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 children.
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.
A Publix parking lot. There was a cart rolling downhill toward a vehicle. I saw a white-haired man run toward it. He caught it before it hit a Range Rover.
A woman jumped out of the SUV and said, “You’re a lifesaver!”
“No way,” said the nice man. “I didn’t save your LIFE. Just doing something nice.”
A young man selling tomatoes on the side of the road. I stood in line behind several people. He was selling out of veggies, making decent money.
In the back of the line: an old woman—gray and bent. The man stood when he saw her. He handed her a bag of several tomatoes.
“How much I owe?” she asked.
“No charge, Miss Loretta. Tell your husband we’re praying for him.”
Then, he walked her to her car.
Anyway, the Mexican men. Here we are. Just two regular gringos, smiling at one another, with no idea what the hell we’re about to eat.
The others hold paper plates, squeezing limes, shaking hot-sauce bottles.
The cook hollers above the laughter and conversation. Men remove hats and bow heads.
One man clears his throat. “Te damos gracias…” the man says. And after his “amen,” ten young men make the Sign of the Cross.
When the prayer is finished I ask a young gentleman what “te damos gracias,” means.
“It means,” he says in broken English. “Like, thank you, for, you know, just whatever. For life, and my daughter, and just everything.”
Works for me.
These tacos aren’t half bad.
Sandra Marrar - July 16, 2017 11:33 am
Your stories always put a smile on my face and help me to see the good around me. God bless.
Susan in Georgia - July 16, 2017 11:41 am
God has given you the ability to see the individual good in the folks and in situations you write about. We readers are the blessed recipients of your gift. I am grateful.
Donna Holifield - July 16, 2017 1:14 pm
Jeannie - July 16, 2017 2:55 pm
There is so much good in the world. Thank you for reminding us each and every day!
Shirley - July 16, 2017 3:42 pm
Shirley - July 16, 2017 3:43 pm
Regina Peavy - July 16, 2017 4:42 pm
Regina Peavy - July 16, 2017 4:42 pm
Susan - July 16, 2017 7:21 pm
Thank you for reminding about the Good in our lives. Sometimes it can be difficult to see and is easily overlooked.
Thank you, also, for being one of my ‘Goods.’
Lucretia Jones - July 16, 2017 10:06 pm
Beautiful, Sean. I thank you 🙂
Jack Quanstrum - July 16, 2017 10:13 pm
Excellent story again Sean, thank you for sharing it with your incredible writing style. There can never be enough good being done in this world. And you capture a good amount of it for all your readers. Your stories continue to make me want to do more good and at the same time be more kind mixed with alot more patience. Keep doing good and capturing it in others. Until tomorrow, Peace and good will be with you!
Kay Reynolds - July 17, 2017 12:44 pm
I have replaced the morning news with your daily stories. Makes a big difference in my day. I’ll save all the bad stuff to listen to at another time.
Thanks for what you do for your readers.
Merry - July 17, 2017 1:18 pm
You remind me that good things still happen in this world.
Janet Mary Lee - July 28, 2017 5:40 am
Doc - September 2, 2017 10:14 am
I am also the “victim” of a Southern mother with a hairbrush who has had my fair share of being popped! Sure do love that woman! Thanks for another great read. God bless!
Mike DuPree - September 2, 2017 11:51 am
You had me at taco and lost me at chitlin. Isn’t it funny that even chitlins can bring out the good in some people.
Melinda - September 2, 2017 2:00 pm
Your stories are always a nice glowing light in an ever darkening world! Te damos gracias!
Jody - September 2, 2017 2:24 pm
Reading your stories brighten the day! Thanks for the uplifting messages.
Mary Beth - September 2, 2017 2:47 pm
I believe you have the best eyes in the whole world! You can see things that no one else notices . Your heart must be pretty good to, cause you can make us feel what you see as well! How wonderful that you share with us. It’s like a daily dose of medicine. It always makes me feel better after reading it. God bless you Mr. Sean!
Terry Dunklin - September 2, 2017 4:23 pm
Love this & you for sharing
Melodie - September 2, 2017 6:14 pm
Te damos gracias
Sam Seetin - September 3, 2017 1:03 am
Steve - September 3, 2017 1:11 pm
My mom made Chitlens. Put ’em with everything. Makes my belly scream.