Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Something To Write Home About

"If those who owe us nothing gave us nothing, how poor we would be."
-Antonio Porchia

A colleague of my Spouse's once needed a taxi in Sweden. He saw one, sat into the cab and asked the driver to take him to a certain hotel, one which was part of a chain and vast in size.
The colleague happened to have a set of directions which would involve the car being navigated through several extremely busy streets. He told the driver specifically where to go and relayed his own version of how to get there.
The driver looked at the fellow, and said,
"I could take you. But see that gate over there?"
The colleague did see.
"That happens to be another entrance to the hotel. As I said, I could drive you, but..."
There was no financial gain to be had by telling the passenger this information; a taxi driver insistent on following directions and making money could just as easily have spent the next thirty minutes in traffic earning a princely sum.
It turns out, though, that people are not all selfish and thoughtless as the world would have us believe they are.
This weekend just past was nothing short of splendid. Spouse and I have found a place where kindness is willingly offered and nothing is expected or demanded in return.
It strikes us again as utterly unselfish and we are at a true loss as to how to extend gratitude toward people who appear, with their close knit family and simple, self sufficient living, to have everything.
Per Spouse's request, a member of the family took time to make his way over to our friends' house, examine our car and deem it roadworthy- an issue which has bothered us for some time both because of the awful noises that emanate from it on a regular basis and because honest mechanics are not as plentiful as they ought to be. After sacrificing hours of his weekend the fellow at first refused to take any money for his time and his assistance and for his furious battle with ravenous mosquitoes.
It is something to be welcomed into a family and to immediately be treated like we belong instead of as a passing visitor.
We gladly trundled home with:
one freshwater trout, caught that morning and generously offered with pride; two large loaves of sausage bread; an armful of rhubarb; a dozen warm hen eggs; two twice-baked potatoes filled with sour cream and chives; a container of delicious pasta salad; a living chive plant; a package of bacon; both frozen and cooked vegetables; countless chocolate cookies and six handmade chocolate pies.
Like the aforementioned taxi driver who gained nothing monetary, instead something more important, and like the family that wraps its good nature around us without hesitation, there are bright spots in the world, and people who are inherently good, and it is not- cannot be- limited to our experience.
We have been so very fortunate.


Barb said...

What a wonderful weekend it seemed you had in the loving embrace of friends and then leaving with all of those wonderful gifts of sustenance. Welcome back! Barb

Beth said...

that sounds like a wonderful weekend, you both must have come back refreshed and with a well of strength to draw on. Thanks for sharing it with us--I wish you could share the edible parts.

Pappy said...

Hey The, It's good to be back in the neighborhood. Good to be reading your posts. I will have to catch up when I have more time, but I must do my chores today to keep peace in the household. Thanks for stopping by while I was gone and leaving comment. :)

Jaime said...

Wonderful story about the cab driver. Restores my belief in people, for I had the opposite experience in a cab in Vancouver once. He knew I wasn't familiar with the area and took advantage of that. I knew the route was only two main streets...he took me into some completely unknown subdivision and then acted surprised that it was the wrong area!
I'm glad you had such a wonderful weekend with such generous people...and what a feast you came home with! And more sausage bread!

Did somebody say chocolate cookies?!?

polona said...

it is always so nice to witness some kindness.
it gives some faith in humanity amidst all the madness going on in the world...
glad you enjoyed :)

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Barb, we really did feel comforted by the friends and food. It was much needed therapy :)

Beth, it was so refreshing, that's the right word. I took a photo of the sausage bread, am working on sharing that as well!

Texican, welcome back- take your time catching up, I know I need to. It does feel peculiar to have been away for even a few days so for you, away so long, it must be many times stranger. But the feeling sorts itself out eventually.

Jaime, I'm sorry that you got a cab driver like that. For every greedy person I like to believe there's at least one surprisingly kind person out there we haven't met yet. We seem drawn like magnets too often to the selfish kind, sadly.

Polona, yes, some gentleness among the chaos and fast pace. To experience it is a privilege because it's so rare.

I'm still catching up to myself so I'll be getting around to some more reading today :)

tangobaby said...

I know lots of people won't believe this, but some of my favorite encounters have been with taxi drivers, here in SF and in other cities, too.

This is a lovely story and I'm glad you shared it with us.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Tangobaby, San Francisco- I will believe it ;) full of friendly people.
You probably have lots of taxi driver stories to share then! I like those stories because those encounters are brief and fleeting and the good ones remind you there are nice people in the world.
I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

tangobaby said...

I do have lots of taxi driver stories (although they are short). The Boy and I have decided to get a world map and stick a pin in all the places where we have had cab drivers.

This is only a short list, but some of the drivers we've met were from Fez, Cairo, Ghent, Khatmandu, Moldavia (I don't even know where that is), Belorusse, Istanbul and Pakistan.

The first thing we ask them (after we find out where they are from) is what the best restaurant in town is for their country's cuisine!

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Tangobaby, I knew you'd have stories.
Meeting drivers from other countries just makes it more interesting. A good mix.
And I too would ask about the food- my first stop ;)
If you find a good world map let me know! We're looking for one also. We like to look at it and dream of where to go next.

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