I love Christmas, I really do. I love that all the stores are closed and there isn’t anywhere to go. I love that the phone probably won’t ring. In the unlikely event the doorbell chimes, it will be a crafty friend with cookies or other homemade goodies.

I understand the deep significance of the holiday for those who celebrate it and mean no disrespect. As a Jew, Christmas for me means a nice day off and sometimes Chinese food and a movie. We never celebrated Christmas when I was a child and I have never hung an ornament. I  think the lights are pretty but I would probably be one of those people that left them up all year round out of sheer laziness.

There’s a book I’ve had my eye on at Powell’s: Rambam’s Ladder, A Meditation on Generosity and Why it is Necessary to Give, by Julie Salamon. A few months into this adventure, I still have a lot to learn about generosity and giving. I forgot that I would not be the only person happy to get out of the house today. The streets downtown were teeming, and people had that wistful post-holiday daze about them.

As I approached Powell’s, I saw a young woman crouched over on the traffic island across the street. I couldn’t really make it out, but it looked like she had some paper or a drawing pad on her lap. People were streaming by in all directions. No one looked at her and she didn’t look up. I decided to try my luck at finding a parking place and then see if she was still there.

A spot opened up halfway down the block, which was amazing. After I parked I went back to the corner. There she was, still hunkered down practically into a ball. People and cars passed without seeming to notice her. I stood watching and it seemed to take forever for the light to change.

She’s the dark bundle at the bottom left

When I finally got across the street, I went over and tried to peek over her shoulder to see what was on the yellow paper in her lap. I was hoping to see an artist’s rendition of the surrounding landscape. Instead, I caught a glimpse of a few words. My heart sank.

“Hey, how ya doing?” I asked. “Oh, I’m okay,” she said cheerlessly. “What’s the matter?” I asked her. “Oh, I’m just trying to make this sign with this dumb pen.” She straightened up just enough for me to see what was in her lap: a sign with block letters that said “Lost My Job. Couldn’t Pay Rent.” She held the ballpoint pen out and said she was trying to fill in the outline of the letters to make it more visible. “It’s taking forever with this.”

It was cold outside and starting to drizzle. The young woman looked 17, maybe 18. I asked her what was going on and she told me that she had lost her job as a house cleaner and had split up with her boyfriend. She couldn’t afford the rent for their small apartment on her own and got kicked out. She told me that the women’s shelters were only for pregnant women or domestic violence victims, and she had nowhere to go. I was somewhat surprised to hear myself say, “How about you let me get you something hot to drink?” There was a pause and then she said, “Okay. If you want to. Actually, I don’t want to give up this spot. I just got here and someone else will take this spot if I leave. A lot of people walk by here.”

“C’mon,” I urged. “Let’s go inside for a bit. Maybe we can get you a better pen in the bookstore.” It really wasn’t hard to convince her. She got up and we crossed the street together. It crossed my mind that I hoped she wasn’t always so trusting. The bookstore was absolutely packed, a madhouse. On our way to the café we passed one of the information desks and I saw a Sharpie sitting on the counter. “Do you sell pens like this here?” I asked. No, they didn’t, but the employee offered to let us use it while we were in the store. “Just make sure you bring it back.”

I asked her name; it was Lauren. When we got to the café I told her to pick out whatever she wanted to eat. They were out of sandwiches but there were pastries in the case, and bagels. “Maybe I’ll get a scone. What do you think looks good?” she asked me. She settled on a lemon scone and hot chocolate. I sent her to find a seat while I waited in the long line to pay.

I wasn’t sure I would even be able to find her again. It was crowded and I had barely seen her face. But there she was: a small woman sitting by the window, hunched over her paper. I asked for extra whipped cream on her hot chocolate and I got one without. She was saving the seat next to me with her bag. As she moved it to make room she said, “I had a real nice backpack but I gave it to my friend. He really needed it.”

We sat together and her story came rolling out as she worked on her sign. She was 21 and had been doing okay until her hours got cut back at work. Her mother lives nearby, in Beaverton, but recently remarried “someone weird”. She’s not welcome in their home and doesn’t even know their address. Her Dad lives in San Francisco. She was hoping to get the money together to take the bus to California; in addition to her Dad she has other family and friends there. “At least I’d have some options.”

