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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Random Acts, Well Chilled

Something interesting happened to me the other day. Actually, I just got a chuckle out of typing that statement, because it implies that nothing interesting has ever happened to me. Ha! I walked over to the mailbox to get the day's mix of catalogs, ads, and bills. When I was heading back, a man sort of crossed my path. He had a moderately sized box inside a plastic grocery sack tucked under his arm. I said hello, because some days it can be very depressing for people to be treated as though they are invisible. No, I don't know him, and I may not ever see him again. In fact, our interchange was so brief that if I did, I undoubtedly would not recognize him. 

After I said hi, he started to rummage in his bag. "Oh, no!" I thought. "Please don't try to sell me something, and then I won't have to tell you, very honestly, that I have no money to spare." As he rummaged in his bag a moment, he said, "I'm just walking by, but I want to give you this. If you don't want it, pass it on to someone else. All I ask is that you pass it on by doing a little something for someone else." I asked what it was and he said it was a Reese's ice cream. I told him my husband would probably enjoy it. He was already walking away, but he turned, waved, and said, "Tell him to pass it on, then."

When the moment is right, we will pass it on. I, for one, have always loved doing little random good deeds. They make me feel happy about life and, I guess, about myself. If I have the means, I am the one in line at the grocery store who will hand someone five dollars if they find themselves a bit short. We also have a rule that when our supermarket has a display of grocery bags, or even empty display boxes, saying, "Buy this and feed a family of four this Thanksgiving/Christmas/Holiday Season," we do it. It isn't always easy, and we often have to forego a treat that we would like to have. But how important is that treat? Could we possibly enjoy eating it, knowing that the money we spent on it could have provided a decent holiday meal for a family that never has enough to eat, much less "special treats?" I am actually embarrassed to have included that information in this piece, because we usually do our good deeds with a great deal of stealth. Sharing the little that we have makes us very happy. I encourage everyone to try and do so, and that, in the end, is why I have shared this.

As you may be aware, Trent is recovering from hand surgery. He had bad enough arthritis at the base of his thumb to require creation of a new joint. The process is pretty cool - the doctors remove the affected end of the joint, and then take a tiny width of tendon (like taking a few strands from a big bundle of spaghetti) and coil it up to make a new joint for the thumb. He has been hurting a lot, and it's hard to have your dominant hand out of commission. Tomorrow, his splint and stitches will be removed, and he will get a cast. Yep, still immobilized for healing purposes.

I feel kind of sorry for him dealing with this, and tried to get him some things he really likes at the supermarket. So I got a little of this, and a little of that. I made sure to get him some of his favorite little breakfast pies and a couple of other things. He had mentioned that we were out of sour cream and that he'd been craving ranch dip, so I got him a carton of sour cream as well. By the time we got home from the store and I made about four trips to the car to haul everything in, I was exhausted. I told Trent that right now I was so tired that I was just going to unpack everything that needed to be refrigerated or frozen. So I went about my business and stowed the frozen pies and the butter and salad and take-and-bake pizza and milk and Lunchables-for-my-honey, and put my feet up. 

A day or so later, Trent decided to see how independent he could be with just one fully operational arm. He was going to make ranch dip, he informed me. I sat playing a game on my computer, waiting for the call for help that I was certain was going to happen. When it arrived, it wasn't for what I expected. Trent couldn't find the sour cream. I went into the kitchen carrying my just-opened container of Greek yogurt and pretty much said to get out of the way, it was right there on the top shelf. Only it wasn't. I looked in the bags that still contained soft drinks to see if I had accidentally left it out of the fridge. But it turns out I hadn't. In my hurry to get everything cold put away as soon as possible, I had carefully placed the sour cream in the freezer. Luckily I had the Greek yogurt I had just opened, plus another in the fridge, so Trent was able to have his dip after all, mixed up by yours truly.

By the way, if you're curious, after waiting two days for it to thaw, you will find that sour cream does not respond well to freezing. If you should accidentally do what I did, you're just as well off tossing it. It breaks like a bad sauce made by a very inexperienced cook. But looks much, much worse. My random act of kindness to Trent took some tumbles, but still turned out okay. I felt really dumb, but I am sure I will have a few laughs about it someday. Oh, wait, I already did, today!