I was unable to post yesterday but it wasn’t for lack of trying. We are at a friend’s beach house near Bodega Bay and I drove around in the foggy dark last night looking for an unsecured internet connection to upload my post. A few houses had lights on, and I could see people inside laughing and sharing a meal. I had my laptop on the seat next to me and drove very slowly, looking for the telltale sign of a network connection. It was so dark and so foggy that I thought I could easily drive right over the cliff, and I pretty quickly decided to abandon the effort and headed back to the beach house. This morning I am sitting at a small bakery with WiFi. Here’s yesterday’s story:

Janet at work

We left San Francisco this afternoon for a couple of days at a friend’s beach house near Bodega Bay. We stopped for groceries in Petaluma at Whole Foods and I could feel the C-note in my pocket. It didn’t seem too likely that I would find the recipient for my 22nd hundred in the store, so I was planning to stroll through the parking lot and adjacent area after we finished shopping.

I was a bit hungry, so I stopped for a couple of the samples that were being offered. Some kind of tofu dip, then dried gogi berries and mulberries. These were getting a hard sell: “they’re organic, sustainably grown, fairly traded, and full of vitamin C and reservatrol! Everything you would want in a mulberry!” I wasn’t disappointed, as I’ve never thought much about mulberries. But they were chewy and pretty tasteless.

A woman was passing out cups of fat ravioli, green and red. People were gobbling them up, which is sometimes a good sign. I stepped up to the table and the woman turned her bright eyes on me. “You’re here!” she said. “What?” “I was waiting for you to come!” she told me. I was startled. “Really? Why?” “Oh, I don’t know”, she said. “I just wanted to say that. But I can tell you are a very open person.”

She handed me my ravioli with a smile. I thanked her and then stood there for a minute. We were looking at each other, just kind of soaking each other in. Something clicked in my head and I said, “Guess what. I’m going to blow your mind in a minute.” “Oh! I can’t wait!” she said.

I stepped off to the side and ate my ravioli while she helped a couple of other people.  She looked expectantly back at me and I got closer. I started to tell her my story and she offered her condolences. When I put the $100 bill in her hand, she gave out a yelp. “Oh, my god! What a blessing!” She gave me a hug, saying into my ear, “I’m so sorry for your loss. I really am.”

She told me her name was Janet and she’s a dancer.  She said she just (just) lost a part-time job and is doing the sample thing till she finds another way to make ends meet. She said the money would help a lot. “You just did the right thing at the right time”, she said.

Janet said I could take her picture and she wanted to know all about the blog. She hugged me again and said into my ear, “I can’t wait to learn more about your mom.”

Gina would love that part! Amazing, simply amazing.

Beautiful Janet