She was wearing a lightweight black coat over a blue sweatshirt, the dirty cuffs sticking out and partially covering over her hands. I tried not to stare, noticing dirty nails and chipped dark blue nail polish. She was intent on her task. “If I say ‘Looking for a room’ do you think they’ll know what that means? It’s a lot easier than writing ‘Looking for a place to stay’. I said I thought that sounded fine, flashing back to sitting with my kids while they did their homework.

There were two women sitting next to me, a stack of GRE study manuals on the counter in front of them. Their lighthearted banter stood in heartbreaking contrast to Lauren’s grim narrative. “25 Math Concepts You Absolutely Must Know. Okay, check this out. The area of a triangle, the volume of a cylinder. ‘The complete arc of a circle is 360º.’ Hey, I knew that one!”

The women were laughing about how much smarter they used to be when they were in high school. Lauren was telling me that her new stepfather didn’t want to see her for at least two years, and then only if she was in school or steadily employed. “It’s not like I want to throw my life away.” She continued slowly filling in the letters on the sign. I asked her what she did yesterday, on Christmas. “Nothing. I really didn’t do anything,” she said sadly.

I finished my hot chocolate and watched through the window as people passed by. If they had glanced our way, they might have seen a gray-haired lady holding an empty cup, and a young woman bent purposefully over a piece of paper.

I decided it was time to go and told Lauren I was going to take off. I had a C-note folded up in my pocket and I held it out to her. “I hope this helps out a little. Take care of yourself.” “Oh, thank you! Are you sure?” she asked. “Yeah,” I said. “Look at it.” She opened the bill and let out a gasp. “Are you sure?” she asked again. For the first time, she looked at me full on, relief flooding her features. Her eyes sparkled with intelligence and a flash of optimism. I saw how pretty she was behind the piercings, dirty hair and guardedness.

“I think I’m just going to go right to the bus station and see if I have enough for a ticket to San Francisco. I could be there tomorrow!” She reached out and pulled me into a hug, saying “No one has ever helped me out like this before.”  I told her she was smart and beautiful and I just knew things would work out for her.

On the way out, I passed by the employee who had lent us the pen. “She’ll bring it back soon,” I promised. He shrugged. “We’ll see.” “I’m sure she will,” I insisted. Now I think maybe she held onto it as a reminder of the strange and wonderful thing that happened today. I kind of hope she did.

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I guess I was just born nosy, because I can’t ever remember a time when I didn’t like grilling people with questions. Maybe it’s simple curiosity, but I seem to have a greater tendency and need to pry than most. This serves me well in my work as a physician, which is really all about stories and getting to the bottom of things.

Having the intention of giving away $100 really opened up this part of me; I became like a question machine. It was a natural part of the giving process but moreso a by-product of feeling more aware and connected. I am simply amazed at how willing people are to share personal information with a total stranger.

That’s what happened today. I was back at good old Fred Meyer, along with most everyone in the neighborhood. There was a C-note tucked in my pocket. I had stuff to pick up from all over the store, so I covered some ground. I saw the cashier woman from Day 31 and was happy to see that she seemed to be in a better mood. I said hello to a few people I knew as I worked my way through my list.

New can opener: check. Bag clips: check. Spotted a coupon for “buy two gadgets and get one free”. Third gadget: check.

I was inexplicably browsing through the oral health supplies when I spotted a young girl with a white cane. She appeared to be about 14 and was holding on to a slightly older kid’s arm. Every so often he would stop and she would feel her way along the shelves. “What is this?” I heard her ask. “It’s candy. And gum and stuff.”

Seems like I went around the store in circles a few times but I finally grabbed my last item, a bottle of canola oil. A few yards down was the blind girl. She was standing in front of the packaged pudding, the boy standing somewhat protectively at her side. A woman was behind them, giving her directions. “Look to the… I mean, feel to the left. No, I mean the right. That’s Jello.” “It’s already cooked?” asked the girl.

The woman had a shopping cart full of packaged food. She was in her 60s, had a soft round face and short spiky hair. She saw me looking at her and smiled. She took a few lurching steps and I noticed that one of her legs was about four inches shorter than the other. The kids came over and they all conferred quietly. A large man joined them and I realized he was part of the family too.

