Fear and Daffodils

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Each year, Delycia’s son, Aaron, treats us to a season of ballet performances by the Boston Ballet, and we have grown accustomed to having lunch before the performance at a small cafe in Chinatown called Great Taste. However, last week, because of concerns about the coronavirus, I spent a considerable amount of time wondering whether we should perhaps eat at another restaurant and avoid Chinatown altogether. I’m not sure exactly what my reasoning was, but I know it had something to do with the virus having apparently started in China. Somehow, in my mind, I guess the virus was ‘Chinese’, as silly as that now sounds to me. Anyway, I am very lucky that Delycia and Aaron had a more sensible approach to the situation, and so we did go to Great Taste and enjoyed our usual wonderful lunch. I did notice, however, two obvious differences at the cafe. First, the place was not jammed with customers, as it usually is, and there was no line at the door of people waiting to get in, as there always was in our past visits.  In fact, the cafe seemed strangely empty and silent. However, the other difference I noticed was the truly overwhelming gratitude expressed to us by the cafe’s always cheerful staff.  Several of them presented far bigger smiles than usual and went out of their way to say how happy they were that we were there. At the time, I didn’t understand why they were so effusive in their thankfulness, but, looking back, I see that it was because they had seen a huge drop-off in customers because of the coronavirus scare. Somehow, like me, many people were staying away from Chinatown. For them, and for me, the virus was somehow ‘Chinese’.  As I said, I feel very fortunate that my wife and her son knew better. Because of them, I was able to break through the fear and show support and appreciation for the folks at a small, amazing cafe in Boston’s Chinatown. 

Great Taste Cafe

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            During a holiday concert several years ago by the Coast Guard Academy Band, the soloist sang “Go Tell It on the Mountain”, and it made me also want to tell a few things on some mountain. From her mountain, the soloist wanted to say the good news that Jesus was born, but I want to say some other, less celebrated good news. I want to say, for instance, that there’s far more love in the world than malice; that the sturdy, stretched-out arm of sincerity is stronger than deceitfulness; that the greatness and power and glory of life is in kindheartedness, not in acrimony; that the sometimes destructive “wisdom” of the adult world is, thankfully, utter foolishness to children; that the invisible things of life (like love) are more wonderful than the visible; that the spirit of appreciation is more uplifting than the spirit of gossip; that, if we open our eyes and hearts, we can know the things that are freely given to us by love; that goodness, not money, makes a person mighty; that the power of kindness can shatter fears; that compassion always conquers cruelty; that cheerfulness always defeats defeatism; and that gentleness was and is and will be braver than meanness, forever. Maybe I should find a mountain somewhere and start climbing. 

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A photo from our walk this morning, with a haiku poem …

soft pool of water –
softness welcomes everything,
since it is so strong

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our first daffodils!

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