Connections


My husband is a very good human. He is kind, thoughtful, gentle. Pretty much everyone likes him.

Paul was a shy and quiet child, but grew into himself as an adult. He’s a constant surprise to old friends who knew him way back in High School, because he’s now the most social one of all of us.

Now that he is an outgoing, confident adult (and a successful and well respected psychologist), he has begun to articulate what it is that makes him reach out to strangers.

“It’s all about the connections,” he tells me. “Life is about making connections with other human beings.”

I know that he’s right, but I am not always as open or as non-judgmental as he is. Still, I try to be open. I try to greet people with a smile and a welcome.

Today that attitude paid off for me, as I made a lovely connection in the most unexpected of ways.

I was shopping at my favorite guilty secret bargain store, Ocean State Job Lot. I went in for a few small items, but as usual, I was pulled in by the seed packets, the bubble wands and the plants. I was on my way home from a visit to my mother, and was thinking a lot about my childhood. I was feeling a little emotional as I went into the store.

I picked up everything I needed (or could justify to myself), including a pot of dianthus and one of lupine. I love both of these perennials, and mine are in need of reinforcements. So I plopped them into my cart and continued through the store.

When I got to the checkout, there was a bit of a line. I waited my turn, noticing the young man behind me who was talking on his phone with a work colleague.

I’ll be honest. I noticed him first, in my creepy old grandmother way, because he was very good looking. Southeast Asian, I thought, perhaps from Vietnam or Cambodia. Tall, slim, dark haired, with wide, light brown eyes that contrasted with his darker skin.

He had a tattoo on one wrist, and a sharp spike piercing his lower lip.

Cute. Interesting.

My turn came at the register, and the young cashier rang up all of my many, many items. She got the skin cream, the candy, the seeds, the olive oil, the potting soil and the potted dianthus.

Then she turned to the lupine. She spun the planter, and frowned. There was no price tag.

“What is this?”, she asked. When I answered with the name of the flower, she shook her head. She was looking at her list of items for sale, and the plants were not labelled by name. They were labelled by size.

“It’s a perennial” I said, looking over her shoulder. “But I don’t know if its a quart or a 6 1/2″ pot.” This seemed like a meaningless comparison to me. Quart? Versus inches? What?

The cashier was confused, so she called her manager. He had no more idea of what to think than we did. We all looked at each other blankly.

That’s when the man behind me leaned forward.

“This is a 6 1/2 in pot. It should be this price.” He reached forward to tap the page that we were all looking at.

I was delighted. What could have taken ten minutes had been reduced to one small, simple comment.

“Thank you so much!” I said with a smile. A real smile. Not a ‘I should be friendly’ smile.

He smiled back.

“Well, I work in a garden center,” he said.

As my transaction was finishing, I thanked him again, then told him that I wished I had more time to ask him for advice, because my gardening dreams are always more successful than my gardening realities. We both laughed, I thanked him again, and headed out to my car.

As I was putting my toys, makeup, and food into my car, the same man came out of the store and headed my way.

Wouldn’t you know that the universe had arranged for us to park next to each other?

The man held out his phone to me. “This is my greenhouse,” he said with pleasure. I looked at the image of the wide, bright, beautiful array of plants. What struck me was his pride in his work.

“It’s gorgeous!” I said with all sincerity.

We started to chat about his work, and I asked where it was located. It turns out that he is one of many growers at a garden center that I have known my whole life.

“My parents always got their plants from your garden center!” I told him with surprised pleasure. “I love it there!”

The young man smiled and nodded at the compliment. “It’s beautiful. We grow so much there, all year!”

Then he opened his trunk.

“This is what I grow,” he said with pride. He beckoned me over and we looked into the trunk of his car. Tomatoes, peppers, squash and four beautiful flower plants.

We talked for a few more minutes. I asked him for advice on how to get my lupines to reseed. He talked about the personalities and needs of different plants, and advised me to get to know each one.

And then he reached into his trunk and pulled out one of his beautiful young plants.

“For you,” he said, “If you want this sunflower.”

I tried to refuse, but only weakly. “Oh, I can’t take that from you!”

“I want you to have it,” he said. “This was a nice meeting.”

I took the sunflower baby, and I was filled with such happiness.

“You have made my day,” I said to him. “Thank you so very much!”

“Thank you!” he answered. “Good bye!”