I stood there and pretended to compare the prices of brown sugar. Lots of people were coming and going. Finally the five of us were alone in the aisle and I wheeled my cart next to theirs. I said hello to the woman, who fixed me with a friendly and open gaze.  “Is this your family?” I asked her. “Yes, we drove up from Medford.” She cocked her head toward the girl. “She’s going to the School for the Blind. So we’re getting stuff to get her cupboards set up. You know, stuff she doesn’t have to cook very much. It’ll be the first time she’s been on her own.” I looked at the small girl standing next to me. “How old are you?” I asked. “I’m eighteen,” she said, her eyelids fluttering.

We stood there chatting for a while as if we were old friends. I felt the cocoon of love, pride and concern that was surrounding this brave girl. I flashed back to the emotion of dropping my own son off at college not long ago.

“I’d like you to have this. For good luck.” I tucked the bill into the woman’s hand. She looked at it and then at me. “Are you sure? Are you sure??” I smiled and said I was. The woman reached out and pulled me into a big hug. She pressed her soft cheek against mine in a tender and surprisingly intimate gesture. Then she whispered into my ear, “Thank you. I’ll give it to my granddaughter.” She left a damp spot on my cheek when she finally pulled away.

“What is it, Grandma?” asked the girl. “It’s some money, sweetie.” The woman thanked me, her eyes glistening. I  said goodbye and turned to go. I’ll never be sure what she meant but as I pushed off toward the checkout stand I heard the girl say, “Grandma? I told you I could see with my heart.”

Mr. Brown's Shoeshine Stand

I decided at the end of my Month of Hundreds that I would aim to give away $100 every week through the end of the year. Something about having that C-note in my pocket makes me more aware of what is going on around me; it’s just a fact.

I spent the weekend in Boston, where Elijah is attending college. We had a great visit and talked, among other things, about my verifiable history as a cheapskate. He told me how the Oregonian reporter had called and asked if he could give her some examples of my cheapness.  He apparently had no problem coming up with a slew, and reminded me about the time I drove around the block waiting for the guys at Jiffy Lube to put out their “$10 Off” sign. Stuff like that. I am very glad to see that my kids are both sensible and generous without having absorbed any of my bizarre relationship to money.

The streets were positively teeming with people; scads of tourists as well as lots of folks who looked pretty down on their luck. It was chilly out, though nothing like it will be in a month or two. I saw people curled up in doorways, huddled in sleeping bags and sometimes under a sheet of cardboard.

On Saturday morning I went to get coffee at Borders and was doing some browsing when I noticed a well dressed man sitting in a comfy chair. He was sitting up straight with his eyes closed and appeared to be sound asleep. I watched him out of the corner of my eye as I thumbed through a book about the back roads of Ireland.

After a few minutes a store employee approached. He didn’t say a word, just grabbed the back of the guy’s chair and lifted it up. Then he let it bounce, hard. “Hey! Get up!” he barked. The sleeper’s eyes opened; he was now dazed yet alert.  The employee told him to leave, then stood there staring him down.

I found this scene very upsetting and impulsively stepped to the guy’s side. “Have you read this book?” I asked him. I guess I wanted the employee to know whose side I would be on if it came down to it.  The sleeper looked at me somewhat blankly and said, “No, I haven’t read that one.” Then he stood up and left.

I went to tell the employee what I thought of the situation and found him standing behind the counter. I understand that they don’t want the store used as a hotel, but the guy wasn’t bothering anyone and I didn’t see the need to be rude and disrespectful. He told me they had been trying to wake the guy up for a while (really?) and were about to call an ambulance. “And”, he preached, “These people generally don’t want an ambulance called.” I put the books I had selected back and left without buying anything.

When I got to the airport today I still had the C-note in my pocket. I had plenty of time and a long flight ahead. It felt good to stretch my legs so I wandered around for a bit. I passed a shoe shine stand and was offered a shine. My suede boots were not a good candidate but I stopped to chat for a while. The shoe shine man asked me where I was going and told me he was headed for Berlin tomorrow; he’s lived there on and off since he married a German woman in 1977. His wife doesn’t like living in the US, although they tried to make a go of it. He has a second job with the airlines so he flies for free and goes back and forth every few months.

My mother was from Berlin, I told him. “You’re German, then! That’s what I tell my kids! Don’t deny your heritage! Just because you’re American doesn’t mean you’re not German, too!” He told me his name was “Brown, like the color.” A man came to get his shoes shined and Mr. Brown turned away and got to work.

I walked around a little more and thought a lot about Mr. Brown. He was going to Berlin? Tomorrow? It seemed such an unlikely coincidence. And he didn’t strike me as an international traveler. But there I go again with my assumptions.

