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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Goodbye tomatoes!

Grocery shopping is mundane and routine, wouldn't you agree? I find I roam through the aisles in the same route as I do each week. I walk by, barely acknowledging the other shoppers. Yet we are all in the same mission: methodically filling our carts and checking off our grocery lists, either manually or electronically.
However, a few weeks ago, something different happened at the produce section.  There I was, surveying the bananas,trying to find a bunch that didn't have many bruises. Suddenly, a little four year old girl with brunette hair appeared by my side. Her eyes lit up as she scanned the bananas, humming a whimsical tune. Soon, she scampered off.  I turned around and saw her mother wasn't far from her. Mom was standing next the the tomato display. My eyes focused on the little girl, who was now babbling to the tomato stack. Then, her mother called her name, telling her it was time to go. With a tiny wave, she sang, "Goodbye tomatoes!"
I smiled, tickled by how cute and sweet the little girl's words were. They were so random, yet so refreshing. Here was a young child roaming through the market and fascinated by everything. She absorbed all that was around her. Her small voice stuck in my mind as I was reminded that we take so much for granted and forget the wonder of the little things.
As a lark, I turned around and looked at the bananas again. Instead of examining them critically for blemishes, I marveled at their sunny, summery yellow hues. Now this grocery trip was not boring--it presented an amusing moment of produce salutation.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Hardly knew you

Full disclosure--I'm a news junkie. When I turn on the television, I will invariably change it to a news channel. I cannot walk pass a newspaper without taking a peek at the headlines. Now, with my Smartphone, I can constantly keep up to date with all varieties of news. It's so neatly arranged in categories, such as Top Stories, Entertainment and Sports.
Typically, the Sports section I breeze right through, be it television, newspapers or Smart Phone. It's not because I've never been a sports fan. Growing up in Southern California, I was a supporter of the Los Angeles Dodgers.   Back in that day, my parents were subscribers to the team's newspaper Dodger Blue. Within these pages, I could keep up with all the players, such as Steve Sax, FernandoValenzula and Mike Scioscia. 
However, after we moved to Las Vegas and later on to Idaho, I slowly lost touch with this team. Nowadays, if I see a game with the LA Dodgers, I am painfully reminded that I don't know any of the players and the ones I did know are now coaches, such as Rick Honeycutt and Steve Yeager.
Now back a week ago, a Sports headline on my SmartPhone caught my eye before I swept to the next topic. The cropped headline read: "Tony Gwynn, Hall of Famer..."
I remembered that name. It used to instill fear in me, a Dodger fans, when Vin Scully (or Jerry Doggett or Ross Porter) announced this powerhouse player was up at bat for the opposing team , the San Diego Padres.  As I clicked on the link, I thought "I haven't seen his name in the news recently, so this may not be good..."
Sadly enough, the article was about his untimely and tragic death from cancer.
As I read the article, I was impressed by the paragraph that told he took videos of himself at batting practice and had his wife video tape his televised games. He used these footage to study and observe ways of improving his batting skills.
I became intrigued and started searching other articles about Tony Gwynn. No longer did I see him as a baseball player threatening the Dodger's winning streak.  I found many writers giving personal stories about him, not just a tremendous player but a caring and genuine person.
I was saddened that I didn't learn too much about him until after he passed away. Then, I saw this as an opportunity: instead of breezing by the Sports section, I could start being a little more observant of the articles. There could be a gem of a person hidden in the columns.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

9 AM

The early morning sun rays spilled through Melissa's kitchen window. As she scooped the ground coffee into the coffee maker, she smiled to herself, remembering the events of last night. Going to the new restaurant was a spur of the moment thing. She had been a fan of fate and last night's episode only solidified her beliefs. She credited herself for the clever way she gave Vincent her phone number. She replayed their conversation in her mind. She pictured his face, his strong jaw and kind eyes. It was so easy to talk to him, conversations sprouted and flourished effortlessly between them.
She looked at the clock and saw the time was 6:15 am. She was surprised she had woken up so soon for a weekend. When she retired to bed last night, her stomach had a tickling feeling that was excitement and it hadn't stopped.
Her calico cat  was sunning himself on the window sill. She scratched behind his ear and sighed. "Well, Banjo, now we wait for him to call. Too bad I didn't get his number!" The cat looked at her, squinting his amber eyes and then went back to napping.
The coffee was ready and Melissa poured it into the cream prepared cup. As she stirred the coffee into a light beige, she had a jarring thought. What if he didn't call? What if he changed his mind?
She wished she could switch off the maze of questions rolling through her mind. She sank into the couch, staring at her cell phone lying on the coffee table. She watched the phone intently, willing it to ring.
Meanwhile, at this same time across town, Vincent was lying awake in his bed. His voice mail contained a frustrated co-worker's message on how could he be so insensitive by cutting the blind date short that she had so carefully arranged. Before he thought that she had sound judgement, but after seeing who she set him up with he now had his doubts. His set up date was nice enough, but not someone he would consider as a soul mate.  Sure, it may seem rude right now that he stopped the date abruptly, but wouldn't it be cruel to string her along?  He would talk with his co-worker when he returned from vacation, she should come around. If not, so be it--anyway, she was close to retirement.
However, the woman that was at the next table and who came over after his blind date stormed out, she was the complete package--beautiful, smart and humorous.  He still couldn't believe she gave him her number! He never considered himself that attractive, but he was so glad she did!  When he came home last night, he entered her phone number in his phone, in his address book and kept the original scrap of paper with her phone number on it in his wallet. He didn't want to misplace it.
Looking at his alarm clock by his bed, he realized it was much too early to call her. He decided to call her at an appropriate hour, say 9am. He turned on the television and stared blankly at the infomercial, passing the time until 9am.
At 8:59am, Melissa had already went through a myriad of emotions--from giddy anticipation (he'll call any second!!) to irrational worry (what if he hates cats?!). To work out her nervous energy, she rose to her feet, about to head to the kitchen to refill her coffee cup.
Then her cell phone rang.
She stood frozen, watching her phone vibrate slightly on the coffee table. She literally thought her heart stood still, just like she had heard in every love song growing up.
Quickly, she scooped up the phone and answered it, as calmly and sweetly as she could. She was amazed even with all of the oxygen leaving her brain, she could utter a Hello.
"Good morning, Melissa I hope I'm not disturbing you." Vincent greeted. She couldn't believe how considerate he was, she almost swooned!
"Not at all! How are you?" she asked, hoping her beaming smile could be heard. Excitement coursed through her limbs and she walked to the kitchen to obtain a refill of her coffee.
"I'm good, how are you?"
"Very well," she breathed, pouring a steady stream of piping hot liquid into her sitting cup.
"I was wondering if you would like to go out for coffee this morning?" Vincent hoped his voice wouldn't betray his nervousness.
Melissa stopped the coffee cup before it reached her lips.
 "That would great!" she agreed enthusiastically, tossing the contents into the sink. Banjo squealed in protest and scurried away from the window perch.
"Was that a cat?" he asked.
"Yes," she quietly answered, biting her bottom lip.
"My motto has always been no home is complete without a cat."
Then and there, she made up her mind--she had found the perfect man.