And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.

Early this afternoon, I had one of those awkward appointments at 1:30. Awkward, because I had to leave at one, and at one, I was just starting to get hungry, but I couldn’t eat because I had to leave, but I also knew that when I walked out of the appointment later, I would be starving. Not leaving myself enough time to think about and solve this puzzle, I took off, made it to my appointment on time, and then walked out…ready to graze on anything that didn’t move, and some things that did.

I’ve been watching my weight for a while now, but Thursday is my cheat day. I weigh in in the morning, and then finish the day with an ice cream sundae from Culvers. But today, I decided that instead of going home and eating the nutritious, healthy meal I planned, I would stop at McDonalds. And I would STOP at McDonalds. I wouldn’t eat while driving. I wouldn’t put pedal to the metal to get the food home. I would stop.

Due to COVID precautions, I figured I’d eat in the parking lot. I was in the convertible, so it guaranteed fresh air and sunshine. But when I left the drive-through, I saw that only one of the three tables outside of McDonalds were occupied. A grandmother and her granddaughter were in one of the tables on the end. So I parked and got out, choosing to sit at the other end, with the center table between us.

My table was half in the shade and half in the sun, so I sat in the shade, but stretched my legs out to the seat across from me, which allowed my upper half to stay shaded and in the nicest of breezes, and my lower half baked in summertime. I had a book with me – I always have a book with me – and so I set out my lunch, opened the book, sipped my frappe and settled in for a spontaneous lunchbreak. There was work to do at home…but it could wait.

At the far table, the little girl, maybe four years old, suddenly leaped up to dance on the concrete and shout, “I see you! I see you! Hi! Hi!” I thought maybe she was talking to me and I looked up to smile, but her head was tilted toward the bluest of blue skies. So I thought maybe she was talking to birds, but as she waved and danced, I realized there weren’t any birds. But there was a thin white contrail.

“There are people in there,” the grandmother said. So the girl was calling to the plane.

“Hi, people! Hi!” she shouted. “How are you? I am fine!”

The grandmother laughed. “They can’t hear you, honey.”

She stopped. “They can’t hear me?”

Grandma shook her head.

“They can’t see me?”

Grandma shook her head.

The girl stood silent and I wondered if tears were on the way. But then she danced again. “I can see them!” she said. “And I can hear the plane!” She twirled. “Hi, people!” she sang. “Hi! Hi!”

What a great kid!

After a while, they left, and I continued to enjoy my lunch. A few minutes later, two young men sat down at the table where the grandma and girl used to be. They spoke in low voices and I pretty much tuned them out. But then I became aware of a very different sound. It was twangy, high-pitched, twang-twang-twangity!, and accompanied by a thump, thump, thump! So I looked over and saw the tiniest ukulele I’ve ever seen. And this young man was playing it like the hottest electric guitar, and he thumped his thumb against the body, and his head bobbed and bobbed while his friend set out their lunch.

As time went by, with a few pauses for the boy to grab a bite, I found my head bobbing too. My feet, propped on the seat across from me, tapped into the air. The air blew over me, just the best combination of warm and cool, and I tilted my cheek to better catch it. I was reading a good book. I didn’t have the most healthy of meals, but man, was it ever tasty. And while I wasn’t listening to an orchestra, or a grand piano, but to a teeny tiny ukulele which sang mostly rhythm, too tiny to really belt out a melody, I was an audience to a concert.

And I realized, sitting there, that I was perfectly happy.


And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.

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