We didn’t exchange names. We’ll never run into each other again. But just by chance, we were able to connect to another human being who shared our love of plants and our desire to reach out and just be pleasant to each other.

Life in the Woods


When my family moved out here, into the woods, we were pretty excited about connecting with nature. We had always lived in either a city or suburb.

Now here we were, moving out to the woods. Way out into the woods. When we first moved in, the local phone number was only 4 digits.

The roads were dirt. There were no streetlights or sidewalks.

Life was pretty….country. Yep. Pretty countryish.

Now that I’ve lived here for just shy of three decades, you’d think I would have come to terms with the rural nature.

Only I haven’t.

I mean, I am delighted when I see a few deer crossing the street. I love seeing the local foxes as they play in the fields. I love watching the hawks, and the ducks and the rare but exciting bald eagle as they fly over us.

But you know what?

I’m still a big woos when it comes to strange movements in the woods.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. Last night, at right about 1 AM, we woke up because both of our super-domesticated-not-at-all-wild dogs were whimpering and whining. They wanted to go out.

It was my turn to get up, so I did.

I trudged into the dining room, cell phone light in hand, and opened the slider door. Both of my canine fools went hurtling out into the night, full on baying like bloodhounds.

They raced along the fence in our yard, big noses pointed into the woods.

I stood on the deck, thinking, “What? What’s out there?????”

Now the truth is that we live in central Massachusetts. The scariest thing in our forest is most likely a big fat raccoon.

Still, my tiny brain got all excited by the dogs’ reactions. Bears? Bobcat? Moose? I wasn’t sure, but my heart was definitely racing.

I went back to bed, thinking to myself, “Wow, we really do live out in the wilderness! It could be anything out there!”

I went to sleep thinking about how fabulous it is to live out in the wilderness.

Yay, me. Such a pioneer woman!

Then I woke up.

To the sound of the dogs, screaming and going insane over the sounds in the back woods. I went out onto the deck and peered into the woods.

Nothing.

After two cups of coffee, a shower and a perusal of the news, the dogs were still hysterically barking into the woods.

I went back onto the deck. “Woods,” I told myself. “Nice, clean woods. Yay.”

Two hours went by. I gave the kids breakfast, read a book, cleaned up the table and got out trains and tracks.

The dogs were still running from the front fence to the back deck to the sofa and back again. Baying and moaning and barking and yowling the whole time.

Oh, hoorah. Life in the godforsaken, stupid, crappy woods.

After another hour of this insanity, I realized that the neighbor dogs were barking, too.

“A bear?”, I thought to myself. “Maybe there’s a bear family on their way here.”

I got very excited. I perched on the deck, camera in hand. I waited. The dogs raced and barked and yowled.

I waited some more.

After a while, I saw a chipmunk break free from the stone wall around my flower bed. He ran into the woods.

The dogs acted like they’d uncovered a T Rex.

Seriously?

I moved out to the woods, to a place where you can’t get phone reception, where the closest grocery store is a half hour away, all because the dogs can’t resist a freakin’ CHIPMUNK?

Clearly, I was not cut out to be a country girl.

“Did you hear that? Did you smell that? What IS that????”

Do the Right Thing


Yup

So here’s my question: how do you really know what is the “right thing”? How can you be sure?

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where “the right thing” feels obvious to us. Help someone we love. Give to someone in need. Reach out to somebody who seems alone.

It seems so clear, doesn’t it?

But here’s the problem: we can never really know what other people are thinking. Even people we’ve known their entire lives. Even people we consider to be our closest, most trusted, most loved allies.

Even then, we can sometimes take an action that feels so clearly “good” to us, but which is met with anger, resentment and dismay.

What do we do then?

For me, having done something wrong out of a desire to do something right, I am at a complete loss. How do you apologize for what you felt, deeply and honestly, was a giving action? How do you get past the rage and resentment to explain what it was that you intended?

I don’t know.

What I do know, what I have come to believe, is that I have to trust my own intentions. I have to trust my knowledge about myself and about those around me.

Someone way smarter than me told me recently, “We can’t control how our messages are received. We can only control how they are sent.”

“Do the right thing.”

Sure. Sounds easy.

Only its actually the hardest thing there is.

The BAD PLASTIC Awards


Ok, fine. I am not really one of those “awards show” people. I mean, I haven’t ever seen all the movies nominated for Best Picture. I don’t know most of the Emmy nominees.

