Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Golden Glow

One should never go shopping on a Saturday. Regardless, we went. To make matters worse, the wife was looking for specific items, has been now for weeks. After three hours of dragging our butt from pillar to post, the stomach starts to complain. It’s been a real zoo out here today so where to eat? Not being too proud by nature, we pulled into the nearest McDonalds.

We stumbled in through the door. Boy, I’ve never seen a McDonalds this small before, or so busy. I’m using my walker because of the oxygen tank, so with the crowd it was difficult to maneuver a path to a booth. Finally I am able to settle down. On looking up I see a baby one booth over in a high chair, staring at me. Babies always seem to do that, don’t they. I guess he was about nine months old.

Elizabeth checked to make sure I was seated ok and then went to line up for our food. The baby meanwhile, continued to eyeball me. Each time he screwed up his face to squawk, this mechanical hand reached out of the booth and fed him. I found it quite comical to watch this less than a year old child, already giving his parents the gears to get what he wanted. I shook my head, there’s just no hope.

While all this had been going on with the baby performance, I couldn’t help but notice a group sat at the tables in the corner to my right. The group consisted of a mother, two boys and a girl. The woman looked to be Asian. The boys looked about five and eight, the girl would be around nine or ten. The mothers face with large almond eyes was time worn. Grey pallor skin reflected a hard led life, to this point at least. She was probably no older than her late twenties, maybe thirty, judging by the ages of the kids. She was dressed most modestly as were the children, quite clean in appearance, yet nevertheless poor by most standards.

I tried not to appear too nosey while I waited for the wife to get back, but I couldn’t help casting a glance unobtrusively first at the baby, then over to the mother and three young kids in corner.

Meanwhile, up at the counter around the corner, where Elizabeth was waiting to get served, you could imagine the noise with all the other kids, the place being so busy. Loud kids, yelling and demanding, “I want this” and “I am going to get that. No that isn’t the toy I want, I want this one!”

All the time the kids at my end of McDonalds were so well mannered and quiet for their mother. They sat there silently, each of them holding just a McFlurry dessert and a plastic spoon.

For herself the mother had an ice cream sundae and a small package of French fries. I watched discreetly, somewhat amazed as the woman doled out two fries to each of the kids, then one to herself. Again she made the rounds with the fries, then she took a taste of her sundae, watching each child in turn and giving them all such a warm sweet smile. Once again she made the rounds with the fries. I never saw so many fries come out of such a small package before. Five fish and two loaves of bread crossed my mind. After the fries were finished she then took her spoon and fed some of her sundae to each child in turn. Not once was there a sound of protest or argument over what was going on.

It was a treat just to sit and see this little miracle taking place. When I looked at the woman she sat there looking as proud as any mother should look, and be dammed to the world looking on.

Once in a while during my life I have seen that proud look before, someone obviously in need but too proud to seek a handout. I sat and watched all this taking place and felt a little guilty when my big Mac and medium fries arrived complete with a chocolate milk drink. I would have willingly put a twenty dollar bill in her hand to help out, but I didn’t want her to think the wrong thing or get my face slapped.

We finished our meal and left to head home. Earlier I had been thinking what a wasted day out, milling around in the zoo of people and coming home empty handed.

One stop in McDonalds changed all that very quickly. What a treat we had been given. What a lesson in human dignity, where being poor didn’t make one hell of a difference to the woman and three kids.

My faith in the future of humanity had just been given a much needed shot in the arm, two fries at a time.

C’ya

36 comments:

zirelda said...

Dang Eric. I always make faces at the kids who stare at me. It's fun to see them make faces back. At least until their parents catch me.

I haven't seen anything like you describe in our McDonalds although there are plenty in need here. That is a good story.

Janice Thomson said...

What a heart-warming and inspiring story Eric. Sometimes we need these little examples in our life to not only appreciate what we ourselves have but also to garner compassion and understanding for others. It takes just such a compassionate heart to have even noticed this in the first place.
Wonderful post.

samrina said...

Such an inspiration n thought provoking story... great piece of writing Eric :)

God bless you!

Augs Casa said...

Having kids myself, it's a wonder how parents with toddlers or any children for that fact make it through the day. I have the reversal of fortune mate. My kids are well behaved in social places outside of the house. When it comes to being home and since the cold is still with us, it can be a challenge. I hope to one day join the ranks of the nice women and children you saw today. As for food and desserts, I do the same thing myself. My boys eat the majority of my food when we are out, because, I enjoy it.

