Friday, December 21, 2012

Food - Wrapped in Tinfoil

It’s the season of giving and, skeptical though you may be, this is more about giving than getting.  I can prove it:
What’s the best thing you ever got?  You probably can’t think if anything right?  Now, what’s the best thing you ever gave?  I bet you can think of at least one, if not a couple things.  See?  It’s about the giving. 
The other night I got probably the best thing I’m gonna get this year. I was home alone, it was your basic dark and stormy night here in the hinterlands and the door bell rang.  I opened the door and there on the porch stood the four little kids from the house up at the other end of the street. They had a big plate of obviously kid made cookies and two little loaves of kid made zucchini and chocolate zucchini bread. They said it was their present to us. They had a pretty good sized shopping bag so it appeared to me that they had gifted their way from their house to ours with something for everyone along the lane. It felt sort of like reverse trick or treat. I was totally surprised! 
I hardly know these kids, we've bought stuff from them for the school fund raisers and such but have not done a whole lot else.  We live on the cul de sac at the end of the street, so our little lane is essentially their playground and (so far) the extent of their world away from home (they are still pretty little).  I suspect that their mom feels safe in letting them roam so long as the roaming is constrained to Arla Court. They ride bikes and trikes down our way, I occasionally help them with a loose chain or a flat tire, and they know it is OK to come up and look at the fish in the pond so long as there is an adult with them. (I live in fear of coming home to find a tot upside down in the pond!)

I made a big production of what a wonderful gift this was and what a total surprise it was, how wonderful the treats were going to be. They proudly proclaimed the merits of the zucchini bread, and the more I praised their efforts the more they giggled and beamed with pride and satisfaction with their accomplishment. I could just imagine the little fingers mashing the M&M’s down into the cookie dough. They were obviously VERY proud and very happy with the great impression their efforts and generosity had made on that old man down at the end of the street. 

Clearly this act of unobligated generosity demonstrates that the real gifts are not the ‘things’ we give or receive but the effects of the giving; the reassurance that humanity, compassion, and a sense of shared presence on our planet is alive and well. I would not be at all surprised if these little kids remember their gifts given on Arla court long after they have forgotten whatever toys pop up under the tree.

I’m trying to figure out what gift I can bestow upon them that will accurately express my gratitude for their generosity.   Maybe Cinnamon Monkey Bread!

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