Wednesday, September 28, 2011

...of red and gold.

Near the traffic circle, or round-about, that I have written about in a much earlier post, there is a large public wading pool and fountain. All summer long, groups of children and even whole families have cooled off by splashing in the water. We had a very warm July and August, with many 100 + degree days. That water sure looked refreshing to those of us who were just driving past. To the folks actually in the water, it must have been Divine.
All but one of the splashers and waders took advantage of the pool in the hot afternoons and sweltering early evening hours. Just one person was in the pool almost every morning about 7:00 a.m. That one early morning pool user was doing just what you might think. He was taking a bath.
Truly, when I think I have seen everything there is to see, in my work neighborhood, I happen upon something truly strange. This bather was one of the most unusual sites I have seen, to date.
Mr. Bather, as I called him, was really taking his morning bath, complete with soap and towel. Every weekday morning he was there, suds-ing up or toweling off.
I never stopped to talk with him, after all it was none of my business to know why he was bathing in public. Maybe he had no bathtub or shower? Possibly it was the custom to bath publicly in his native country. Maybe he was an exhibitionist? Could it have had anything to do with his religion? Maybe he was just having fun. Who knows?
Now that it is cooler, and the leaves are beginning to turn, he's no longer bathing in the park. I miss him.

Gracious Lord. You must have a great sense of humor. You make me smile. You made us all so different and yet we are all alike. We honor you and are in awe of your total creation.
Bless us and guide us as we go about our daily living.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Soap is Soap, I guess.

Last weekend, I shopped at my local grocery for items to use in the incentive store at work. We stock the store with items our English Language Students are desperate to have. These items are generally hygiene or cleaning products that they cannot purchase with Government Food Stamps.
You see, the regulations for Food Stamps, require persons to use them only for food. Never mind that you have to be clean and smell good, to get a job ....but you can't buy soap! Or, you might want to wash your clothes to look good......but you can't buy detergent. Explain that reasoning, will you?
So, on Sunday, I bought 40 bottles of liquid dish soap, two 24 packs of toilet paper, 6 bottles of shampoo, and a large pack of paper towels.
Dish Soap is our biggest "seller". (Actually, we trade the items for our in-house, printed play money. Students earn the money in their classes.) Immigrants and refugees, apparently wash everything (clothes, bodies, hair, hands, and dishes) in Dish Soap. Dish Soap is cheap and it makes a ton of suds. Lots of folks think that it's the suds that make things clean.
Anyway, we opened our "store" at 8:30 on Tuesday, and by 9:00 everybody in school that morning, had "bought" a bottle of dish soap, along with a few other items.
Believe me, I look at dish soap in a totally new way, now. Dish soap makes a lot of people happy. Donald Trump may be excited over a new office building or a hotel, but I really don't think he's as satisfied as a Somali woman holding a new, full bottle of dish soap. Even Barack Obama could up his poll numbers, if he ran on a platform promising Dish Soap for every family!

Good and giving God. Thank you for all that you have given us. Our blessings are great. Come into our hearts. Make us whole. Show us how to be loving, giving and forgiving children of your Kingdom.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

To Me

Yesterday, I had a milestone birthday. And frankly, I don't feel a day over 35. But the facts and the numbers say that I'm waaaaaay over 35.
Age, you know, is just a number. I have a dear friend, who was recently honored with a Human Rights award. She and two well-known gentleman, from our area, received lots of applause and a nice plaque. The two gentlemen accepted their awards graciously, but spent a great deal of time bemoaning the fact that they were past their their 70's and 80's.
My friend was the last to speak. She talked about people who had helped her achieve recognition and how her expertise had been to always work behind the scenes. Then, she mentioned she was 91 and still going strong. Whoopee!
That's the way I want to live my life. Strong and passionate until the very end.

Great and powerful God. Please allow us to be strong and always willing to work for the good of others. Help us to act, not only for our benefit, but to better the lives of all our brothers and sisters.
God, grant us peace and patience.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Please and Thank You

In the past year, I have learned quite a bit about my fellow human beings from different cultures. Most folks, it seems, do react kindly when kindness is done to them. Somalis will smile when you smile at them. Dominicans and Haitians get a kick out of a good joke, and I am acquainted with a Vietnamese woman who likes to give me hugs.
But, I am amazed at the number of 100% natural Americans who have forgotten the rules of common decency. Some of the people, that I interact with every day, just refuse to say "please" and "thank you". They don't ask. They demand.
That kind of behavior is not nice and I don't appreciate it. My father had a great line that he used to use on me when my manners weren't quite up to his standard. It was "Were you born in a barn? "
Some of the immigrants and refugees that I know, weren't even born under any kind of roof, but their manners are a whole lot better than some of those who were born in an immaculate maternity ward. In fact, you all know of one man, who was born in a stable........

God. I hope people remember to say "thank you" to their creator. I'm thinking that they probably don't. Anyway, thanks a lot. We are blessed.