Berlin is the city from which my mother fled as a young woman and never returned.  The city where her wealthy parents had their business and all their property confiscated by the Nazis. I’ve never visited and never wanted to. Berlin seems… scary somehow.

I turned back and went to find Mr. Brown. I told him I had a favor to ask him. A bit warily, he said sure, what was it? I explained about my mother’s family and that they had been largely ruined by the Nazis. How my mother had left some of her fear planted deep within me. And that she had died not long ago. He nodded with understanding and watched me carefully.

I handed him the C-note. “It would mean a lot to me if you would take this with you to Berlin and do something good with it.” His eyes lit up. “Oh, wow! Yes, ma’am! Yes, I certainly will!” He wanted some ideas for what I had in mind so we talked about some possibilities. “There’s no homeless there, you know,” he reminded me.  “Germany has got it going on; they know how to run a country!” Then he said, “OK, I get it! You’re blessing me and I’ll put a blessing on someone over there.” Then, “I’ll be thinking about you the whole time!”

I thanked him and we shook hands. He pulled a guy over to snap our photo then laughed at how small I looked. “At least I have a nice smile,” he said. He gave me all his phone numbers. In case I want to talk some time. And I really should make it over there. Berlin is a beautiful city, he said. With beautiful people.

As I walked away I heard him sing out, “Shoe shine! Shine ’em up! Shoe shine!”

Mr. Brown, I’ll be thinking about you, too.

Me and Mr. Brown

October 29. Day 29 of My Month of Hundreds.

Today would be my Dad’s 88th birthday. He was a year younger than Gina which was apparently not okay because she told everyone she was a year younger than she actually was.

My dad, Sidney Ginsberg, grew up in an extended Jewish family in Philadelphia and New York, had a thick Brooklyn accent, and loved to eat sardines and herring. In some ways he was an odd match for my cultured European mother. He served in the Army, then went to law school on the GI bill. But he didn’t work as a lawyer till later. For most of my childhood he worked in the family business, a garage and gas station in Hoboken, New Jersey. Hoboken in those days was very different from the chic community it is today; it was grungy and kind of scary. The garage got burglarized a few times; an alarm would go off and then our phone would ring in the middle of the night, sending my dad hurrying out into the dark.

He worked six days a week and always had grease under his fingernails. A series of de-greasing products made their way through our bathroom, each one promising (and failing) to remove the telltale signs of the working life. On Saturdays, my dad would often take me with him to the gas station. The guys would open the soda machine for me and let me take whatever I wanted. When I was old enough I got to help wash cars and pump gas. Sometimes I got a 25¢ tip. Nothing I have ever done since was more fun; I adored my dad and it seemed like everyone else did, too. He was playful, warm and quick with a joke.

On a NY beach, circa 1958

I did lots of “boy stuff” with my dad. I loved spending time with him at his workbench in the basement. I can’t remember anything that he ever built or even fixed, but he carried an aura of being a capable and handy guy and I wanted to be like that. He chopped wood in the backyard for our fireplace, pushed me around in the wheelbarrow and taught me how to use the axe.

Sometime in the late 1960s my dad went back to school and started working as an attorney for Legal Aid. He spoke fondly of his clients and considered them “underdogs” worth fighting for. At some point a grateful client started sending him a lottery ticket every week. He never found out who the client was but one time he got a winning ticket worth $50.

At his office and in the courtroom everyone referred to my father as “Tex”, because he was always wearing a cowboy hat. He shaved his head and only wore bow ties, which I found embarrassing at the time. Every year for his birthday I would get him a straight tie which he would wear once and then relegate to the back of his closet. As I got older I assumed the duty of his weekly “haircuts”, which consisted of using a clipper on the closest setting and shaving off what little hair he had. Sometimes I would leave a patch on the back in the shape of a triangle or square, especially if he had a PTA meeting to go to. I thought this was hilarious and he never got mad.

Attorney at law, circa 1970

On November 15, 1974 my dad said he wasn’t feeling well, laid down on the floor, and died. I was 17 and a senior in high school. My mother was shocked, and overwhelmed by the business aspects of managing the aftermath. She retreated deeply into her scarcity mentality. The family home became a sad and sorry place. As soon as I could, I got out on my own.

