Sunday: After church, I timed my trip to the bathroom just right so the “Where will we go for lunch?” decision was made without anyone trying to give me that job. The decision: Flying Fish, which had flashed through my mind anyway. The catfish was everything you’d want catfish to be. The conversation was the same — warm, satisfying and crispy around the edges. The been-here-for-years older folks and the just-visiting younger folks discovered people and places we have in common.
Monday: Twelve years ago, someone at Baptist Medical Center looked at the bleak little strip of concrete between the parking lot and the buildings, envisioned a prayer garden, and made it real. She thought patients and visitors and employees needed a touch of beauty, a zone of hope, on those passages between the hospital and the world. I wrote a story about her, and I never visit anyone at that hospital without remembering that and, often, pausing in that garden, usually near the white noise of the fountain. Monday I had a checkup there, and that garden gave me a place to pause before going to work. Glad it’s there. Glad I know its backstory, and could call that visionary person, long since moved on from that job, and tell her, in essence, “Well done.”
Tuesday: Evening road trip! Thanks to the University of Central Arkansas for having writer and editor Dinty W. Moore to campus for a few days, and for opening his evening reading to the public.
Wednesday: The way some people notice the ones who have gone quiet in a room and check in with them, even (or especially) when the room is the campfire glow of a computer screen and the folks in the circle, across three time zones, have mostly not met each other.
Thursday: Coworkers who bake. And who decide the cake might be a little dry and whip up some icing for it, but leave the icing in a separate container, to offer a choice.
Friday: Thanks to “Grace” (might or might not be her real name) in California, the third human being I spoke to at the phone company that’s been charging me for service I gave up four months ago. She was personable without being icky; she knew how to fix it; and when I said I wasn’t happy about one proposal, she kept looking until she found, somewhere in somebody’s notes, the detail needed for resolution. Well done, Grace.
Saturday: Ambient noise through an open window. Church bells chiming (wedding?). Sirens from the firehouse three blocks away (sometimes a nuisance, but comfortingly close if something happens here). Friends parting in the parking lot. Birds conversing. A distant little dog barking. Wheels stopping at the red lights. Even the guy who is, possibly literally, a raving lunatic. In other words, neighborhood.
Runners-up: The smell of gingersnaps tumbling from bag to cookie jar. News that a bill will actually be a refund. Buying school supplies and scoring some bargains. A 99-cent ice cream cone for dinner on a hot day. A fish tank of monarch chrysalises at work. Thyme-scented disinfecting wipes. That normally polite (measured? reserved?) friend who prodded (nudged? gigged?) me write where I needed it. (Hm. Apparently my hands intended that typo. Let it stand.)