We invite you to remember your loved ones who have died by committing an act of kindness in their honor. Love, kindness, generosity, sharing, these are the gifts we can give to them.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 22

I was Christmas shopping and popped into the Dollar Tree to buy some gift bags. I was running late, in a rush, tired, and hungry. I passed a mother berating her little girl for whining on the way in. The store was PACKED with financially stressed, rushed people--many agonizing over their choices. The manager was on the phone negotiating scheduling and the another employee was on another phone with a customer. One lone clerk was running one lone register. He was about 17 and was moving as fast as he could and being mostly patient with the befuddled elderly counting their pennies, the immigrant couple speaking to him and each other in 2 languages, and various rushed people who wanted to get home to dinner. The line just kept getting longer. When I got up to the counter, I took a minute to say, "You're doing a really great job. Is it always this crowded in here?" He paused for a moment, replied, and smiled. The woman behind me in line grinned a big Christmas grin. I want to dedicate this moment in the midst of shopping madness to Theo.

Merry Christmas!

Melissa J.


Having just cashed a check at Bank of America for a reading I had done at Towson University, I was walking along Grace Street near Harrison. As I was heading to Ipanema for a $2 glass of red wine at "happy hour," I looked down and through the darkening evening I saw a leather woman's wallet. I picked it up and went inside to examine the contents.

It contained a credit card, license, medical card, work ID for a tutoring agency, and the usual Kroger and Ukrop's cards: no telephone number, no email address. I left the bar without a having my celebratory glass of wine and went to the library to review the contents again under greater light and to do some Googling (not at the co-eds) to see whether I could learn how I might contact this woman, Daniela, before she cancelled everything and went through the expense and trouble of obtaining new cards, etc.

I found that she was a member of an Italian organization and was a speaker of Italian. (There was no telling whether she was a Berlusconi fan or not.) I found an email address through the organization's Website and through my Google account sent her an email with my VCU account address and who I was. I attempted to reassure her that I was not a bigger Bozo than I am, so that she would feel comfortable contacting me to retrieve her property. After sending the email, I thought there was nothing else for me to do but wait, and so I started out for that glass of red that by this time I thought I had earned.

When I rounded the bend onto Grace Street, I saw a woman walking in from of me with her head down and who entered Ipanema. As I was entering, she was then exiting. I wasn't certain but there was a resemblance to the license photo. She looked up, and I asked, "Is your name Daniela?" She replied, "Yes." I pulled the wallet out of my jacket pocket, and she looked at it and smiled. She told me that I was a "kind man" as though a kind man was a rare kind of man. She left with her wallet, and I went in and finally sipped a glorious glass of cheap red wine. As a bonus, I could think: "What good boy am I."

I am not certain she ever got my email because I haven't heard from her on either of my accounts. My vanity had me thinking that I might receive one more, more thoughtful thank you via the internet. Perhaps my attempt at reassuring her that I wasn't a bigger Bozo than I am, merely confirmed that I am a bigger one than I think.

Rich M.

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