dining out on casual fare at a local favorite, COHO, in recognition of our daughter’s last night with her old folks before flying on to a wedding in Colorado, and then home to prepare for her ballet company‘s next season, my husband related a very touching story about a coworker. And because we’ve been married 41 years, I knew the punch line before he said it. In fact I held my hand up to his mouth, telling him not to say anymore because I was already choking back tears. You see, my heart strings are tied to my tear ducts. So it’s an automatic reflex. My heart aches…my eyes tear.

Newborn Feet

Image via Wikipedia

My husband’s co-worker and her husband have one young child whom they adopted as a newborn, from someone serving in the military. A loving couple who dote on their youngster, they were getting ready to adopt a second baby. Upon flying east to meet with the young parents, it was learned that they were giving up their newborn for the money. Having lost their jobs, and with another child to care for, letting someone adopt their second child was their only financial option. Not one they wanted to take advantage of, but felt they had no choice. And the punch line is…do you know it already?

Detail from the

Image via Wikipedia

My husband’s co-worker and her husband gave the baby’s parents the money…without taking the child in exchange. We’re probably talking thousands of dollars…given from parents who know full well what their first adopted child means to them…the whole world. The icing on the cake is that they will be the baby’s Godparents, and he will bear the names of a member of each side of their families. So as my wise 25-year-old daughter said…while one baby was the intended adoptee…

an entire family…was adopted…enough to bring tears…to anyone’s eyes………hugmamma.  

“good samaritan #10,” a Thai restaurant

During the holiday season the media tends to focus more attention on acts of kindness. My ears perk up whenever I hear of small town heroes who, in the course of their daily lives, show compassion for others. On local news, Kiro 7, just such a segment ran about a Thai restaurant in Ballard, a suburb of Seattle.

Thai has become my favorite Asian food, since I’ve found several local restaurants which offer delicious fare. It use to be that Japanese food was my very favorite, followed by Chinese. Unfortunately, those local restaurants which I use to visit with regularity, have been disappointing of late. And as I’ve remarked to family and friends, “Don’t eat calories you don’t LOVE!” I know I can’t afford to waste calories on “so-so” food.

After learning about the enormous generosity of the Thai Siam Restaurant, our family will be dining there very, very soon. For 23 years, it has been the site of a free Christmas turkey meal to those in need. This year they served 400 meals in-house, and sent out another 400 meals as take-outs. The website tells their sweet story, beginning with a video of owner Vhanthip (Nancy) Phokayasupatt, who had been an ovarian cancer patient many years ago. Perhaps that motivated her to reach out to the suffering, or perhaps it just coincided with her already compassionate spirit. Following is the open invitation for their annual Christmas dinner.

FREE CHRISTMAS DINNER FOR THOSE IN NEED  

If you know someone who would not be able to have a festive dinner on Christmas Day, Thai Siam Restaurant would like to extend our invitation to a free turkey dinner.

 Also written on their website is their mission statement, as a member of their community. More businesses should follow suit in giving back to those who not only support them, but to the less fortunate in our society. The world would be a better place, for sure.

Thai Siam is not only a place for wonderful dining, but is also a place for community building.

Our mission is not only to give all customers, their families and friends the best in quality and healthy food, but also to be involved in the community as much as we can. We believe that community is the heart of all things. That is why for 19 years, we have used our restaurant to help raise funds for local charities that serve our neighborhood, such as Seattle’s Children’s Hospital, Union Gospel Mission, Boys and Girls Club, The Masha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research, Cancer Lifeline and many, many more. Also, we have hosted a yearly dinner to provide warm food for the less fortunate every Christmas.

Food is a source of life, and we are thankful to have been blessed with this gift that we can share with the community. Thank you for the continuous support you have provided us. We are encouraged to know that you are standing with us.

  

for Nancy and her elves at Thai Siam Restaurant, huge hugs…hugmamma.

  

  

 

good samaritan #7

Newman’s Own has celebrated a landmark contribution of $300 million to charity. It was reported by Brian Williams on NBC’s Evening News. I wasn’t aware that every penny is donated. While I may not have been a huge fan of Paul Newman’s films, liking some, but not others; I commend his generous nature of seemingly, unconditional compassion for the less fortunate.