And as for the Grammys? Puh. Leeze. I am far too cool and hip and groovy to follow those pop stars.

But I suddenly find myself with the overwhelming desire to create a new category of award winners.

Because I spend WAY too much of my life ordering stuff online, and because I am also a dedicated environmentalist, I find myself enraged at plastic.

Plastic…plastic….plastic wrapped plastic…..

Really.

I go to my local grocery store once a week with my canvas bags. I put my veggies in mesh bags instead of plastic. I carefully choose milk and juice in cardboard cartons, detergents in biodegradable packages, and snacks in cardboard.

I use compostable trash bags, bamboo sandwich bags and metal water bottles that I fill myself.

I am a good doobie. I love this earth! I don’t want to kill her or her gorgeous oceans!

I am VERY careful about plastic.

Until I order on Amazon.

Then I lose my teeny tiny little mind. Because no matter what I buy, it comes in plastic.

No. Matter. What. It. Is.

For example, I was shopping for my grandchildren just before Easter. I saw cute little plastic eggs filled with pastel playdough. I decided to order them in spite of the plastic, thinking that I’d be able to reuse the eggs for years.

Then they arrived.

Four cute little plastic eggs. Each one wrapped in five or six layers of plastic shrink wrap, then carefully vacuum sealed within a hard plastic case.

Seriously?

It was FREAKIN’ PLAYDOUGH! It wasn’t going to rot. Or mold. Or degrade. The four ounces of pink and blue goop came enclosed in THREE layers of plastic.

Three layers of plastic that will remain intact for about 10 bazillion years.

Holy stupidity, humans.

So.

Here I am. I am proposing a group endeavor. I’d like everyone who is reading this to nominate some company or item for our “BAD PLASTICS” Award.

I nominate the Playdough Easter eggs, but I could just as easily have brought up the plastic measuring spoons that came wrapped in plastic, the potting soil (aka, “dirt’) that came wrapped in plastic, or the eco friendly bamboo toilet paper that came wrapped in (you guessed it) plastic.

What have you got, fellow environmentalists? Let’s start our own “Awards Show”.

Pulling Back the Veil


Grampa with my youngest on his first birthday.


Sometimes I think I’m a tiny bit psychic. I might suddenly think about one of my kids and have that child text me right then. I sometimes know what song is coming next. I’ve had dreams about things that actually happened while I was sleeping.

I’ve had a few experiences where someone who had recently died came to me in a vivid dream to say “Please pass on a message to my family. I’m fine and I don’t want them to be upset!”

Still. I am no true psychic.

I just wish that I was!

I wish that I could understand messages from those who have passed on into the next reality.

Because sometimes I can feel my Dad.

Sometimes, like right now, I KNOW that he’s here. I feel his warmth, I hear his breath. He’s talking, but I can’t understand him.

There is veil between our worlds. It’s so thin that it seems beyond ridiculous that I can’t just pull it aside and ask, “What’s up, Dad? What are you telling me?”

He comes when I’m sad. When I’m confused. He comes at times when I question my own self worth, and second guess every single thing I’ve done or said in the past.

He comes then. And sometimes I am able to see him shaking his head, and smiling just a little. I see his brown eyes and the shape of his cheek. I see/feel/remember the smell of him as he held me to his chest. Old Spice, warm sweat, Dad. And I KNOW that he’s here. Sometimes I can make out the general shape of his thoughts, “I love you. I miss you. I see you with those kids. I’m proud of you.”

Sometimes I know that I’m just making it up, that I hear what I want to hear.

But.

Right this very minute, as I sit in my glider in my living room, looking out at the cool grey afternoon, I feel him so insistently beside me. He wants to me know something, to understand or to do something, but I can’t hear him. I can’t see him through that veil of smoke that drifts between us.

I’ll keep trying. I’ll keep myself open and try to hear what it is that he is telling me. I feel his love, and his support. I feel his gentle humor. Whatever it is that Dad is telling me right now, it is something that will comfort me. Of that I am sure.

I just need to be a better interpreter of the next world. I need to learn how to pull that curtain aside, if only for a minute.

Grounded


Sometimes the world is just a big pile of quicksand. You think you are on solid ground, and suddenly everything liquifies. Your footing shifts, your balance overturns, you find yourself sinking into that pit of quicksand.

