Wednesday, December 9, 2009

T'is the season

This is the season of giving. The season to be jolly. But sometimes it seems that everyone has their hand out, from organizations and charities to people in actual need. Between flashy advertisements to buy, and pleas for contributions, our cheer and our budgets get stretched pretty thin.

It was on such a day that my husband and I sat in a Steak 'n Shake and discussed our gift giving plans over a burger and fries. While we talked about budgets and lists, I noticed an elderly man sitting behind my husband. He was sipping on a cup of coffee, and slowly spooning down a cup of soup. Meager provisions, I thought; and from the way he was dressed, wondered if that was all he could afford.

I said nothing to my husband who was deep in monologue, and waited for him to finish. By the time he did, the old man had left his table and disappeared into the outside world.

We should have purchased a more substantial meal for him I lamented. I should have stopped my husband's discourse and told him what I saw. I was kicking myself for having missed the opportunity while we paid our check and pushed out the door.

In the parking lot, I was confronted by a young muscovy duck. He waddled up to me with his tiny webbed feet, tilted his mottled red head, and looked at me with pleading eyes, begging for crumbs.

Again I was empty handed; no "doggie bag," no leftovers. The duck followed me all the way to the car. Was he desperate enough to jump in, I wondered? Before I had a chance to find out, another car pulled in diverting the duck's attention. He waddled over to greet the exiting driver.

As I said "t'is the season," and everybody has their hand (or bill) out -- even the ducks.