The Beauty of Humanity Is Everywhere

I’m in the checkout line at the supermarket. In front of me is one of those shopping carts that looks like a little car and there’s a youngster – maybe a year old – sitting in the back of it. While his older siblings help his mom load things onto the conveyor belt, I play peek-a-book with the toddler. He’s smiling at me – he gets that I’m having fun with him. And is there anything better than getting a smile from a child as you play peek-a-boo?

Now it’s my turn to unload my things onto the belt. I glance to the man behind me as I reach for a People magazine and say, embarrassed, “Pretend you don’t see me reaching for a gossip magazine.”

He laughs and says, “I’m not going to judge. You get whatever you need to get.”

I point to the cover. “It’s Helen Mirren. I love Helen Mirren.”

“Oh,” he says, “me, too!” He adds, “You know who I really miss is Betty White!”

We talk for a bit about what a wonderful character Betty White was – and share some of our favorite Betty White scenes with each other. Then we talk for a bit about our parents – I mention to him that my dad lived to be 101. I tell him that when my mom died at 89, Dad said, “I always knew she’d die young!” And he laughs with me about that. “Old” and “young” are relative terms.

Before I leave, I run into the family with the car-cart again. The little boy is still sitting in the back of it and his siblings are playing with him. I tell his mom that I’d played peek-a-book with him earlier while they’d been at the checkout counter, and I’d gotten a smile from him. She laughs and looks over at her son, and agrees that he’s a lot of fun.

I love people – old, young, on the cover of a magazine, or sitting in the back of a car-cart – the beauty of humanity is everywhere.

You Meet the Nicest People Waiting in Line

(This post can be found as an audio podcast at this link.)

I stopped by Tecalitlan Restaurant to pick up some tacos to bring home to Scott, and met some really cool people while I waited there:

A lady of about my age approached the restaurant – she was covered in mud and dirt and looked like she’d just come out of battle – but she was beautiful, too – she had an open face and a beautiful smile and long silver hair. I smiled and asked her how she was doing and she laughed and said she’d just spent the day burning slash on her property and now all she wanted was dinner and a hot shower. I learned she was a gardener and we talked a bit about gardening and how healthy it is for people to work the earth and walk barefoot on the ground. She was very wise.

A young man in glasses approached the order window and we exchanged smiles. I’d already ordered so I moved aside so he could get in front of me. After a while I became aware that I was moving from side to side on my feet – putting my weight on one foot and then the other – and I realized I was making a tune in my head – that there was a rhythmn passing through my thoughts that was making me move back-and-forth. And then I became aware that the young man in front of me was moving from foot-to-foot, too, in the exact same rhythmn. I asked him if he had a song going on his head and he laughed and said no, but he just has a hard time staying still. He asked me if I had a song in my head and I told him I did, but I was not going to sing it out loud. He laughed with me and we both continued with our foot-leaning.

And then this man came out of the restaurant with a little gray puppy in his arms. He set the pup down on the patch of grass in front of the restaurant so the puppy could stretch his legs and pee if he needed to. The puppy’s tail was wagging and his little body was rolling over itself and he was just so cute and friendly and the urge to pet him was irresistible. So I asked the pup’s human if I could pet him, and he smiled and gave the okay. And awww….

The silver-haired lady had collapsed in a chair, by this time, as she waited for her take-out. I told her she was almost there. Soon she’d have a meal and a hot shower. She laughed and nodded her head, and just about that time her take-out order appeared at the window. We rejoiced together in the magic of a warm meal.

My own take-out came soon after. The young man in the glasses wished me a good night and I took my bag of tacos to my car – which I found was blocked in on every side. There was no way I was getting out of that parking lot as things stood. I went back to the restaurant and explained my situation to the people waiting there and very soon a young man detached himself from the crowd, grinning, and pointed to his car and told me he’d parked in the spot in front of me – he couldn’t find anywhere else to park – and he’d go move his car for me. I was so grateful to him. “Thank you so much!” I said. I found an empty parking space for him while he got in his car and asked him if I should stand in it to reserve it for him. He said that would be great.

He moved his car for me and parked it in the empty space. I thanked him again and he smiled and said “No problem.”

You meet the nicest people just waiting in line at Tecalitlan’s.

The End.

A Pup Named Blue

Meeting Cool People in the Customer Service Line

I had the best time waiting in the customer service line yesterday.

Earlier in the week I’d bought a DVD that looked to be on sale for $7.99 from its original price of $16.99. When I got home I’d discovered I’d been charged $16.99. At the time I’d just shrugged it off as one of those things and went about life.But yesterday, when I’d been back in the store, I’d seen that movie was STILL on sale for $7.99 and I wondered if I could get reimbursed for the extra I’d paid for it earlier. I didn’t have my receipt with me or anything, but I had my customer ID number in my head and I thought the customer service folks might be able to see my purchasing history in their computers. So I got at the end of the customer service line to find out.

