In one hand I was balancing 2 organic, whole-wheat, plastic wrapped pieshells topped with 4 little white paper envelopes, each containing about a tablespoons worth of spice for the pumpkin pie; nutmeg, cardamon, ginger, and cloves, anchored with a 99-cent biscuit that I couldn’t resist. In the other hand, keys, and a cup of hot miso-mushroom soup. The wind is blowing hard. An employee is collecting carts. A long-haired man sits in a Volvo station wagon, a short demure woman ahead of me is walking with her hands in the pockets of her hoodie, looking down.
“OH, Oh! Oh!” I look up to see another woman pointing frantically and running after her shopping cart, laden with two bags of groceries. It careens down the slope towards a parked car, gaining speed with each passing second. I am helpless with my hands full, the hoodie lady in front of me springs into action, and manages to intercept the cart within a foot of it crashing into the side of the parked car. “Woooo Hoooo!” yells the cart-collecting employee, “that was awesome!” The man in the Volvo is blowing his horn and waving his fists in admiration, the shopper is happy that her groceries are safe and the parked car isn’t damaged. The hoodie-lady-hero is expressionless. I continue walking towards my car. The hoodie lady is behind me now. I keep looking back at her, smiling like a fool, expecting her to show some sign of having just done a good deed. But no. She does this kind of thing everyday, apparently.
This reminds me of another thing that happened this past summer, when my hands were full.
Ivan and Chloe and I had just arrived at the beach. The place was packed; it was a gorgeous, sunny, hot summer day. We walked down the beach a little ways looking for a good spot. A gaggle of teenagers were sunning themselves on large colorful towels and goofing around. I had a chair hooked over one arm, a small cooler in the other hand, a blanket over my shoulder, and a backpack on my back. Suddenly an extra large wave came crashing in, causing the teenagers to jump up and grab their towels and head for higher ground. A sneaker wave, a sleeper wave. I’d heard of them but never witnessed one. I thought to myself, I hope there weren’t any toddlers in the path of that wave, and I quickly scanned the beach for trouble. Sure enough, there was one little kid who had got hit. He was wobbling from the force of it, and another was about to strike. I pointed and yelled “that kid needs help!”. Sure enough the next wave pulled him in and the boys grandfather was on the move, slowly hobbling towards the surf. Before I could ditch my stuff and jump in, a hero appeared from my left, a deeply tanned, muscular, hispanic young man, who ran like a machine, like the bionic man, making a bee-line for that kid, and he didn’t slow down when he hit the water. It took a few breathless moments for him to locate the kid who was being tumbled and pulled under. Finally he pulled him out and brought him to the blanket of his grateful grandparents.
He was OK, just a bit shook up and very wet. Everybody went back to enjoying the day. Whew. It took a while for my heart to return to it’s normal pace after that. Half an hour later I saw the hero again and I went up to him and told him he was awesome and he was my hero for the day, the week, the year. The end.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!