Wednesday, November 26, 2008
"The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines."
"I have a bit of Irish in me," a small-framed elderly lady chattered as I waited this afternoon for a bus. I had been alone just before she reached the corner and I was grateful for her company.
She expanded on her Irish roots by citing two places in Ireland from which her family had originated, and by extracting with barely concealed pride a selection of CDs from a canvas sack.
"I just went to the library- look!"
I was delighted when she wielded albums by three well-known Irish musical entertainers and I suspect she was pleased to show proof of her bond with my homeland.
I too had been to the library, and the tower of pages I gripped caused my arms to ache in that exhilarating way of unread books.
After we exchanged more banter about Ireland and music and the bus service, the subject turned to Thanksgiving and my plans.
When I explained that Spouse and I had intended to visit our friends in Northern Maine- so far north that one notices road signs for Canada- and that our weekend had lamentably been altered by the impending shivery storms that were advancing across the land, she was very sorry indeed.
"Oh, if I'd known, I would have invited you."
She would be spending Thanksgiving at somebody else's home and seemed genuinely grieved that Spouse and I were prepared to spend the day alone; with our awareness of the ominous weather indications it would be too risky to attempt that long journey.
Her sincerity was stirring and I made it clear that her words and her kindly instinct were sufficient to better our Thanksgiving holiday.
Our bus routes eventually took us on our respective ways, both of us weighed down with reading material and music and buoyed by the gratifying swell of good grace that follows an unexpected invitation and a chance crossing of two cultures.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 4:08 PM