The nicest people were in line with me. The line was pretty long when I got in the back of it, and when a young man wearing a WSU jacket got behind me I suggesed maybe we should shift the line so we didn’t block people from getting past us. He agreed and we started forming the line to the right – but now we were blocking the path to the restroom. The woman in front of me smiled and said that, in her experience, she found it was best to make the line go the other way. So the young man said, “Here, let’s go this way” and stepped aside so I could get in front of him going the other direction. Team work!

There was a lady in front of us who had the coolest hat – it was a panda face hat with ears and a smile. And a gentleman ahead of me, who’d patiently waited in line a really long time, smiled and laughed and thanked the customer service rep. when she was finally able to help him. I gave him a thumbs up as he walked past me on his way out, and he smiled over his mask and gave me a thumbs up back.

When I got to the customer service representative she was so helpful! She told me what I needed to do to take care of my problem – it involved going back into the store to find another copy of the movie and then getting at the end of the customer service line again. I thanked her and went to get the DVD I needed.

When I’d gotten the DVD I needed, I got back at the end of the line. I had a choice at this point – let myself feel frustrated or let myself enjoy the moment. I chose to enjoy the moment. There was, honestly, no place else I would rather have been at that moment than waiting in line with all the other cool customers, watching people and laughing with them. I was safe and comfortable and had everything I needed right there.

There was a young mom in front of me in the line with her son – a little boy of about two with his hands in his pockets – he looked like a little man – so cute! I smiled and waved at him and he smiled and waved back at me – which totally made my day.

When I got back to the customer service rep. she was very efficient and helpful and I ended up getting $9 back, and an apology for being overcharged for the DVD I’d bought on sale earlier in the week.

$9 for standing in line 15 minutes and making new friends seems like a pretty good deal to me.

P.S. The woman with the cool panda hat was Asian; the man who gave me the thumbs up was Black; the woman standing in front of me was White; and the man standing behind me was Latino, I think. I’ll let the little boy with his hands in his pockets represent any little boy anywhere with his hands in his pockets.

May We All Bring Some Light to Our World

My dear Humoristian hooligans –
Let’s have a good day today. Let’s find something to laugh about. Let’s find a way to be kind. Let’s find some small victory in today. May we all help bring some light to our world.
Karen

Let all that now divides us
Remove and pass away,
Like shadows of the morning
Before the blaze of day.
Let all that now unites us
More sweet and lasting prove,
A closer bond of union,
In a blest land of love.
– Jane Borthwick, Hymn #196 in the Christian Science Hymnal

NASA, our home planet

Meet My New Friend, Bridger

(Originally published on bellinghambayblog.)

So a cool thing happened this morning: I was up in Bellingham, doing my walk, and when I got to Boulevard Park I saw a man using one of those ball launchers to fling a tennis ball to his dog. I was smiling at the dog as I came around on the path. And then – to my surprise and delight – the dog nabbed the tennis ball his human flung to him and brought it to ME! He laid it down at my feet and looked up at me, hopefully. I’m pretty sure the dog was smiling. I picked up the ball and threw it back towards the dog’s human – but the ball only got about half-way there. The dog picked it up and brought it back to me again! I was so tickled that the dog chose to include me in his game. I threw it again and the dog went chasing after it.

Birch, the dog’s human, told me his dog’s name is Bridger – like Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. (One of my mountain-climbing dad’s favorite places.)

Bridger made my day.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Here’s a picture of Bridger smiling at me…

The World Still Needs…

(Originally posted on Humoristianity.)

My dear Humoristian hooligans –
When Humoristianity was established in 2007, I founded our one true fallacious faith on these tenets:
1) You must be able to laugh at yourself.
2) You must be able to recognize how ludicrous your beliefs might appear to others.
3) You must want nothing but good for everyone, everywhere in the universe.
4) You must have a natural aversion to meetings, committees, and scheduled events (as we will be having none of those).
5) You must enjoy the humor of… (I’m not going to even bother to name names here – what was true in 2007 isn’t necessarily true in 2021 – but I believe Monty Python might ALWAYS be included on the list.)

The last several years have been testing times for our faith. There have been times when I’ve found it very hard to laugh. There have been times when the ludicrous has seemed more sinister than laughable. There have been times when it felt it would have been inappropriate to ask people to laugh at their beliefs. Life took a very dark turn at some point, and what might have seemed laughable in 2007 didn’t seem so funny ten years later.

