I’m watching a Mexican construction crew. They are working on a friend’s house. It is the weekend, and the sun is twelve kinds of brutal.
At noon, they prepare lunch in the shade of a live oak.
The cook for the outfit connects an electric hot-plate to a power cord. He is pan-frying something strange-looking.
He asks if my friend and I want to join them for lunch.
“What’s that you’re cooking?” asks my friend.
I ask what this is, exactly.
The other men giggle.
“I think,” the man explains. “You call them chitlins in Americano. You wanna try?”
Chitlins. I’d rather lick a possum between the ears. However, my saintly mother spent her entire youth popping me with a hairbrush for the express purpose of teaching me to do “nice things.”
So I agreed to try some.
As it happens, I’ve seen some other nice things recently.
For instance, yesterday, in the Walmart checkout lane. I saw a woman with a full cart. She had four
She tried to pay with a card. It was declined.
Her teenage daughter removed a wad of bills and said, “Lemme pay, Mama. I got babysitting money.”
“That’s a REEEEAL good daughter,” said the cashier.
“The best,” said her mother.
Here’s another: I was at a traffic light. I saw a man with a long beard and a guitar on his back. I have seen him before. I’ve even given him money. He’s a nice fella who smells like a distillery.
I saw an arm reach from a car window ahead. The hand was holding a What-A-Burger bag.
The man took it, then sat cross-legged in the median to eat.…