I saw a movie once, when I was about ten. A man was chasing someone, and he stepped into quicksand. I can still picture it; the black and white image of the hero, slowly sinking into the sand that silently came up to claim him.

I don’t remember if the hero ever escaped. I only remember how horrified I was at the idea of sinking, sinking, sinking into death.

Now that I’m a grown assed adult, I feel like I have more secure footing. I don’t often fear the quicksand.

Why?

Because now I know what it is to be “grounded”. I know that I have roots that go deep deep deep into those parts of life that give us a sense of being anchored.

I have three adult children who love me, love my husband and truly love each other. What a secure anchor.

I have two beautiful grandchildren who love and depend on their parents. Who trust the love and support of those parents.

And who love and trust me almost as much.

What a truly deep and secure anchor.

I have siblings who love me and support me, even when we get on each others’ last nerve. And I have a Mom who tells me she loves me every time we see each other. And who shares stories of things I’ve done that have made her proud.

I am anchored.

I am secure.

I am married to my first true love. We met in (ahem) seventh grade, and fell in love by listening to each other’s stories and struggles. He’s been by my side every step of the way, through college, and grad school and infertility and babies and kids and teens and the empty nest.

He is “Papa!” to our best beloved grand kids.

I am grounded.

I am grounded because now, at last, after all this time….now I trust myself. I must be doing a pretty good job, because so many people I admire and love have told me so.

I am grounded.

In my garden, where I look at trees I planted two decades ago. When I look at the daffodils still blooming after all these many years.When I look at the new little walk that I crafted two years ago, and at the baby lilacs that line it’s way.

I am grounded.

My feet are firmly on this earth. My heart is firmly held by my love for those who still walk here. My soul feels the roots of the plants I’ve put in, reaching into the very heart of my soil to find life.

I feel so grounded now.

Nothing can knock me off my secure footing now.

Thank you, Science!


Boo!

I’m sure that by now you’ve seen the photo of the giant, massive, horrifying, worse-than-deadly black hole in deep space. The monster lurks out there, absorbing all light, all life, every tiny speck of matter that falls into it’s deadly, crushing maw of annihilation.

Holy petrifying.

Our entire solar system would be sucked into its infinite emptiness if it somehow came too close.

Gulp. And gulp again.

Of course, this terrifying demon is pretty far away.

As in 500 million trillion km away.

Still.

The very idea of being sucked into non-existence, into pure nothingness, is a fairly scary proposition.

And that is why I have come here today to say “Thank you, science.”

I figure that with this new knowledge, there will never again be a reason for me to worry about anything. Ever.

I mean, think about it.

Sometimes I get myself into a panic about things. For instance, sometimes I see my reflection in the mirror and realize that I look like a saggy gray bag of wet cement. It can be depressing.

But from now on, I can simply tell myself, “At least my molecules aren’t being obliterated in a giant black hole.”

You see what I mean?

“Oh, shit. Trump may get us into a war with Iran.”

If the black hole doesn’t get us first.

“This house is getting old, and we can’t afford the upgrades and repairs that it really needs.”

Who cares? Someday it will fall into a black hole of death anyway.

“This weather is just terrible! More snow! More ice! I can’t take it!”

But we aren’t falling into the black hole yet.

“I haven’t exercised in months.”

Black hole.

“I really shouldn’t eat this bowl of chocolate ice cream.”

Black hole.

Nothing to worry about. Nothing I do or don’t do in the remaining years of my life could possibly be as bad as being sucked into a black hole.

Think about that the next time you wake up at 3 AM worried about making your next car payment.

Trust


Oh, my.

I don’t remember exactly what it was that I hoped my grandchildren would ask of me. I don’t clearly recall what dreams I had back in the days when my teaching colleagues used to call me “NonniWannabe”. I know that I wanted my grandchildren to love and trust me. But I’m not sure that I had a really clear idea of exactly what I wanted the kids to want from me.

Do you know what I mean?

But I think that today showed me exactly what I’d hoped for.

It was a typical spring morning in New England. We live far from the coast, so the mornings here are still cold. Our son-in-law arrived, as usual, with his two kids in his arms. They came into the house dressed for the sixty degree day that was forecast, but the morning was frosty.

The kids came in and sat down for breakfast. I had put out fruit, as usual, but also made nice warm toast. I offered oatmeal or waffles. Both kid wanted pineapple, clementines, milk, and nice cold grapes. By the end of the meal, our Ellie was shivering.

