Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Kindness of Strangers

September started off with a lot of kindness from strangers, and I'm hoping the trend will last, let's say for the rest of my life. First, a sweet old man at the gate of the Morris Arboretum made us feel very welcome, explained how to get to the parking lot and what to do after we parked, and thanked us for coming. At the guest house, a nice lady gave us a map and pointed out the main points of attraction, and more importantly, the restroom locations. As we wandered around, I casually mentioned to Mama that we were pretty close to Minado, a fantastic Japanese buffet about an hour away from NE Philly. Mama instantly decided we should go, and that we could definitely beat the 2:30 pm lunch closing time, and then she stopped at every. Single. Tree. On the way to the parking lot. You know how many trees there are in an arboretum? A LOT.

We finally tore out of there and I drove maniacally as politely as possible. We triumphantly barreled through the doors, only to be stopped short by the seater who explained that they were removing all the food in eight minutes and we wouldn't have time to go for seconds. I was pissed and had my face of death on, because I hate wasting effort. Mama just kept smiling benignly at the seater until he finally said, "Okay, if you decide to go, I'll only charge you for one." Imagine the Road Runner -- that was us running to our seats. So I plunked my bag down and gathered whatever grub was still left that I could conceivably digest, and was happily masticating when Mama returned with a HEAP O' FOOD. Turns out that she thought "charge for one" meant that only one of us could have a plate, and she'd collected enough to feed me, too -- if I were two teenage boys. Holy cow, that was a lot of food. But heck, half of it was free so we ate almost all of it! And I must say, Mama did an excellent job of hiding her unfinished remains.

We zoomed back to the Arboretum to finish our sightseeing (we'd only done half an hour and had about 90 more acres to go), and the old man remembered us and let us go through, with a warning that they would close at 4 pm (it was 3:30 then). Off we went, making sure to stick near the cover of trees so no staff member would spot us and kick us out until we went through the entire place. It helped that Mama wore green and kept hugging trees. I mean that literally. And sure enough, around 4:30, a golf cart stopped next to us, and a nice man explained that they'd closed half an hour before and we should probably start heading back. We were near the parking lot by then, anyway.

So all in all, we got everything we wanted: great sights, great food, and absolutely everyone we interacted with was nice, which in my experience is unusual. I'm not complaining. I want more of it. Life, please continue to be kind. I sure need it.