Wednesday, March 3, 2015
Today I am grateful for genuinely generous gestures. So many times we might think that in order to be generous, we must also be grandiose. Not so.
When we lived in Jakarta, Indonesia, I had to learn some of the customs the hard way. My good friend, Tati, included me in a ladies-of-the-neighborhood-lunch. Turns out it was just a good excuse to gamble. Everyone, and there were upwards of 14 women there, threw cash in a pot (forty bucks-US) and at the end of lunch there was a drawing. It was like the best of BINGO without having to listen to some redneck garbling B-17 or O-68. The winner got the booty and then was expected to host the next luncheon. None of their husbands knew they were gambling, especially if they won. They might have been Indonesian. . .but they were no different than women anywhere.
I’m easily impressed with beautiful objects and forthcoming with compliments. The hostess had lovely things displayed in her house and I told her so. Next thing I knew, her treasured items were placed in my lap. It was nice to get a closer look. . .until I noticed Tati was enjoying the moment way more than she should have been. When it was time to leave (PS-I didn’t win the cash) I placed the items on the table, offered my thanks and started for the door. “No, Missus! You take! You take!” the hostess was rushing me with the stuff I had liked.
No wonder Tati was laughing. She knew. . . and she knew I didn’t know. Later she explained. “Indonesian people are very, very polite and generous. If someone compliments something of theirs it is the custom to give the person that item,” Tati said. “You liked many things!!” She was clearly enjoying this too much. “Okay,” I said, “But where does it end? With an empty house?” Tati laughed harder. “Oh no! You go back to neighbors and like it back! I’m sure the neighbor was hoping to come to your house and compliment your stuff, too!”
Sadly, Tati passed away many years ago, but I still have generous people, like that, in my life right now. The other day I posted a picture of my sewing project and one of them noticed the gold fish on the table. I confessed that I needed to use Goldie as a pin cushion because I didn’t have one. She felt sad that Goldie, who is a pass around pet that my husband and I hide on each other, was getting stabbed. So what shows up on my doorstep yesterday while I was gone? Yup! Two pincushions! Thank you very much!
Today I am grateful for genuinely generous gestures. The three “G’s”. Oh, and while I’m on a roll. . . I really “like” all y’alls money. My money isn’t nearly as colorful as yours. I might have to use my money to light candles or stuff a pillow, so if you pile a couple of wash baskets of YOUR money on my stoop I’ll try to make good use of it. Ha-ha! And don’t think you can come over later and “like” your money back. This is America!