“Snuggle me, Nonni,!” she asked. “I’m freezing!”

I held my girl, wrapped her in a blanket, snuggled her as she had asked.

“I’m so cold!,” she told me. “I need your warm snuggles.”

My heart started to melt. I had intended to vacuum the floors, but I was forced to sit still and hold my sweet little girl in my arms. Her french braid tickled my chin, and her bony little bottom wriggled on my leg. It was heaven.

As we finished our breakfast, I told the kids that I had some leftover chicken to give them at lunchtime.

“No thanks,” said Ellie. “I want some nice hot soup for lunch.”

I blinked. I answered honestly, “Honey, I don’t have any soup ready.”

She turned her head and gazed up at me with her deep brown eyes. She put one hand on my cheek.

“Nonni,” she said sweetly, “Just check your ingredients. I bet you can make soup!”

Holy trusting child.

She was cold. She had the shivers. She was trusting me to warm her with my loving arms, but she was also telling me that she was completely confident that this old woman could whip up some homemade soup in no time.

Naturally, I pulled out some frozen chicken stock, added some garlic, onions, salt, pepper and bay leaf, and let it all simmer. Of course, without a doubt, Johnny and I pulled apart last night’s chicken and added it to the pot. We let it simmer while we played all morning, and then I cooked up some ditalini and added frozen peas to bring down the temperature.

I served it to the kids, who were starved after an hour outside playing in the cold, wet yard.

“Oh, yum,” said Ellie. She slurped up a big spoonful of hot broth, and smiled at me. “See? I knew you had some soup around.”

And now I know.

THIS is what I wanted my grandchildren to think about me. I wanted them to think, “Nonni will keep me warm. Nonni will be able to cook up the best food to keep me healthy and warm and safe.”

I wasn’t even sure what I wanted them to think, but you know what?

THIS is it.

It’s about soup.

Other Grandmoms, do you get it?

“She Who Sleeps With Dogs…..”


It took a long time for my husband and I to get a dog. When we first married, we had cats.

After that, we had kids.

Really, really allergic kids.

So a bunch of years went by with no furry little pals.

But then the kids got older, were able to manage their own inhalers and nose sprays, and we finally broke down and got a big old dog. We loved him with our whole hearts……but we never let him on the bed.

Sure, you let me on the couch, but what about the bed?

After a while, we got another dog. Still no bed snuggles.

And all was well.

Until both of our beloved old pups moved across that famous rainbow bridge and all three kids had the audacity to grow up.

At that point, the only one who begged to hug us at bedtime was our puppy, Lennie. Paul tried to be strong, and to hold onto his “no dogs on the bed” rule, but I was weak.

I mean, picture this. It’s a cold winter night, and you’re in your jammies, snuggled under your warm, soft blankies. You pick up your book, but you are suddenly distracted by a soft whine. You look to your left, and you are met with the big brown begging eyes of your puppy. He holds your gaze for a second, then he shivers dramatically, from the tip of his wet black nose to the end of his whippy golden tail.

Can you really say no to this face???

Come. On.

You have no choice.

No. Choice.

You pull back the blanket and make the international “come-here-doggy” kissy noise. Your sweet pup jumps up on the bed, licks your cheek and gives a deep, heart felt sigh. He falls asleep against your ribs, reminding you of your babies in ways that make you melt.

And there you are.

Suddenly you find yourself a co-sleeper with a mutt. Even though you are a happily married woman.

Cognitively, you know that this is ridiculous. There could be dirt. Fur. Ticks and deadly diseases.

But he’s so soft.

Time goes by, and that pup stays put every damn night. In fact, he starts to feel like he’s in control of who gets to use the pillow.

But it’s OK.

Mostly.

And then, for reasons that escape you now, reasons that seem to be tied to “save the poor little abandoned baby” and “wouldn’t your little Lennie love to have a playmate?”, you find yourself the happy Mommy of a whole new puppy.

A floppy, squishy, slinky black oil slick of a basset hound/lab mix. A happy bundle of love who instinctively understands that he is supposed to sleep right under your arm, with his long nose resting on your face.

Sigh.

Months go by. Months in which you question your sanity. Months in which sleep eludes you because there’s a dog butt on your left ankle and a dog head on your throat.

