We spent the afternoon with our children Andy and Laura and Laura's boyfriend Ian, plus the grand-dog Keefa, opening presents for an early Christmas before going out to eat a late lunch.
This year I sort of went overboard on the Christmas presents, plus with the opening of the new "Star Wars" movie I'd been collecting the last month or so all the crazy insane stupid 'Star Wars' themed food products for Andy and Ian, like 'Star Wars' Jello and jello mold, mac and cheese, Honey Nut Cheerios. The guys got a laugh out of all the crazy 'Star Wars' products. A success.
But the funniest point in the day was just after Jim and I had carried in the bags filled with gifts and set the bags up on the floor. Keefa kept nosing around and somehow figured out very quickly which gift bag was hers, even if it was tightly sealed. I still don't know how she did that! You couldn't see what was in it and the dog treats were in a sealed bag within the bag. I know she didn't read the gift tag, but she knew which one was hers and ended up being the first one to get their presents. Silly dog. She and I cuddled for a long while after lunch.
The gifts were hits this year and we had a great time with our family. But it wasn't until we went out to eat that something happened that just sort of choked me up. We went to a local place that is popular with the local Central American and South American population. This is a restaurant that the Washington Post claims that Latin Americans going home south of the border bring huge buckets of this restaurant's chicken onto the plane with them. Laura and I love to eat at this place every time we make a Costco run. The food is authentic and very delicioso!
As usual the place was hopping and there were only a handful of Caucasians. Most of the folks eating there are Latin Americans. One of the things I know is true when living overseas is that most of the places the locals eat at have the best local style food. So this was a rare treat.
When I went to stand up to leave I fell down. Straight down off the chair like my legs didn't work. My balance is pretty crummy to start with but add in narcotics and I get very unbalanced easy. It happens. This is why it's lucky my butt is well padded because the only thing hurt is my dignity.
What the surprising and touching thing to me was that immediately, and I mean immediately before anyone with me could react, four different Hispanic men immediately grabbed me, lifting me to my feet before I could even form a thought. Ladies were clucking around me wanting to know in English and in Spanish if I was hurt or alright. Such an outpouring of spontaneous help and caring was a little bit overwhelming and amazing. I was deeply affected by the caring of those strangers.
After we got in the car to leave Laura kept mentioning her surprise at the immediate unselfish help I'd received.. She was deeply touched by that. We talked about how different our society is, and how various times either of us have wiped out in different ways and the indifference of many around us.