Animals Make Us Look
Where do we learn to look away, when someone in need is sitting on a city street? I remember at age 11 when my family was in Italy, I learned to keep my distance from the fast working gypsies. I gulped and looked the other way when beggars on the street reached out a hand.
But I could never look away when someone had an animal.
2006 in Spain
I was an adult when I saw this dear woman and her cats on a busy sidewalk in Barcelona...and I couldn't look away. She was colorful from the orange yarn woven in her hair to the rainbow socks at her feet. She sat on a pink blanket and worked with fresh flowers, stringing them on ribbons. The cats didn't seem to mind the decorations and I was relieved to see their food and water nearby. Just like when I was a child, I couldn't help but stop and smile.
Flowers for Sale
The woman was selling her flowers, so she wasn't a beggar. She probably was poor, but maybe not. I couldn't speak with her, but she proudly posed with her cat for me and I thanked her with some money. Why didn't I buy a flower from her? They were actually rather lovely.
Thank you Sweet Cat Woman! Thank you for giving those cats such loving and gentle care. Some might say you'd found the perfect gimmick for making money. But there is no doubt in my mind that you wouldn't have traded those cats for million dollars!
To celebrate my birthday in April 2012, I decided to reflect on the past with a different kind of list. I've met a lot of people in my 55 years, but I'm going to stop and remind myself about the strangers I've met. These are people I met by accident, not through friends or work. For some reason, these strangers dropped into my life. Even though we may have only spent a few minutes together, these people have never been forgotten.
Each week, I'll spotlight someone I met in the past, who in some small way, made me stop and think.
Remember 55 Strangers