Nothingman said...

these kinds of posts make it worth trawling the blogsphere :)

You got a nice way to observe things sir, these small miracles are everywhere in our life, we just need to open our eyes and see :)

Eric Valentine said...

I think we've all done a bit of that with the kids Zirelda hahha... Thanks for your comment. :)

Eric Valentine said...

Thank you for your very kind words Janice. I think as we get older we do tend to notice more, what's going on around us.. Sometimes it's quite educational. :)

Eric Valentine said...

Thank you Samrina, I am pleased you enjoyed my story. I sincerely appreciate your compliments. :)

Eric Valentine said...

Hi Augs my friend, what can I say. You are just a great big lovable daddy that most kids would love to have as a pop.. :)

Eric Valentine said...

I am pleased to see you here Nothingman. It's nice to see new faces that enjoy the things I write.

As for observing things that way, I think that comes with getting older and hopefully getting a little wiser. :)

Do call again my friend. :)

forsythia said...

I visited your poetry blog this morning and read three or four of your poems. I will return and eventually read them all. And thus you will become "Eric the Read."

Terri said...

you have a superb sense to have picked up on all that and you wrote about it beautifully! I need to slow myself down some I guess.

Eric Valentine said...

Hi Forsythia,nice sense of humor you have, thanks for reading my site.. :)

Eric Valentine said...

Hello Terri, pleased to meet you. I'm glad you enjoyed my a post so much, thanks for the compliment, do call again. :)

Pearl said...

That's a beautiful story of dignity and a person being disciplined and teaching her peace.

drips of paint said...

brilliant:))

Eric Valentine said...

Thank you so much for your kind words Pearl, always nice to see you drop by. :)

Eric Valentine said...

Tim! You are just too kind.

Hope things are well with you. May your paint brush be kind to you my friend. :)

Friendly nextdoor guy said...

Happy poetry month Eric!!

Stacey said...

Dear Eric
We should all be greatful for what we have, as there are so many others out there who have much less, but they are the ones that appreciate what they do have so much more!! :-)

Eric Valentine said...

Thanks FNG for your visit, Happy poetry month to you also. Have a good weekend. :)

Eric Valentine said...

Hi Stacey, I couldn't agree with you more.

Things don't always come so easy anymore. :)

drips of paint said...

thanks Eric:)

I do not eat Mcdonald anymore because of health but your story suddenly makes each piece of french fries worth eating ... I am not just being kind.

Anyway no painting for almost 4 weeks now, I am trying to recover from a bad flu plus sore throat ... it is stubborn and likes me too much.

have a good weekend!

Julie at Virtual Nexus said...

Good one, Eric, and as you said, a shot in the arm. Reckon is does us all good to focus outward at times!

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

What a wonderful story to share, Eric. "Lessons" like that are real gifts to all of us.

Eric Valentine said...

Vanilla, such a pleasent surprise to have you visit, thank you.

Life is a gift my friend, lessons are there for all. :)

Have a good weekend, please call again. :)

Leon said...

After all that your friends have commented Eric, I have one additional little observation: There seems to be at least a small trace of "grandfather" in you. ;~) I couldn't help but smile at your description of the scene and the cause of your Golden Glow.

Shades said...

Liked the story very much, Eric..!
Keep writing..!!
:)

Eric Valentine said...

You know Leon, you might be right in that observation, I just never thought of it that way. :)

It's always nice to see kids come, but also to see them go I always said, but maybe I am melting a little these days. LOL

Things like that are always nice to see when we are out, it sure brings a smile to my face & a tug of the heart strings. :)

Eric Valentine said...

Thanks Shades, I'm pleased that you enjoyed the story. I will carry on writing when I can my friend. :)

Eric Valentine said...

Sorry to hear you are under the weather Tim, I hope you recover soon my friend. :)

Eric Valentine said...

Hi Julie, it's so easy not to notice at times for we are so busy with our lives. :)

swenglishexpat said...

Interesting, observational piece, Eric. It certainly is fascinating sometimes to study strangers discreetly. When I do that myself, I like to imagine who they are, what their lives are like etc. My wife often tells me I have a vivid imagination and should use it to write a book!

Eric Valentine said...

Thank you Swen, nice to see you back again, I do hope you enjoyed your vacation. :)

I think when we get older we have more time to sit & observe what makes the world tick. It's interesting at times to people watch. :)

newnorth said...

great post Eric. I bet they remember that day more then any of the other kids there.

Eric Valentine said...

I bet you're right too NN ;)