Of Hash browns, braces and road work
We've just about put away the electric blanket for chills and there's a lot less soup hanging around the kitchen.
And I'm here for it.
Happy Friday friends.
I'm joined at my usual haunt by the adorable oldest sister who's up to her elbows in anatomy homework.
Who knows, Panera just may become a family work space.
This week has been filled with cancelled and rescheduled appointments, one of them being the monthly trip to the orthodontist.
It's for this girl of ours who grew her very own "white fang" smack-dab in the middle of her two front teeth and has a tooth or two still hiding-out just under her nose.
The first time we took her in to see about getting that "fang" pulled the ethnic dentist shook her head and mumbled, "Long journey" to us as she handed us a referral slip.
And it sure has been a journey.
I remember the day that silly tooth was pulled.
I should have told the Dr. that there were a few eye teeth just under her nose and would he mind just grabbing those while he's all up in there?
I legit needed a counseling session after that one.
And yet this resilient girl gets in the car once again for another trip on this journey,
So why not begin the day at McDonalds?
Am I the only one who has happy childhood memories that directly include McDonald's hash browns?
My Dad loved sausage egg McMuffins, bless him, but he also loved hash browns.
I'm thankful for my Dad's sense of humor, for his deep appreciation for civil justice and understanding of the devaluing of great works like "Andy Hardy," but right up there is my gratefulness for hash browns.
And each of us four kids always had our own hash brown to enjoy and then the possibility of bumming a bite off of our siblings' breakfast because one hash brown is never enough.
I'm pretty sure that's in the Hebrew somewhere that along with the earth not being filled with water and fire there is also a little girl standing next to the dinning room table with an empty McDonald's sleeve saying, "It is not enough."
And when we got into the van to head to her appointment the cute girl twice blessed with braces says to me, "I love seeing older folks in there with their black coffee that no one even drinks anymore just sitting with their friends."
And me being an undercover Psychology professor and all, I ask her, "What about that do you like?"
"It just makes me happy," was her reply.
So I probe a little deeper because, (ahem, professor) "But what about that makes you happy?"
She told me that it reminds her that there are happy people in the world and that brings her a little bit of security to know that they are there laughing over hot coffee.
And I knew exactly what she meant.
I felt the same way when I'd go to McDonalds with my dad.
Way back when Grimace wasn't a serial killer and all.
To me, this group of older gentleman were all that was good in society, and in their own unique way this bunch of Grandpas were settling all that was wrong in the world so that I could enjoy my hash brown.
The main road to the orthodontist and just about anywhere we go these days is under construction.
Being a two-lane road someone is always waiting behind a "Stop" sign waiting for the other lane to have their turn.
And every single time I've driven this road there's this adorable worker with sunglasses who truly enjoys waves and kind words as you drive by.
"Adorable" as in young enough to be my son.
So I've made it my complete purpose for the day to get this man the biggest and best wave and smile I have.
We all know there's a very fine line between uber-encouraging and creepy smile.
It's an art really.
As we washed down our hash browns with sips of some of the best caramel iced coffee this side of heaven we approached this bump in the road.
I told my girl that this guy was not to be missed, and I could tell that she didn't understand how this meeting was going to change her day.
I rolled my window down and waved and greeted him.
And yes, once again drove away feeling like a million bucks.
And the girl got it.
"Wow Mom! That guy is so nice!"
I want to say that I hated to tell her, "I told you so," but if every Mom is honest, there's never ever been a millisecond of grief over telling your kids, "I told you so."
So I gladly told her that he is just so much fun to greet over errands.
Her appointment went well, I mean our orthodontist's name is actually "Dr. Gift," so there's that.
And though it's still a long road for this girl who waits for teeth to cooperate and get in the places they need to, it can still be fun to wave to people on the road home.
So you can guess that all conversation stopped and windows rolled-down when we got to that spot in the road where our happy man still stood.
And we left that intersection with the same feeling that we had in McDonalds.
The feeling that there are wonderfully sweet people in this crazy world of ours just doing their thing.
The road may be long and have way too many twists in it for our personal liking but there will always be Grandpas settling politics and road workers who actually love their job making errands lovely.
There will always be good to be found if you are looking for it.
Always friends who bring you literally a gallon of soup and dumplings when making dinner isn't possible, and always friends taking time to teach you how to make bread.
Looking for the goodness of the Lord is one of my favorite pastimes.
There's so much we don't deserve that some days I can hardly stand it for the sweetness of it.
Maybe it's that perfect cup of coffee,
Obedience on the first try,
One more pound of ground beef in the back of the freezer,
Or five dollars found in your pocket.
Maybe it will take a road worker who's just as excited to greet you as you are to greet them to remind you that this big, wide world is full of God's love individually reminding us that he does indeed have the whole world in his hands.
I don't know what your dose of goodness will look like today but I do know it's out there for the taking.
I challenge you to look for it at every turn in the road today.
Yes, its a long journey to heaven.
Sometimes it's back roads for miles.
But always there's goodness to be found.
And goodness to leave for someone else needing it as well.