My dad would love this project. I think he pretty much would love everything about it. I wanted to honor him today with my gift, so I headed over to our local gas station. There’s a really sweet kid there who has pumped my gas before (in Oregon you don’t get to pump your own gas). I was hoping he might be there today.

Sure enough, as I pulled in I saw the mop of this young guy’s hair. He started filling my tank and was just finishing up with a couple of other cars. Pretty soon it was just the two of us. I got out of the car. I asked him how he was doing and he said he was good and what about me. I made a comment about how nice he always is and he smiled. “Have you always been like that?” I asked him. “Yeah”, he said. “Ever since my mother raised me. And my dad.” He’s 18 now. I said they must be proud of him and he said yeah, he thought so.

I told the kid I wanted to give him something and he said that was fine. I handed him the C-note and he stared. “You’re kidding, right? Are you serious? Is this for real?” I said it was and he said, “Dang! Thank you! Thank you so much!”

He was so happy and excited. I told him he might not realize how much of a difference he makes to people by being his sweet self. He said his name was Julian and asked me mine. “You’re pretty nice, too”, he said. “You just made my day!” Then he asked if he could give me a hug and wrapped his long arms around me. A car pulled in and he loped off to take care of business. He turned back and said, “Whenever I see you, I’m gonna say ‘Thank you, Jill!'” He waved at me, smiling, as I pulled out of the lot.

Yeah, I think Sidney “Tex” Ginsberg would have liked this a lot. Happy birthday, Dad.

Julian! So sweet.

I’m heading out of town tomorrow for a few days and have been a little preoccupied with how I’m going to do with my giveaways. In a different city and culture, will I still be able to follow my instincts? Granted, it’s not like I’m going to Djibouti, but San Francisco is a different world.

I had to stop at the store after work today. I got out of the car and was crossing the parking lot when I saw a woman struggling with her empty shopping cart. I always hate taking the cart back to the repository after loading my groceries in the car, so I decided to be really nice and offer to take her cart back for her. I was feeling kind of pleased with myself, thinking how this project is making me into such a nice person. Then I couldn’t find the place where you put the carts and I started to get annoyed. Ah! No wonder! Some idiot had parked right in front of it, blocking the whole thing. A couple of other shoppers were kind of circling around, trying to figure out how to put their carts away. Jeez. Some people!

It was getting dark but I could see well enough to realize that the offending vehicle looked vaguely familiar. Wait. Is that…? Doh! I was the one who was blocking everyone from putting their carts away. Wow. I hate that.

I fixed the problem as quickly as I could and headed into the store. I had the C-note in my pocket and just cruised the aisles for a while. There were a lot of people inside, mostly in ones and twos. I walked slowly and (I imagined) nonchalantly past the produce, the crackers, the peanut butter and the salad dressing. Heading into the frozen food aisle I saw a young woman pushing a little girl in a stroller. She was wearing tiny shorts that barely covered her bottom and said “Senior” across the back. High school? Possible, but she looked older. With the two of them was a slightly rounder version of the young woman. She had stopped pushing their shopping cart and was looking at the ice cream. “Klondike bars?”, I heard her ask. The cart was piled with chips, soda and frozen chicken. Something drew me to them.

“Excuse me”, I said to the woman with the cart. “Can I talk with you for a minute?” “Okaaayy”, she said, visibly dubious. She maneuvered her cart around in front of her so it was between the two of us. “What’s it about?” “Is this your family?”, I asked. “Yes”, she said. “These are my daughters.” She looked concerned, and mildly frightened. I saw the two girls watching me. “They’re beautiful”, I offered. I smiled, trying to put them all at ease. The older girl grinned at me and did a gracious little curtsey. I told the mom what I was doing and that I wanted to pass along a gift. Her face went slack and I handed her the $100 bill.

The woman’s hand flew up to her mouth and she burst into tears. In one fluid motion she came out from behind her shopping cart and gave me a huge hug. “God is so good!” She was crying hard. There was a story here, and lots of hurt. Her older daughter was crying, too. Then the woman said, “Your mother must have been a beautiful person.” “Yes”, I agreed. “She was.”

That was it. We didn’t talk long before I went on my way. The two women were still standing there with tears in their eyes when I turned into the next aisle.

So many dogs

What a beautiful fall day! Especially at this time of year, a day like this seems a miracle not to be taken for granted. Louise and I headed out to Thousand Acres Park with our two mutts. The dogs can run off-leash there for miles; they love it no matter the weather. Of course.