In a clip from an interview with Newman, he said “What could be better than holding your hand out to someone in need?”  Newman identified a need, and signed on for life, even in death. I’ll bet he’d be even prouder of his philanthropic legacy, than the one he left behind on celluloid.

My husband, daughter and I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Newman’s eldest daughter Nell, and her husband once. I believe she’s inherited her dad’s position as head of Newman’s Own. They’d bought an antique pine cupboard from me, which was selling at a charming, antique shop in Wilton, Connecticut, where I rented a space, called Simply Country. They asked if I could deliver the piece, which, of course, I consented to do. Who wouldn’t? Even if I had to rent  a truck to haul the cupboard! Luckily, it fit in the Ford Windstar van we owned at the time.

The couple lived in a smallish, white cottage, on a huge, level, parcel of land. Most of it lay behind the house, which sat at the front of the property. Nell and her husband were warm and friendly, smiling and laughing easily. While our husbands carted the cupboard into the house, bringing it to rest in its designated spot, Nell and I made “small talk.” Wish I remembered about what. But I’m sure I admired her home, her furnishings, and asked after her parents. She told me they lived nearby. In fact, I knew where their house was located. In my regular treks in and around Westport, I’d seen the stone lions that guarded the iron gates to the actors’ acreage. I may have glimpsed the home when we drove slowly by once, but viewing was difficult, since it’s set back from the road aways.

I think we commented on the lovely, old trees gracing their yard, so we were taken around towards the back to see more of them. Hanging from a very  large  branch of one tree, was an old-fashioned, rope swing, with a wooden seat. While we adults continued to talk, our daughter made herself comfortable, swinging contentedly, back and forth.

When we took our leave, it wasn’t like old friends, but rather like folks who were very delighted to meet one another. Perhaps, it was that they, and we, rarely, if ever, get to know people from two such different “worlds.” In truth, they weren’t really so different from us. Nell’s parents would’ve been proud of how cordial and welcoming she was to strangers, just making a delivery.  

for the “star” and his offspring, hugs…hugmamma.

good samaritan #2

I’ve been encouraged by a friend to share uplifting stories about “good samaritans,” since they’re not reported as widely as news detailing human frailty and immorality. 

On the local news tonight there was a story about a dog that had been badly mistreated by strangers. It seems they had wound rip cords around a front leg and a hind leg. When discovered, the one on the front leg was able to be removed; unfortunately the other had been wound so tightly, that the hind leg was irreparable and had to be amputated. Not having the funds, the dog’s owners tried raising the money by selling off items that were personal treasures. The mother sold her wedding ring, saying it was worth less than the canine companion who greeted her when she walked through the door, and who accompanied her when she went swimming. The son, 9 or 10 years old, peddled his most popular video games door to door in his neighborhood.

Hearing the plight of the dog and its owners on the news, callers from around the country rang the vet performing the surgery, offering donations to cover the $3,000 price tag.

small story, big reward…hugmamma.

good samaritan

Just watched a local news segment spotlighting a “Good Samaritan.” Brandon, a youngster 12 or 13 years of age, found a wad of hundred-dollar bills curled up with a credit card receipt on a sidewalk near an Olive Garden Restaurant. Not able to decipher the owner’s name on the receipt, the boy turned to his mom for advice. Exclaiming that they couldn’t leave on a planned vacation until the money’s owner was found, Brandon asked what he should do.

Acting upon his mom’s suggestion to call a local tv’s consumer reporter, Brandon located the out-of-towner whose money was found. The stranger named the restaurant near where the cash had lain. Brandon knew he had found his man, gladly returning the bankroll while declining the reward offered. Choking back tears, the young boy’s mom explained that his good deed was even more noteworthy because the money belonged to a 21-year-old soldier who had been on leave.

Kudos to Brandon’s parents for instilling their son with old-fashioned values. He may not be a rarity, but in an age where the media reports our moral failures more readily than our successes, I found this story very heartwarming. In Brandon, our society has an upstanding adult citizen in the making. Can we clone him?

think positive thoughts…hugmamma