Random Acts of "Kindness"

Archive for August, 2012


I love music — all kinds — and plays — especially musicals. Monday morning I was alerted to a live performance in the Loop by Broadway in Chicago which was free. The main attraction was to be a puppet, the horse from War Horse.

Monday was a beautiful day. After too many days in the 90’s, temperature was forecast to be in the low 80’s. My husband and I took advantage of the cooler weather and toured Botanical gardens. The last time I was in the Garden was May — life and the hot summer intervened.  A family of swans traveled the lagoon. One parent in front, the other at the end, with three youngsters in the middle.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise when I mention that I talk to all animals, domestic and wild, including birds, butterflies and fish. I saw a single swan resting on a rock. Every few minutes, he needed to groom himself. I wanted a more dignified picture. I have to admit that I encouraged him to pose for a picture and he did.

Wandering on, I wanted to tour two more gardens. They both showed the effects of a hot summer. A woman shared that the garden looked much better that day, a month ago it was worse. A group of people with cameras caught my attention. I wondered what they were taking pictures of. I soon learned. A red tailed hawk rested on a branch of a tree, enjoying a snack. Did I talk to the hawk? Silly question, of course I did.

That evening, I journeyed downtown for the music. I was amazed at the realism of the horse puppet. Not only did it sound like a real horse, it moved like one. The music was good too.

That was going to be the end of this ramble. Until Friday. In the country, my husband and I wandered to a distant town for breakfast. We made it in time for the breakfast specials, biscuits and gravy for my husband. I don’t really like breakfast food. I chose a catfish fillet sandwich with clam chowder. I think I’ve mentioned that I’m sodium restricted. I knew that my choices were not the best, but thought the cooler temperature might let me fudge a bit. I only ate half of the clam chowder, then asked that it be removed.

My Floridian daughter phoned while I was waiting for my sandwich. When we were in Florida, she helped me watch my sodium intake. When I mentioned my food choice, she remarked that the breading had a lot of salt.  She was right. I had to remove at least half of the crunch. I mentioned her phone call to our waitress,
She said I must be on my daughter’s radar screen.


I have received “help” from the other side for years. But I was not aware of it. My mother and brother passed over when I was four. I’ll credit my mother as the primary force but I have no real information to back it up. I thought I lead a rather normal life until my father passed over and shared the secret. Looking back, I remember when I was in the country, driving on a lonely back road when my tire went flat. From nowhere, a young man pulled up in a truck and stopped to help. He had no trouble jacking up my car, and getting the tire off and the spare on. Luckily it had air. The young man wouldn’t take any money for his assistance and remarked he was a member of a race crew when I complimented him on his ability to change the tire so quickly.

Another night, driving out to our camper alone in the winter, the road turned to black ice and I lost control of the car, ending up in a ditch. Another man in a truck stopped to help, borrowed a chain from a nearby farm house and pulled me out.

I’m sure other things happened when I was traveling while my father was still alive. These two stick out in my memory. When my father’s memory deteriorated from Alzheimer’s disease, there where many instances when I received help and even became more or less aware of it. Learning sometimes comes slowly.

The past week I attended the wake of my son’s ex-mother-in-law. We live on the North side of Chicago. The wake was at 193rd street and Wolf Road. Far on the south side. I took the expressways to the funeral home but at 2:30, traffic was already a challenge. There was no way I wanted to take the expressways back home.

Since we live on the North side, I’m able to wander with some confidence on streets or expressways depending on the trip. I was lost on the South side. So I asked for help. Luckily there was a person who was knowledgeable and offered advice on an alternate. When I mentioned my planned route home, the husband of the deceased expressed concern for some of the neighborhoods I would be traveling through. “That’s alright,” I remarked. “I travel with angels.” And thankfully, I do. I was amazed at the words that had come out of my mouth. I just don’t always remember. Which is why I’m sharing with you.

At the funeral, I searched for the person and thanked him. It had been a pleasant drive, through the forest preserves, stress free,  — about 2 hours — but it wasn’t bumper to bumper traffic.

Short postscript: I shared this story with my middle daughter. She was concerned that I had received a warning and did not pay attention. In my defense I wish to mention that I’m not extremely brave, I don’t depend on my friends in high places to keep me from harm . I try to use common sense to the best of my abilities and am thankful for their assistance when challenges occur.

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