At last, though, the universe shows you that your current sleep situation has an important use after all.

You go to Florida with your sister and in spite of your best efforts, you burn to a crisp. You come home peeling like a banana. Molting like a snake. You leave shreds of crispy epidermis behind you wherever you go.

And. You. Itch.

No matter how much Aveeno, Cocoa Butter, Gold Bond, Vaseline you smooth onto your skin, you itch all night long.

And that’s when you finally discover the gift that you’ve been given by sleeping with two big dogs.

It happened to me last night. We’d been out for most of the day and well into the night. We finally got home after midnight, and the dogs were filled with the need to cuddle right up against us.

So I fell asleep with my big soft basset boy curled into my back. And I woke up thirty minutes later with every millimeter of my back itching. I started to reach back to scratch what I could reach, but then I realized that Bentley’s long sharp claws were resting against my back.

“Thank you, God,” I whispered. Then I proceeded to wiggle, wriggle and slither along those claws, finding the relief that has escaped me for the past week.

An hour later, I woke up again, itching all over my back. And again, Bentley’s perfect scratching post claws were right there. I wiggled and wriggled some more, while Bentley simply snored.

This went on all night.

I itched, I wriggled, he scratched. It was the most heavenly relief.

So you see?

She who lies down with dogs might wake up with fleas, but at least she’ll get some relief from the desire to peel off all of her own skin.

I knew I was doing the right thing when I invited Lennie under the covers!

New Friends


So you probably know that I’ve been on vacation with my younger sister. We just spent a week in St. Pete Beach, Florida.

It was perfect.

I know, I know. Gag me and all that.

But seriously. It was about 80 degrees and perfectly sunny EVERY DAY. We ate fresh seafood. We walked on the beach every morning. We collected (I am not kidding) about 600 perfect seashells. We swam and floated and splashed in the Gulf of Mexico for hours.

And one of the best parts for me was meeting so many friendly and welcoming people. I met some new people, unknown to either my sister or myself. They were interesting, funny, and fun to talk with.

I also had the pleasure of meeting some people that my sister has known for decades. That was very cool, because at long last I had faces to match to so many of her stories. And I was instantly welcomed into the “family” of her long time buddies.

So special. Such a blessing.

And I mean that. Really and truly! My circle has grown this week, and that is always a wonderful development.

But you know what?

The best interaction that I had all week was with a bird.

We were walking along the shore one evening, gathering shells and watching the sun set. We came to a wooden pier, stretching into the gulf.

As we looked out toward the setting sun, I noticed a beautiful egret fishing on the rocks.

Perfection. Fishing on the rocks along the Gulf of Mexico.

I walked toward her, snapping picture after picture to capture her perfect white feathers in the light of the setting sun.

And then I noticed, further along, a beautiful heron. A great blue heron, standing on the railing of the pier. He was scanning the water below him, just as intent on catching his dinner as the egret was.

I slowly walked toward him, fully expecting him to take flight when I got too close.

But to my amazement, instead of flying off, he turned his head to watch my approach.

“Approach. But do it carefully.”

He was absolutely calm, watching me with his bright yellow eyes. As I held up my phone and started to take pictures, I swear that he lifted his head and posed.

He was regal. He was the one in charge.

He seemed, in a strange way, to be watching me as closely as I was watching him.

I could hardly breathe. I have never been so close to a heron! I have never been so close to a large bird.

He was gorgeous.

I kept moving forward, my phone help up in front of my eye.

The heron watched, but never gave the slightest sign of unease. His feet stayed steady on the post beneath him. His feathers were smooth, gray, supremely unruffled.

I took one picture after another.

Slowly, I moved past my royal subject. Now the sun’s setting light held him in perfect glowing relief. I took several more shots, unable to believe my luck.

And I’m not kidding. He turned his head, showing himself in perfect profile.

“Be sure to capture my best side.”

It was starting to feel a little bit surreal, standing so close to such an amazing bird, watching him in all of his elegant glory. Watching him as he watched me.

Finally I had taken as many photos as I thought I might need. I put my phone in my pocket.

For some reason that I don’t fully understand, I placed my right hand on my chest, and gave a tiny bow.

‘Thank you, sir,” I said.

And you know what he did?

I’m not kidding.

He dipped that magnificent head toward me, acknowledging my thanks and recognizing his own superiority.

I will forever be in awe of that moment.