see the lovely.

as i alluded in my last post, this has uncharacteristically been a really hard year for me to "feel" Christmas.

this morning, i woke up feeling a bit sick and was running extremely late to work. but as i drove, i saw a lady on the side of the road with a sign that said "tamales, $1" on it.

i thought to myself, ah, i wish i could but i'm already running so late... then i realized that i might not see her again, as i'd usually already be at work by that time. and then it struck me what that thought implied: i was in my car. was on my way to work. to sit in a comfy (and might i add, bouncy) chair in a nicely heated room in front of an expensive computer to make a decent chunk of money by designing cool-looking things.

i abruptly turned left onto a side road. i pulled over and checked my wallet. the only cash i had was my $2 bill. i felt like it would be kind of odd, giving her a $2 bill... shoot, i thought, well maybe i can get some cash and come by again when i don't work on friday....

so i pulled out to turn left to continue to work, when it donned on me -- duh, kristin. a $2 bill is still legitimate money. i turned right and pulled into the street next to where she was standing. as i approached her, she saw me and turned, putting her sign down. she was a sweet, tiny lady with a pure face.

as we greeted each other, her face honestly just completely lit up. i couldn't believe how happy she was that i was buying one little tamale. she had a happy, almost singsongy voice, with an innocent little girl quality. she spoke to me in spanish, which i understood, as i pulled out my 3 years of rusty high school spanish from the back of my brain in an attempted response. regardless, it didn't matter what language we spoke -- we didn't need to communicate with words to make each other's day. i bought my tamale, explaining that i needed no change, thanked her, and we parted.


right before i saw her, i had passed a cement barrier on the side of the road, where someone had pinned a series of pieces of paper in a line. on each paper there was a letter. the letters created the simple phrase "see the lovely."

right as i drove away, "where are you Christmas" came on the radio. yeah, it can be pretty overdone, but this time i think i heard it differently. i couldn't believe that i had tears in my eyes, but it was because that song embodied exactly just how i've been feeling this season. and then i paid attention to the last verse. and in the light of the experience i just had……



--jeff * said...

thank you for the reminder that there are some things more important than not being a little bit later than we already are.

i like that, even though though she spoke spanish and you kind of spoke spanish, you completely understood the situation.

yes, $2 are legal tender.

i am a little impressed that you were able to read that sign (or series of signs) while driving in your car. it's kind of hard for me to read even here.

and lastly, i'm glad you appreciate that your job provides you with a bouncy chair. such things should not be taken for granted.

Diana said...

I totally know the Tamale Lady! I mean I've bought tamales form her several times during the semester. She used to sit at the corner of 300E and 800N opposite the stairs leading up to campus. She is a dear lady, so kind and sweet. And I LOVE tamales! I helped make about 200 of them during the mission (but I didn't serve Spanish, wish I could speak it!). I thought the Tamale Lady had put her business on hold for the cold weather, it makes me a little sad to know that she's still out there at this time of year, because that probably means she needs the money that badly. Or maybe she just loves to sell tamales. But either way, you're awesome Kristen! Thanks for sharing your simple and beautiful and perfect story. You were late so you could find her, and she was there so she could find you, and you both could find a little more of the lovely. Way to take advantage of an opportunity.

Sidney said...

I encountered both the words on the cement barrier and the Tamale Lady, both were great reminders to me about how lucky I am to have the life that I do! Thank you for a simple reminder of what I only experienced only a few days ago but in the chaos of life have already forgotten.

Jacob said...

Merry Kristmas Christin! Wait. Yeah, well, you get it. :)

Joe Haynie said...

Thanks for sharing Kristen. Turns out it was Christy that put up the "See the Lovely" to practice random acts of beauty. I showed her your post and she was delighted!

kwistin said...

i love your insights, friends. thank you. :) i usually don't comment on my own posts (this is YOUR place!) but i really enjoyed the comments people posted on facebook about this post, so i thought i'd add them in. i found it amusing that a lot of these were people in my own neighborhood. and coupled with papa joe's comment up there...wow. what a great community.

Kamalei Logan : Treva and I spent three minutes parked at the top of the hillside trying to flash his lights on the barricade to see what it said after ball the other night.

Ammon Franklin : Saw the lovely. Thanks for the reminder!

Gregory Benson : I drove past that, then flipped around and slowed down to read it. Then wasn't sure I understood it.

Adam Smith : I wondered what that said!

Brooke McClure : Where is this?!! I've been craving good homemade tamales!!!