Reading Bug ~ Act of Kindness #10

I came across this Reading Corner at the airport, of all places.

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Intrigued, I wanted to inspect the titles and savour this joyful moment of discovering such a corner in an airport. First, however, I wanted to take a photo to prove I wasn’t hallucinating.

But as I lifted my camera, a little poppet galloped towards the shelves, shrieking, “Book! Book!”

I paused. A Reading Corner in a public space with books and a poppet excited by books?

Life had more surprises for me. The father grabbed the poppet. “Meimei, wait. Let the auntie take her photo first.”

It really was too much. I snapped the photo, thanked the father, waved at the poppet and retreated.

Inspecting book titles can wait. Celebrating this little vignette cannot. I am warmed by a father’s kind understanding and gracious patience, and a tiny child’s enthusiasm for books. And by the use of potential retail space for encouraging reading.

There is hope yet.

Clothes Maketh The Man

Son: What’s a costume?

Dad: An outfit we wear when we pretend to be somebody else.

Son: Like at Halloween?

Dad: Yes.

Son: Like Superman?

Dad: Yes.

Son: Which is his costume? The cape clothes or the ordinary clothes?

Dad: The cape clothes. He only wears that when he needs to rescue somebody. The rest of the time he’s in ordinary clothes, like us.

Son: But doesn’t he wear cape clothes all the time? Cos when he changes, he doesn’t have a bag. So they must be under the ordinary clothes.

Dad: Okaa-aay. You have a point.

Son: So his ordinary clothes are his costume, right? To hide the fact he’s Superman? He’s pretending to be ordinary?

Dad: Well, yes. He probably doesn’t want everyone to know who he really is.

Son: Why? He’s a good guy, right? Why does a Superhero want to pretend to be ordinary?

Dad: So that he can do his job better. And be among the people he can help.

Son: So when you go to work in your suit, are you pretending to be somebody else? Cos you said you like your shorts.

Dad: That’s my office attire. It’s like your school uniform – you need to wear a certain set of clothes at a certain time so people know who you are. That’s not pretending.

Son: Huh. So what about a birthday suit? Is that a costume too?

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DAILY PROMPT ~ COSTUME

Where Were You?

Where were you last night?

And the night before?

What is this strange scent?

Whose glove is this by the door?

 

Where were you last weekend?

Why didn’t you answer my call?

Was it you that made the hinge squeak at 5?

You know, from the door in the hall?

 

What’s this red petal on your collar?

What’s this stain on your coat?

What have you been up to?

What’s this smudge on your throat?

 

You really are a wandering minstrel

You tiny rescued scoundrel

You really need to mend your ways

Because I’ll follow you out one day.

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DAILY PROMPT ~ SUSPICIOUS

The Umbrella ~ Act of Kindness #9

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We moved into the neighbourhood about ten years ago.

For some reason, I never really got to know the neighbours. We would nod awkwardly when our paths crossed or we would politely return misdirected mail but that was it. Perhaps it was my work schedule. Perhaps it was theirs. Or, as The Munchkin suggested, perhaps it was my face, which looks even worse when I smile.

Anyway, sometime in 2016, The Munchkin and I went shopping in the neighbourhood mall. As we prepared to leave, we were confronted with relentless rain. At the edge of the covered walkway stood Mr K. He was clutching his phone and we heard him say, “I can’t come right now because it’s raining,” as we drew nearer.

I handed him my umbrella. “Take it.”

I’ve never seen greater flabbergasted relief. “I … yes … no … yes … yourself?”

The Munchkin brandished our second umbrella (nobody remembers why we had two), and I assured Mr K that we would be fine. He grabbed the umbrella like a life vest and shot off across the street. We continued home.

We had barely put away our shopping when the doorbell rang. There was Mr K, Junior K, and my umbrella. There were thanks and pleasantries all round and that was that.

But it wasn’t. Thereafter, Mr K and his family never failed to say hi or stop to chat. Then the other neighbours started saying hi. And now we pretty much know everybody, and it feels like we’re a community.

Thanks, of all things, to an umbrella.

Helping Hands ~ Act of Kindness #8

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photo credit: bady qb

Yesterday, I took a crowded bus home. Three stops later, it stopped for a Young Lady with a backpack and a tote bag on her shoulders, a stroller in which was a sleeping little one, and she was verbally managing a three (maybe four) year old.

Her accoutrements couldn’t quite fit past the support pole at the boarding point, so she moved to the rear where there was supposed to be a retractable ramp. Naturally, this was the bus with a driver who couldn’t or wouldn’t get the ramp out.

Young Lady ordered the three year old to precede her up the bus. Middle-Aged Uncle vacated his seat for the child, who took one look at him and shrieked for reasons only he knew. The startled Young Lady, who was still on the pavement, panicked.

Unfortunately, the gap between the pavement and the edge of the step was too wide for her to safely tilt the stroller’s front wheels up and into the bus – if you’ve ever pushed a stroller, you’ll know what I mean. In any case, there was another step at that doorway to conquer before getting all the way in.

Three of us had moved forward at this point to help. The three year old shrieked louder, the little one was now awake and displeased, Young Woman was frazzled and the bus driver was glaring in the rear view mirror. (Seriously, you couldn’t do something more useful? Like lower the ramp?)

An Elderly Uncle appeared. He gestured for us to move back, told Young Lady to tend to the three year old and physically lugged the stroller up the bus. Middle Aged Uncle had taken Young Lady’s bags and placed them on the seat. While we were all relieved that the little group was now safely inside the bus, we were concerned that the driver would move off before Elderly Uncle alighted. Fortunately, the driver apparently had enough sense to wait. Also, an Auntie up front had started raising her voice at him. (Good!)

There was a chorus of thanks all round. Elderly Uncle waved at us all and went on his way. We moved on. Sadly, I can’t tell you what fate befell the driver because I alighted at the next stop.

Thank you all, especially Elderly Uncle, for extending helping hands where they were needed.

His Dream ~ Act of Kindness #7

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photo credit: nick karvounis

Paul Simon had a dream: he wanted to cook for his President someday. He also dreamed of opening his own restaurant where he would cook dishes from his mother’s recipes; but that would come later.

A graduate of ASPN (Association for Persons with Special Needs) Delta Senior School, he was employed in a leading hotel as a cook, where his mild intellectual disability was not an issue to him, his supervisors or the hotel guests.

In December 2017, Mr Simon was interviewedย  for an article celebrating the International Day of Disabled Persons. In it, he mentioned his two dreams.

On 24 January 2018, Mr Simon fulfilled one of these dreams. The President had read the article and had her staff contact him, extending an invitation to cook for her. So, on that day, that’s what he did. He cooked and served a three-course lunch for President Halimah at the Istana (the official residence and office of the President). And joined her for a chat as she had her dessert.

Thank you, Madam President, for that invitation and for making a dream come true.

Purls Of Wisdom, Learnt By A Knitwit

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CAST ON 37 STITCHES

I was taught to knit when I was eight. This had nothing to do with my dexterity or artistic tendencies. It had everything to do with how The Powers That Be decided I had to learn about Patience, Persistence, Precision, and Pride In My Work. From two sticks and a ball of something that the cat played with that was once taken from a sheep? Right.

ROW 1: KNIT

My first project was meant to be a potholder. Cast on 37 stitches and knit for 50 rows. Repetition, I was told, would develop even tension and create perfectly formed stitches. My hands would develop dexterity and muscle memory, and the knit stitch would become second nature.

Naturally, the potholder was a disaster. It wasn’t even a square. It was a blob, a shapeless rag that even the cat sniffed at.

“So what do you think you should do?” asked The Powers That Be.

I had plenty of wonderful ideas: climb the tree so I could escape into the neighbour’s garden, get Dad to take me to the beach, bathe the cat … But I dutifully replied that I should try again. Correct answer. And The Powers That Be were pleased.

ROW 2: PURL

The blob became a polygon, then a trapezium, then a rectangle and eventually a square. Sort of. There followed a mysterious process of wetting it and blocking it on a mat to dry, and behold! a proper square that would live life as a potholder.

“See? You practised and persisted and succeeded. That was the garter stitch. Now learn to purl and use the stockinette stitch.”

What?

CONTINUE IN PATTERN TO ROW 50

Years later, there are numerous potholders (the victims of learning different stitches), wash cloths, table mats, rugs and towels. Then there are blankets made up of squares, and scarves, sweaters and shawls.

There is also an ever growing stash of yarns and a collection of needles. And boxes of patterns. And bookmarked YouTube videos.

BIND OFF

Did I actually learn any of the lessons as intended?

Patience? Check. Boatloads of it.

Persistence? Check. There are no shortcuts in knitting. To reach Row 142, you knit loop by loop till you get there.

Precision? Check. If a stitch looks odd or gets dropped, or the tension’s wrong, there may be nothing for it except to tink or frog.

Pride In My Work? Check. I’ll admit there’s a certain satisfaction in having handmade odds and ends scattered around the home. Or wound round a neck in winter.

There you have it: purls of wisdom, as learnt by a knitwit.

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DAILY PROMPT ~ KNIT

Thank you, Tara R at Thin spiral notebook, for the inspiration.