Random Acts Of Kindness: Day 6 September 16

This one is short an sweet…a twofer!

On my way to my girls spa day, I needed to reload my Charlie card.

I saw a woman struggling with a bill in the machine. She couldn’t get it to go and she was running late. I loaded my card, waved her over and then swiped my card to let her through.

Then I swiped it for myself. She wanted to give me the money (a $20) but I told her “No, just change that old bill for a new one so you will be able to get home tonight.”

At the Dunkin Donuts in the station there was a homeless man who couldn’t afford a donut so I bought my coffee but this time I ordered the combo that comes with two donuts and handed him the bag as I boarded the train.

Good deeds done and feet are wunderbar!

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Random Acts Of Kindness: Day 4 & 5 – September 14 & 15.

I haven’t been feeling well this weekend. Never had a spider bite that made me ill, but I woke up Saturday with two such bites on my wrist. It foiled all my plans for the weekend. So my RAK’s for the weekend are simple and electronic.

I washed down my neighbor’s sidewalk, came in and read emails. Seems a dog is in need of eye surgery so I’m linking its owner with a vet that will work out a payment plan.

I danced for a young couple newlywed this weekend. Will send them a house warming when they are settled.

And then a friend with a psycho ex is telling me about threats and accusations being made. I hate messy break ups, never had one myself, but have nursed more than a few friends through them.

Well it seems that even though we don’t know each other, the “ex” and I are connected through a friend of a friend etc. It’s a small world really.

Turns out this person always has trouble letting go and borders on the obsessive and paranoid type. Our mutual acquaintances have been trying to find this person help. Despite the ongoing battle with my friend, I don’t like seeing anyone in pain. And, I am in the position to help. Working for a union, we helped many folks with emotional and mental situations.

I knew someone who specialized in healing these types of relationship problems. So I passed the information along, got an email from my friend who said that her friend agreed to go with “the ex” to a counseling session.
My hope is that these simple things produce good results. At least I’ve pointed them in the right direction.

The dog owner and the ex will probably never know me personally, but that’s fine. Karma has a strange way of placing us where we need to be at that moment in time. So maybe I’ve set a sort of “good” dominoes action into play.

I’ve never been one to look for or expect demonstrations of gratitude. It’s always been enough for me to know that a smile or a shift into the fortunate is a result.

As for me, it’s Mexican independence celebrations in the neighborhood, so I’m shut up in the middle of the house with headphones on, trying to alleviate my migraine. Then I will watch my 9r’s and call it a night. Sweet dreams world…..and happy birthday to my star!

Random acts of kindness project: Day 3 – September 13

Those of you on my Facebook know I try and help my friends as much as I can, but sometimes in helping a friend you stumble into a kindness done for a stranger.

A friend of mine recently found himself unexpectedly homeless. That was one thing, but in addition to being out on the streets his two cats were out of a home too.

Alone, finding a shelter or crashing on a couch isn’t a problem, but with two cats many doors were closed that would otherwise be open. The dilemma now became finding them a new home–fast; or finding a no kill shelter.

He asked me to help get the word out to see if we could find them a good home, so I sent messages out to friends, Facebook friends, and on Craigslist. It wasn’t long before messages started coming in. Many were notes of contrite deferment, but some offered suggestions. Then I got what would be the best email. A young mother with an autistic boy was looking for cats, per the advice of his therapist.

After reading her email my friend was touched. She called and talked to him and told him of her daughter who was so excited that she had been surfing the Internet for toys.

This hard working mom is also a full time student and money was tight. She asked if there was an adoption fee. “No, all I want is for them to have a good home.”

I think it was a done deal the moment he read her email, but we arranged a time for her to bring the children to meet his “children.”

I can’t describe the look on the little boy’s face, but I will never forget it either. The little girl had the glee of a child when she spotted them in their crate, but the little boy….

His eyes went wide and he was all at once excited and calm. He sat down on the floor beside the crate and calmly stroked the cats, first one then the other. The male cat took to him immediately, cuddling his head in the boy’s cupped hand. It was a rare, instantaneous and unconditional love that bonds two souls together.

This was fine with his sister who was taken with the female cat. Their mother beaming as she looked from one child to the next. I thought my friend was going to get a bit misty watching this transaction.

The only trouble we had was transferring the cats from the crate to their carriers. As with most cats, the didn’t like this and I thought the boy was going to cry when one scratched me. “It’s all my fault! I scared him.”

“No, no dear,” I assured him,”its the carrier, not you.” He put his fingers in the holes of the carrier and the cat rubbed against him. The boy smiled.
My friend smiled and so did the mom.

Ten minutes later, they were gone. But, it was more than finding pets a home, we brought together an autistic boy with a true friend and companion.

Random act of kindness: Day 1 – September 11

Today I was in Salem, going to the vendors meeting for the proposed casino at Suffolk Downs. We were early, so I decided to grab something to eat. It was a good meal at Victoria Station and as we were finishing up, a man came in with his two young daughters (about 5 and 7). They ordered and both the dad and the eldest girl got salad bar salads.

They youngest wasn’t into vegetables, so when the other two got up to get their salads she didn’t want to go. Now negotiations started. The eldest didn’t like the way dad made salads and the youngest wouldn’t budge off her seat. The dad was about to give up and cancel the salads when I had my friend, Tony get his attention.

“Are you going to the restroom?”

“No I was taking her (pointing to the older girl) to the salad bar. He gave me a pathetic look.

