I’ve lived in Washington, D. C. for 28 years and have never seen a president or a first spouse. Everyone in my family has run into these celebrities. They’ve been to White House egg rolls, watched royal daughters dropped off at school and been annoyed by buzzing presidential limos.
You never know when a motorcade is going to pass by.
Last night Mel and I went on an IPA research mission. First we stopped at Uptown Tap House for Devil’s Backbone 8 Point IPA. Then to Glen’s Garden Market for Baltimore Washington Beer Works’ Tell Tale Heart. The evening ended at Pizza Paradiso where we had Three Star Brewing Company’s Sea Change (from a wooden cask – this makes all the difference. I can attest to wood inspired overtones of vanilla and crème.)
On the walk home, (yes we could still walk) we were forced to wait behind police tape beside the Washington Hilton. Connecticut Avenue was closed to traffic. My husband, the old hand at presidential sightings, rolled his eyes, feigning boredom and annoyance. Even though the walk home was delayed and I really needed to use the bathroom I was not bored or annoyed. I wanted to see the president.
I’m not a political person. Most of the time I manage to vote – thanks to peer pressure. Only recently have I learned the difference between donkeys and elephants, and my friends make sure I understand which team we root for. The president is a figure-head – an actor. But still, I’d like to see him in person.
Michelle got out of the limo. Nearby demonstrators held up signs and voiced objections about an obtuse issue. I wasn’t going to let them do that to My Figurehead! I applauded the first lady. (My husband thought I was possessed.) I applauded alone. I didn’t care. Surprised and confused by my feelings of….??? …princess-projection???…heaven forbid, patriotism??? I was caught up by feeling for the First Lady who speaks out for healthy lifestyles, cares about the nation’s children and families, visits hospitals, wears Lands End sweater sets, grows vegetables, and keeps bees which produce honey, from which her chefs make White House Beer.
It’s a wonderful country. Cheers!
I enjoy reading and eating at the same time. No insult to author, cook, farmer or fruit. It’s simply a double pleasure.
However today, reading the opening pages to Jamaica Kincaid’s “See Now Then” and eating an utterly delicious bowl of cottage cheese with avocado, I had to put one of them down. The double deliciousness overwhelmed me.
First I attended to the bowl of luscious green and white food.
And then continued turning pages of words at the kitchen counter.
Next year I’ll do something easier, like give up looking in the bathroom mirror.
We had more than one morning when my frustrated husband reminded me, ”It’s still Lent!”
Kindness Practice did help to loosen my purse strings though. I’ve been planning a trip to visit old friends and teachers. But of course, that’s kindness to myself as well. As kindness always is.
When I was a kid I always went to the neighbor’s for Snow Day Bisquick Pizza. After lunch we played Parcheesi or drew pictures. At nightfall we walked our dogs in the snowy quiet.
Tonight our neighbor will join us for cold beer by the fire. We’ll have roasted cauliflower, curried spinach and jeera aloo.
- which has nothing to do with kindness, but it certainly is nice.
Back in the day when kindergarten ended at noon and five-year-old children walked home on their own, I met an angel named Jenny.
As I left Miss Cotrell’s class, it was raining hard, and I struggled to carry both an umbrella and the morning’s art work. A gust of wind blew my precious picture into a puddle and I howled as though I’d lost my first-born.
Jenny, also a kindergartener, picked up my first-born, took me by the hand, and walked me home. I was awed by her kindness and no less by the confidence with which she navigated this foreign country - a block she had never visited. Jenny handed me over to my mother, who with great care, took out wooden clothes pins and hung my picture up to dry.
And ever since that day, I have loved the name Jenny.
First step will be remembering the kindness thing. I need tassels on my garment or a string around my finger.
I decide to put something around my neck – some childish plastic beads from the thrift store. The weight at my throat can remind me to say kind things.
Naturally I’m rushing to get to yoga on time. How am I going to practice kindness in a hurry? I say a quick hello to the homeless guy at the bus stop. This is not a good start.
Today’s yoga teacher, “Bobbie”, is not my favorite. Her rough-edged coaching rattles my inner-peace, and I usually avoid unnecessary interaction with her. But today I’m practicing kindness.
I smile, look into her eyes, and say, “Hello, Bobbie.”
She looks into my eyes and replies, “I really like your necklace.”
Thirty years ago a classmate spoke one sentence that lodged in my memory.
Betsy Calhoun delivered the words in her honey-coated southern drawl, “If I ever had to preach a sermon, it would be on simple kindness.”
Alarming thoughts. “Preach a sermon?” ”Simple Kindness?”
Well, Betsy, this Lent’s for you. I’m embarking on 40 Days of Kindness. My husband, usually supportive of my little projects can hardly contain his enthusiasm this year.
- I do not promise to always be kind.
- I promise to think about kindness. (even though it’s day one and the very idea of is making me tired)
- I’ll try on some special kindness shoes each day and see how they fit.
What are y’all doing this year for Lent?
see previous years’ 40 day blogs: