Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Three Times Today I Was Stunned Into Silence

1. Standing at the checkout line at the grocery store this morning, watching the cashier do a price check on four packs of green beans for our Thanksgiving dinner. (The holiday is obviously not observed in England -- everyone goes to work and school as normal -- so we’re celebrating on Saturday.) To get the attention of the store manager at her desk at least 50 feet away, the cashier raised her hand. Just raised her hand. Imagine! She didn’t shout into a microphone, “Price check on register three, please. Price check on register three.” She didn’t even wave wildly to get the manager’s attention. Instead, with perfect confidence and dignified calmness, she simply raised her hand. And yes, somehow, in the midst of morning mayhem and spite of looking down to read something on her desk, the manager was at the checkout assisting me in less than 60 seconds. I was shocked, first of all, that that was protocol and secondly, that it worked. Call it a small but significant triumph for British restraint and reserve.

2. Walking away from Jack’s school at noon, chatting with one of the other mums and inviting her to come next-to-next Friday for a Christmas coffee morning. “Please bring something traditional from your home country (Italy) that you would eat at Christmastime,” I said. Her response: “Please don’t be offended, but we don’t celebrate Christmas, so I won’t be able to come. Thank you for thinking of me.” I was so surprised I didn’t know what to say. She came to our house one morning earlier this month and seemed to enjoy herself. The other mums coming are either Hindu, Muslim or English (nominal, “cultural” Christians at best). I sure wasn’t expecting to encounter a refusal based on the religious aspect of Christmas. And besides, who declines an offer of coffee, tea and international holiday food among friends?

3. Watching Matt and Jack play ConnectFour tonight while Sophie played peek-a-boo with Matt behind his back. I ask you, is there anything that warms a mother’s heart more than the sight of her husband playing with their children and the sound of their combined laughter? I was blown away in that moment. On the eve of my favorite American holiday, I’m thinking about the various aspects of our life together and counting the many, many blessings. Truly, my cup overflows.

1 comment:

Baleboosteh said...

I'm greatly enjoying your blog! I arrived here via a link from someone else's blog - but I can't for the life of me remember whose!

Just a thought - is it possible that the Italian lady might be a Jehovah's Witness? They have quite a large number of members from among the Italian community and are very active in Italy itself. That might explain the problem with it being a 'Christmas' coffee morning.

Have a very happy Thanksgiving celebration!