“Don’t worry, she can stay there. We’ll keep an eye on her” A look of relief washed over him but the littlest one looked suspicious. I think she thought we wanted her to sit at our table. She started to follow him. “Oh so you want to come now?”

She shook her head and whispered something and he told her no just go sit down. She did and looked over at me. I gave her a smile and waved. She relaxed and began to sip her soda.
When her father and sister had returned with their salads. He thanked me.

“No problem,” I said as the waitress brought our bill. He and the kids went back to their food and discussions. They didn’t notice my rolling two $1 bills into tiny toothpicks.

When the waitress came back to take our credit card, I quietly asked her to wait for us to leave and then give each one of the girls a “dollar toothpick”. She smiled and assured me she would.

As we were walking passed his table on the way out the man thanked me again and said being a single dad was a challenge. I assured him that they reminded me of me and my sister and not to worry. He had know idea of the surprise for his girls coming up.

We left. I never saw the waitress return or give them their gifts. It didn’t matter.
I didn’t need to see it.

We went to our meeting.

Random acts of kindness project: Explanation

Hello everyone,

This being the anniversary of 911, I’ve taken a request from a Facebook friend and expanded it. Now as you know daily blogging is difficult for me, but I am up for this challenge:

She asked us in honor of this day to do an act of kindness for a stranger.

I have vowed to do this for one month.
From 9/11 to 10/11.

I will post these acts here not for praise or accolades, but to inspire readers to pay it forward. If you would like to share your own inspirations, please do so!

Reflecting on the 4th

I fell in love with this country, specifically New England, when I was about four and living in the upper woods of Maine on a now defunct Air Force Base. To a child it was a winter wonderland, a spring and summer full of adventure and exploration, and an explosion of color in the fall. Forest creatures that strayed in need of help were some of my first “pets”.

I grew up pledging allegiance to the flag and celebrating the 4th of July with clambakes, fireworks and sparklers. By the time I came to Boston, I had two dogs & three cats in tow and I had learned of the best and worst of this country.

I was very young at the time and those lessons took years, even decades to thoroughly sink in, but
They are my psychological foundation. Through traveling from base to base from birth to age 8, I learned that there was no difference between skin color, race, or sex. I saw my first interracial couple at age 3 and unlike many of my later school friends my world stretched far beyond my own ethnic and religious affiliations.

I didn’t care that ethnically I was in the minority when we returned to Boston, for ethnicity and cultures were fascinating to me. Learning the ways of my Italian neighbors was a mini-adventure and when I started meeting Spanish, Hispanic and islander transplants, to my school it was something new to learn. While others were scandalized when the first black (in those days we said black and not african american) student arrived, I thought nothing of it, except wondering what creole dishes his mom would make for study time. I laughed at anyone who said I couldn’t hang around or play with a person because they weren’t like “us.”

“What does that mean? Aren’t we all immigrants from one place or another?” It never dawned on me to think otherwise. Then one day, I got my first taste of discrimination directed towards me. When I revealed that I wasn’t just of Irish-German descent, but I was actually born in Germany and held dual citizenship, some kids began “goose stepping” around me. Years later I found out the instigator had a crush on me.

I had to hear that I was the enemy of both Jews and Americans alike, which puzzled me. I wasn’t born during WWII and my family of Americans fought for this country. I had met Jews on the base and outside of some different eating habits, I thought they were pretty cool.

Germans were always kind to me, when I had the good fortune to meet them and I was raised to believe that it didn’t matter where you came from so long as you tried to live a decent life and be true to yourself. It truly was the cornerstone of my foundation which allows me to treat people with “a live and let live” view and an intense curiosity on how they saw the world.

Yet, I learned to curtail this curiosity to keep from seeming rude or prying into areas they didn’t want to share. I watched the neighborhood around me morph and change as the Irish moved to Southie and the Italians to the north shore. With each changing of the guard, I saw the same pattern.

There were the ethnic cliques keeping to themselves and not opening up to the grand adventure that this new world offered, and then there were the ones that fascinated me. They opened themselves up to their new life in America, embracing the language, culture and norms even if odd to them. While they didn’t ignore their heritage, they saw the US as their home, their country: for better or worse. They got involved with the “natives” and enjoyed sharing their culture with their new friends. Sure they waived their flags to celebrated St. Patty’s day, feasts of the saints, cinco de mayo, etc. but along with those flags was the flag of their new home…old glory.

It is these people who truly embody what our forefathers had intended for this country–a place where we could live in peace, respecting our individual heritage, beliefs and norms without fear of reprisal or jail. They didn’t come here to “take over” but to be part of a new life, new culture and new promise.

I love these people most. They never utter in my country unless they are talking about the USA, they are proud of where they came, but even prouder of where they are going. In this immigrant nation it is more about where your head is than where you actually came from. Sure you can remain closed off and only associate with those things from your former home that have been transplanted here, and live quite well. But, that would be short changing your life. You have moved to a new world, a new culture and a new country and the wonder comes when you truly immerse yourself in it, making it your own and discovering new things about yourself.

If I decide to make another country my home, even for a little while, I will take this mentality with me. Fully immersing myself in the language, culture and daily norms of my adopted home.

But, for now New England is home. No matter how far I travel the call of green and white mountains, rocky beaches and blue hills draw me back.
As I sit here on the Fourth of July watching our traditional viewing of “JAWS” and reciting the dialogue, I let go of all the problems facing our country, all the ruminations on things I can’t change; and recall the lazy, hazy sweet summer days of my youth when life was about watermelon, iced tea and fireworks.

Happy Fourth of July…may this young nation continue to grow and progress forward.

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