Thursday, July 9, 2009

Being Pleasant II

This evening in one of my favorite markets, a local Arabic open air one with loads of exotic fresh fruits, prime meats, and various imported items, I ran into a very lovely middle-aged African American woman who was in front of me in the checkout line. I noticed she had items in her basket that I had not tried before. We talked about how the items were to be prepared and she gave me tips. It was her husband's favorite dish. She was so very pleasant. She was sunshine and I liked her. Heading out, she wished me a pleasant evening and I wished her the same.

As I was walking out, Mrs. Sunshine was pulling out right in front of me in her big SUV. Just as she was backing up there was a young African lady in a beautiful colorful headdress in an economy sized car. There was a near miss. The young African lady lightly blew her horn. Mrs. Sunshine laid on hers and yelled something profane out of the window. It was just the most amazing thing to witness. Was this the same lady that I had just spoken to that was so very pleasant? Was this the same lady whose disposition had changed in a matter of mere minutes? What could have transpired between the checkout and her loading groceries in her car? My impressions of Mrs. Sunshine changed quickly.

The young African lady did not respond negatively at all. She, in fact, smiled. Mrs. Sunshine pulled away in a hurry. The African lady got out of her car and her dress was as beautiful and colorful as her headdress. "How are you," I asked? I told her how absolutely beautiful she looked and asked which country she was from. She smiled the most beautiful smile, showing all her pearly white teeth against smooth beautiful dark chocolate skin. She was from Ghana. My cousin, Sybil, has been in Ghana for nearly two years and my Aunt Hilda has invited me to join her there over Christmas. I think I'll do so.

Just as we were parting an elderly Chinese woman came out of nowhere yelling at the nice young African lady and asking why she had not backed up. What? It felt like all things were conspiring against this young lady. Did we witness the same thing? I interrupted the negative energy with "Isn't that a beautiful outfit?" The elderly woman looked at the young African lady and in a thick Chinese accent said, "Yes, it's beautiful. Turn around." It was like the eldest of us all by many years needed to exert her seniority. OK. The African lady smiled, turning around. The Chinese lady smiled. I smiled. We all parted pleasantly. But what was absolutely for sure was that this young African lady was determined not to let others disrupt her pleasant demeanor. I admired her immensely and thought of her as I drove home. It was a great lesson.


Marion said...

Judith, we need you to be a diplomat for our country at the United Nations. I think you could end all wars with that great attitude of yours!!

This was so refreshing to read and taught me a valuable lesson in looking for the good in every situation. Blessings!

Dave Wheeler said...

Auntie Judith,

You always seem to have the most interesting exchanges with folks you come into contact with. An open mind and an open heart are marvelous things indeed.

"Being a keen observer of everything and an eternal free spirit, life forever teaches me of the importance of being in the world for others"...that is the Judith I have come to "know" over the past many months! Terrific you are for sure

Judith Ellis said...

Now, that's a position I would really enjoy! But I'll have to freshen up on my foreign languages. I'm afraid that I'm losing them, having not spoken them regularly in more than a few years. But I did run into an African American woman in her mid 80's a little while back who had lived in Germany as a dancer for many years in Rite-Aide of all places and we spoke German. How did I come to know that she spoke German? She had a shirt which read in German, "Ask me if I speak German?" I did: "Sprechen Sie Deutsch?" I struggled initially in our 30 minute conversation but caught up after a while. She told me all about her years in German where she danced and taught there for some 50 years. What a fascinating life she had!

Judith Ellis said...

Dave, my friend, thank you for your ever encouraging words. They are appreciated. Know that I value you. And, yes, "an open mind and an open heart are marvelous things indeed." I must say, as you well know also, that it takes work. I am forever looking for the love, even when I fall.

Ryan Freed said...

Always look for the best in the situation! I have learned this over the past couple of years through some unfortunate events that have occured in my family. You need to live in the moment and enjoy life for what it is and what you have.

This women had a firm grasp on the concept. Judith, from reading all your posts it seems you do as well. Being a keen observer allows you to share some very interesting stories.

Judith Ellis said...

Ryan - The most beautiful thing is that this young lady was not looking in the very least. There was just a quiet knowing, a peaceful assurance that came from within. Perhaps it was born of sorrow. But whatever the case may be at such a young age she had already learned the lesson of how to be. I loved her.