“Thank you, Hon!”

I got called “Hon” today by a sweet woman in the Fred Meyer’s parking lot. It has been a long time since someone older than me – someone I didn’t know – looked at me as a youngster and called me “Hon.” I really liked it. :)

First, a little background: I am one of those customers you sometimes see in store parking lots collecting all the abandoned shopping carts and choo-choo training them into the store – it drives me kind of crazy to see abandoned shopping carts recklessly rolling around without a supervisor. It’s probably the teacher in me.

So what happened today was this: You know how most supermarkets now have two sizes of shopping carts? There’s the jumbo size and the petite size? And you know how there never seems to be enough of the little carts? Well, today I found one abandoned about fifty yards outside the supermarket entrance and thought I would claim responsibility for it, and appropriate it for my own use. The problem was, though, that it had an upright cola can in it – still half full of pop. As things were, I would need two hands to maneuver the cart, and a third hand to hold up the can so it didn’t spill all over everything. I do not happen to have a third hand. I suppose I could have emptied out the pop on the sidewalk or something – but that didn’t seem very polite. An easier solution soon presented itself, though – there was another abandoned little cart there – and, after trying to maneuver the two carts into the store, I did the easier thing today: I transferred my affections over to the soda-less one and proceeded into the store.

I felt a twinge of guilt at leaving that other cart out there, but I decided that today someone else could take responsibility for it.

I did my shopping with my little cart and then grabbed my bags out of it and left it to socialize with all the other carts in the store’s entrance. And wouldn’t you know it? As I was coming out of the store I saw a sweet white-haired older woman pushing the shopping cart with the soda can towards the store. Karma, right? I went up to her and said, “Here, let me get that pop can for you – I think that’ll make it easier for you to maneuver the cart.” She smiled as I picked the can out of the cart and took it to a patch of dirt to empty it, and then dropped it into a bin near the store. This is when the dear woman said, “You’re a nice person. Thanks, Hon!” I sheepishly thanked her – not explaining that I’d encountered the cart before her and had left it there.

Here’s my lesson for today: As soon as I saw that abandoned shopping cart – as soon as I saw the pop can in it – it became my responsibility, didn’t it? I was going to have to deal with it sooner or later. I did get a “Thanks, Hon!” out of it, though. :)

Interracial Kindness 4




A Box Full of Magic

(Originally published on https://ramblingschoolmarm.wordpress.com/ – my teaching blog)

Maybe nine or ten years ago my students gave me a box they’d constructed from paper. I was told that inside the box they’d put notes about me. I brought the box with me when I moved to another school, and then to another school, and then to the school where I work now. Until today I never opened it up to find out what was inside there. But today, as I was cleaning off my desk, I came upon the box again. And this time I thought to myself, “Self,” I thought, “I think now is the moment I need to open this box.” And so I did. And ohmygosh. There was magic in there! I’m not going to share everything I found inside, but I really want to share this one: “She cares about you like her own child.” I have been blest in my career with the most amazing and precious students. And I love each and every one of them.


Box Full of Love


Better than Any Car’s GPS Dealie

Yesterday I needed to take Dad (he’ll be 98 this year!) to his hearing aid appointment at the Costco in Tacoma. I had no idea where that was (I live two hours to the north and am not familiar with all Tacoma’s highways and byways) – but I googled and found directions and wrote them down on the back of an envelope. My original thought was that Moz should be the navigator because Dad is… well… deaf. So I handed the directions to Moz. But Moz can’t see really well up-close, and was having trouble reading what I’d written down. She handed the envelope back to me from the back seat and suggested I give it to Dad instead. I thought about this a moment – figured “What the heck? Let’s give it a try…” – and held it out to Dad, who was sitting next to me in the car.  

He took the envelope, and I glanced over to see him reading through the directions. He looked up and I saw his eyes scanning the road in front of him from side to side – as good as any car GPS dealie – “There’s Cedar,” he pointed out. And I turned onto it. After we’d gone a little further he said, “I think you want to turn left here.” So I did. I could feel him alert beside me, eyeing the street signs. “Here’s Steele. You’ll want to turn right at this street.” I turned. And there – right in front of us – was Costco!

While Dad and I were sitting in the audiologist’s office, I showed them both my own hearing aid – left ear – bought on-line for me by my husband one Christmas (I have trouble hearing the male voice range in my left ear – go figure :) ) – and Dad and I talked a bit about our hearing loss. I told him I’d heard that mountain-climbers often have hearing loss because of the constant change in air pressure. I said I thought we should go with that story, if anyone asks – and Dad agreed. “More dramatic,” he said, nodding his head.

The trip back from Costco was just as smooth as the coming-in trip. I usually have a pretty good sense of direction – but the Costco parking lot got me all backwards and upside down and by the time I got out of there I couldn’t tell whether I should go left or right. “Right, I think,” Dad said. I trusted him – as I have for all my life, really – and, sure enough, right it was.

Afterwards, we celebrated our epic adventure at Anthony’s Restaurant…


With Moz and Dad

Waking from the Dream

Yesterday I awoke in the middle of the night from a dream filled with terrible guilt over some vague-ish transgression I’d committed in France. I reminded myself I’ve never been to France, and went back to sleep.

I realized there was some metaphysical profundity in that dream, though, and later – when I was up and about – pondered the dream some more.

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy has a lot to say about dreams. “Mortal existence is a dream…” she writes, and “Whatever indicates the fall of man or the opposite of God or God’s absence, is the Adam-dream, which is neither Mind nor man, for it is not begotten of the Father.”

The belief that we’re born in guilt, living in guilt, that our moments and hours and days – even our dreams – should be filled with guilt, is a boatload of balderdash, a heap of rubbish, a 20 foot-long baloney sandwich. It is, I believe, the cause of a lot of grief and wasted time for humanity.

I really like what Edward A. Kimball has to say about self-condemnation in his book, Lectures and Articles on Christian Science. He writes, “It won’t do you a particle of good to enter upon a career of self-condemnation. Remorse never got anybody into heaven. A sense of regret and all that sort of thing is not the process. The process is reform; it is change; it is correction…”

And the late great Ethel Waters said, “I am somebody cause God don’t make no junk.” We are all, I believe, the sons and daughters of Love – worthy of everything good and joyful the universe has to offer. Love don’t make no guilt-ridden junk.

(Ahem. The following needs to be read in a revival meeting kind of voice to get the full effect): Rise up, my brothers and sisters! Wake up and rise, I say! For you are free-born and worthy and guilt-free! Allelujah and amen and pass the joy.

snowgeese in flight contrast

snowgeese in flight (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)