Random Acts of "Kindness"

ALONE

The morning sunrise promised a beautiful day. The weatherman warned of an approaching front that would bring cool weather. We have been extremely fortunate — November and the temperature was still in the 60’s. We all knew that the summer weather couldn’t last, even though we were hoping it would. I asked my husband if he wanted to go to the Botanic Gardens, and I wasn’t at all surprised when he suggested I go by myself.

Since the Gardens is close to Lake Michigan, I knew the temperature might be cooler. I wore my hooded sweatshirt from Hawaii, topped with a yellow fleece vest. The vest had zipper pockets. I could travel without a purse, and still have room to safely carry my cell phone and wallet. Have camera, will travel! I was off.

Even though it was a beautiful day, the Garden wasn’t crowded. I parked closer, realizing that my knees might be problems on my return. The garden was already preparing for colder temperatures. The table in front that highlighted flowers was gone, but the front was ablaze with colorful purple mums. The entry arch’s were highlighted by yellow mums. The fountain in the lake was already off. I wondered about the waterfall. I was surprised by the roar of water. Looking for the source, I saw water bubbling up in the lagoon. Asking various garden workers, I learned they were emptying the fountains so the pipes wouldn’t freeze.

Although there weren’t as many blooming plants, I still found enough to catch my interest. Maybe I was paying more attention. At the camper, we had a plant with very interesting leaves. I bought it after the tornado, but if it had a name, I hadn’t written it down were I could find it. When we returned in October, the plant was covered with lovely daisies. At the garden that day, I learned the plant was Montauk Daisy, aster family, from Japan. One mystery solved.

Fall flowers were in bloom, Christmas lights were up and in some cases on. The leaves sported fall colors. I had plenty of opportunities to take pictures. The waterfall was still cascading down the hill. I stopped for awhile to enjoy the sound. I have to admit that I stopped more often than normal. My knees, although not screaming, were making their presence known. I’ll also admit, that I didn’t let them dictate my path — I walked my normal route — and the carillon bells were still ringing on the hour — although they were still on daylight saving time.

Crossing the bridge, I stopped to watch and photo a female mallard whose head was tucked under a wing as her feet continued to paddle. A tall gentleman was across the bridge standing near the waters edge with his camera focused. I wondered what he had found of interest. He showed me his photos and asked if he could take my picture. I now have two photos on my computer. The gentleman was from China, in our country 14 years. Chicago reminds him of home, it has the same four seasons.

I finally admitted I was hungry and headed for the cafe. They had a quinoa salad that I had been tempted to try. I bought a salad and picked up a plastic fork and a napkin, before heading outside. I found a table near the roaring water, put the salad, napkin and fork down before sitting down myself. THE NAPKIN AND FORK WERE GONE! WHERE? Not on the floor, not on a chair — not visible anywhere. I checked my pockets — empty. It wasn’t windy or even breezy — ?? I went back into the cafe to get another fork. I really don’t care for plastic utensils. There was a long line by the plastic utensils. I noticed they had metal silverware at another station. I’m STILL PERPLEXED! Where did they go? I was alone, wasn’t I?

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