Check It Out

I saw her in the dairy section of the store. Tall. Long flowing dress. Sandals. Head-dress. Raised welts from decorative incisions on the forehead and upper cheeks. Long face with narrow-set eyes that almost looked crossed. But penetratingly limpid and intelligent.

She was silent. I expected that her voice would be a delicate whisper. It is likely that her native land was somewhere in equatorial West Africa. And here she was in Kitchener (German-Canadian town of factories, diverse foods, insurance companies and intel.)

I wanted to help. She looked so new, so different. She also appeared to have definite targets, just like any other shopping mother. The children were not with her.

I let go with a smile and a "hello" and I motioned over to a bunker of bars of cheese at a ridiculously low sale price. Canadian cheddar - all varieties. I gave her the thumbs up. She smiled broadly and the whole face lightened up. Happy common ground had been discovered. She chose two of the marble.

I am reminded of the story of the old man who went around his community with an oil can with a pumping lever ...shooting a few drops of oil here and there as he went...making things move and operate more freely, pleasantly and quietly. As we affirm in simple ways the ones who cross our path and who are struggling or sensing their strangeness, we carry on the good old tradition.

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