Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Our Small World

There is a stranger at the back door.  A casual glance would tag him as American Legion or VFW.  With a cheery frank smile, a crinkle in the corner of his eyes and a bushy white beard, he could be Santa Claus.  But his trucker's hat bears the insignia of the ARRL and so does his windbreaker jacket. He's not Santa, he's a ham.

Ham radio operators were part of the "net" before the net was cool, universal, and ubiquitous.   This ham isn't part of the weather net that operates through our part of the Midwest, but when one of the regulars didn't report into the weather net for a week or so, some of his radio friends looked up this local ham and asked him to check first hand on their long distance friend.  This gentleman went out of his way, made the trip, knocked on the door, and touched some hearts....an uncommon kindness.

Only in America.  In a small town Chinese restaurant, a Cuban immigrant and a local diner strike up a conversation in whatever words are common between Cuban and the self taught Spanish polished by Mexican soap operas on DishTV.  Later, the Cuban gentleman visits the Lutheran church of the local, requesting the "coo-ky, coo-ky" of the pastor.  No, no, he's not looking for snacks; he is searching for Communion.  A chance meeting over a Chinese lunch  leads to a Cuban worker receiving Communion in a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church.... an uncommon conversation.

There are no screaming sirens, no flashing lights. There is no ambulance for this emergency, but it is a trip to the hospital and the quiet is scary enough.  They sit, hand in hand, in the back seat, riding together as they have for decades.  On her lap is her hand bag...and a box of cookies.  Emergencies come and emergencies go, but the habits and small kindnesses of a long marriage are so deeply ingrained that they trump any uncertainty.  Whatever comes next, whatever must be faced, someone she loves will need a cookie, and she will be ready.....uncommon devotion.

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