Thursday, February 17, 2011

An Aside

My twenty year-old daughter is enrolled at USF. She’s smart, funny, and she is a good person. Really good. Yesterday morning she rode her bike downtown to study. The house was too quiet; the sun too bright to stay inside.

Even though we have lived in Florida for two years, little things still fill me with a sense of gratitude, especially when I compare Safety Harbor to other places I’ve lived. I still stop to watch a turtle cross the street. I like those ugly ducks that swim in all the ponds. Egrets are beautiful and manatees are gentle elegance. The sound of the train makes me smile and going to bed with frogs singing in my yard induces the best night’s sleep…

I don’t remember appreciating little things as much as I do now. Maybe it’s because I am in my forties and I see things differently; Maybe it’s the way our town avoids graffiti and lights our streets at Christmas; Maybe it’s because I’m involved and have gotten to know a lot of people. Maybe I’m too sentimental.

I knew something was wrong when I answered my cell phone. My daughter was talking to a woman whose voice I did not recognize. The concern in my daughter’s voice was apparent as she promised she’d return, cash in hand.

“It’s really okay," said the unfamiliar voice. “I believe in karma and you have an honest face. Go home and bring the money when you can.”

Her worry became mine. “Where is your wallet?” I asked. “I have a little cash. Where are you?”

She was obviously embarrassed, and after telling me she had gone downtown, eaten lunch, then realized her wallet was not in her backpack, she told me where she thought she had left it. All the while the kind woman in the background assured her that it was okay, and she could bring the money later.

This small, seemingly unimportant occurrence choked me up. Who does this anymore? Who believes in the honesty of strangers?

My answer came as I turned onto Main. I’m not going to tell you which restaurant my daughter waited in, because I doubt her experience would have been different in any or most of Safety Harbor’s businesses. We live in a good place. A really good place, and I just wanted to remind you.

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