It happens every January. We're inundated with end-of-year gloom and doom statistics — murders, highway tragedies, government gridlock, cultural hate crimes, the hopelessness of world conflicts, etc. Just when I was considering a radical New Year's resolution to boycott newspapers and evening news broadcasts, my friend Jean called.
She's 85, active, and a life-long Maryland resident. She recently came to an abrupt halt when driving by a large dumpster. A wrought iron table and two chairs were being placed alongside the dumpster by a woman in a long flowing dress, her hair covered by a scarf.
"That would be perfect for my granddaughter's apartment," Jean said, admiring the furniture. "She lives in Pennsylvania."
"You're welcome to take them," the woman offered.
"Thank you, but they won't fit in my car."
The woman and her teen-aged daughter loaded the chairs and table (with a heavy glass top,) into their own SUV and followed Jean the four miles to her home. After the items were placed on the car port, Jean tried, repeatedly to pay the woman for her effort. Each time, the money was refused. Finally, my friend folded the bills and slipped them into the daughter's jacket pocket.
Once again, the mother returned the money saying, "Our culture does not permit us to accept anything from an older person. You are like our grandmother."
It was an insignificant incident, but a noteworthy and optimistic story nonetheless. Maybe, the first of many in this new year.
Peggy Rowe, Perry Hall