I know it sounds awful, but I’m really not much of a dog person. I find their indiscriminate affection and good humor rather off-putting. Most of them smell bad. In considering dogs, however, I have to admit they have a lot going for them. I could learn something. For example, dogs seem to take good fortune and disappointment equally in stride. Filet mignon or a crumb of dry kibble? It’s all thrilling to them. Unless they’ve been maltreated, dogs expect the best at every turn. A dog would not be surprised to be handed a $100 bill.

We had a lovely walk. There were lots of people and lots of dogs. On our way back, a young woman and her dog walked by. “Have you seen a yellow lab?”, she asked. No, we hadn’t seen any unattended dogs. She didn’t seem too worried and we went on our way.

We were almost back to the parking lot when we saw an old yellow lab standing rather dejectedly by the side of the trail, clearly on the lookout for its owner. “I bet that’s the dog!”, said Louise. We decided we would lure the dog over, put it on a leash and find the woman. “C’mon, girl!”, we coaxed. It was still a ways away and didn’t budge. Just then the woman and her other dog came up behind us and spotted the lab. “Lucy!” The dog’s head popped up and she came running. “Oh, we got separated.” the woman explained with relief. The other dog sniffed Lucy’s face all over, nudging her affectionately.

Everyone headed to their cars. We chatted briefly with some hunters who were coming back empty-handed. “It’s too nice out. They can see the strings on the decoys. Oh, well. It’s a great day to be outside”, one of them said. I made a detour to the restroom.

When I came out I saw the woman by her car. She was giving Lucy and her other dog some water. “I’m glad she didn’t get lost”, I said. “Me too!” She had a really sweet smile. I hadn’t planned it but found myself saying, “Can I talk with you for a minute?” “Yeah!”, she said, without hesitation. I told her about my project and handed her the $100. “Oh, my god! For real?” She gave me a big hug. She told me she’s looking for a new place to live and could really use the money.

We talked about my mom for a minute and then she told me that her mother has been sick with a nasty form of brain cancer. It’s been really hard on the whole family. “It’s weird”, she said. “It’s like, when you lose your mother you have to become a whole other person.” She hugged me again. “Thank you”, she said. “This really brightens my day.”

Mine too.

Lucy and family

Day 12 of giving away $100 a day. I was on my way to get a haircut this afternoon, heading south on Grand Ave. Traffic was flowing pretty smoothly.  I noticed a car in front of me over in the next lane with “Just Married” written on the rear window. It still looked fresh. I’d been to the bank earlier to pick up some more C-notes and had been thinking about my giveaway all day. It crossed my mind that it would be nice to give the $100 to the newlyweds.

The car – a silver hatchback – pulled ahead, signaled and changed lanes. Looking at the clock, I realized I had a few extra minutes and decided I would follow the car for a few blocks and see what happened. I drove right by my turn and came up behind them. Maybe I could pull up and signal to them to pull over. I rolled my window down in anticipation but they stayed just out of range. I was trying to see who was in the car but couldn’t get a good look. Then I noticed a bumper sticker that said, “If you are against gay marriage, don’t marry a gay person!”

After a few more turns I was starting to wonder if this was really meant to be. Then the car pulled over to the curb and stopped. I whipped in behind them and got out. I ran up to the car and the driver rolled his window down. I could tell he was worried. “Hi!”, I said. “Did you just get married?” “Yes, we did”, he answered, glancing at the young man sitting next to him. “Congratulations! I’d like to give you a wedding present.” I held out the $100 bill and the driver took it, looking dumbfounded. The other guy said, “Oh, no! You couldn’t! That’s too nice! Oh, my god! Why??” He reached over to shake my hand.

They got out of the car, gave me a hug and said I could take their picture. They held up a little banner saying “Just Married”. They wanted to know more about what I was doing and we talked about their plans for the money. Ben said they had gotten married on Sunday and about 100 people had attended. Some of their family in Utah hadn’t been able to make it, so they were saving up for a trip back home in December. They were very grateful.

I got to my appointment right on time. It turned out that my hairdresser had spaced out and left early so I just headed home. It was kind of funny how it all worked out.

There’s too much hate and  intolerance in this world, and not enough devotion and tenderness. I’ll be raising a glass to Bob and Ben tonight.

Bob and Ben