But this much HASN’T changed: The world still needs you. The world still needs your caring, kindness, and courage. The world still needs your irrepressible joy and irresistible good will to humankind. May the bullies, bigots, and busybodies be transformed by your good-humored, unruffled peace. May the stodgy, stuffy, and stingy be transformed by your generous hearts. May those inclined to shame, blame, and divide, see a better way in the way you live your lives.

You have the power to do incredible good. You are making the world a better place. Go out there and work your magic!
Karen

First Review for Cosmic Connections

Hey! Check it out! I’ve now got two five-star ratings AND a written review for Cosmic Connections: Sharing the Joy! Thank you to the “Amazon Customer” who took the time to write this review. If you’re an author, you know how much that means…

Amazon Customer writes:
5.0 out of 5 stars
Delightful book!
Reviewed in the United States on October 12, 2021
Verified Purchase
“Cosmic Connections” follows the excursions of an extraverted author and photographer who befriends nearly every person who crosses her path. This uplifting read highlights life’s small moments of connection — with strangers, old friends she meets by chance, the hapless, friendly dogs and former students. The author uses brief anecdotes—one or two pages—to show how much goodness permeates life. One entry describes meeting a stranger, only to find out she is the daughter of the minister who married her and her husband (in another part of the state) 30 years before. Her warm writing style and enthusiasm for life is infectious.
AMAZON.COMDelightful book!

Anacortes Adventure

I had such a fun day!

I went to Anacortes to pick up some papers and then, impulsively, drove to the marina to see if there were any cool boat reflections. (There were.) Then I thought to myself, “Self,” I thought, “I think I’ll saunter down to that gazebo on the end of the trail on the other side of the marina.” So I did that.

And then I looked up to the top of that hill over-looking Cap Sante, and I thought, “Self, you’ve never been up there. Maybe today would be a good day to check out the view up there.” And so I found a trail through the woods that led up to the top of the hill and started up.

About half-way up a deer suddenly appeared in front of me. She looked at me and decided we were friends, and calmly nibbled on branches while I snapped her photo. She was so beautiful! It was magic spending a few minutes with her.

I continued up the trail. Near the top there was a little rock scramble – that was pretty fun – and then I was standing on the boulders at the top and looking out over the harbor. (My phone tells me I climbed 13 floors.) I crossed over to the other side and saw that there was actually a parking lot there – right below the summit. (It always cracks me up when I find a parking lot at the end of a hike.) I stayed up there for maybe five minutes – shooting photos and soaking up the sun – and then headed back down.

I passed another couple coming up the trail as I was going down – it was their first time hiking up there, too – and we wished each other a good day. And then when I got back to the gazebo I discovered friendly Max and his humans. I asked Max’s humans if they’d ever been up to the top of the hill and they said they had – but they said there was an easier way to get up there than the way I’d gone. I laughed – and mentioned the parking lot I’d seen up there. But, I told them, I’d actually enjoyed that little rock scramble. I’d thought of my mountaineering dad when I was on that trail – and I know he wouldn’t have wanted to go the easy way, either.

As I was returning down the trail to my car I spotted a kingfisher sitting on a post. I love those guys. This one posed for me for a few minutes as I took his photo.

On my drive home, I stopped at the The Store to buy a cookie and a mocha for myself. As I was walking into The Store I noticed a gentleman sitting outside on a bench. As the barista was making my mocha, I ducked out of The Store to ask the gentleman if he’d like something to drink and he said a mocha would be great. So I went back in and told the barista I wanted to get a mocha for the gentleman outside. The barista immediately wanted to pay for the man’s drink himself, but I insisted on paying for it. I took the drink out to the gentleman, and when I got back inside the barista said he’d really like to give me a larger sized mocha than the one I’d ordered – and that the extra four ounces would be on him. Isn’t that nice?!

I so enjoyed meeting the people – and the dog and the deer and the kingfisher – I met today! I so enjoyed that little hike to the top of the knob over-looking the harbor. And I so enjoyed my mocha and my cookie from The Store.

Here are some photos from the day…

Sending Our Little Egos into Battle

Well, dang. I just found myself
getting caught up in the endless loop
again – that spinning hamster’s hoop
again – that weird compulsion we
humans have to prove we’re right –
to send our little egos out to fight
in a battle that no one will win.

Hurling opinions and catpulting “facts”
believing that where our data lands
will bring us fresh new fans
And getting frustrated when it doesn’t
work out quite the way we planned.

Because that’s not how Love works!
Love works in kindness –
in the ties of caring that bind us.
Love brings us together for each other
– to help and hold and heal
and to embrace what’s lasting and real.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell