30 Oct

I’ve shared poems by Naomi Shihab Nye before. I love her writing. This is a real experience that she is writing about. It all comes down to kindness, again.

“Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.” Well — one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.

An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing. “Help,” said the flight agent. “Talk to her. What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”

I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke haltingly.

“Shu-dow-a, Shu-bid-uck Habibti? Stani schway, Min fadlick, Shu-bit-se-wee?” The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for major medical treatment the next day. I said, “No, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just later, who is picking you up? Let’s call him.”

We called her son, I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and ride next toher. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons justfor the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian poets I know and let them chat with her? This all took up two hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling of her life, patting my knee, answering questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies — little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts — from her bag — and was offering them to all the women at the gate. To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the mom from California, the lovely woman from Laredo — we were all covered with the same powdered sugar. And smiling. There is no better cookie.

And then the airline broke out free apple juice from huge coolers and two little girls from our flight ran around serving it and they were covered with powdered sugar, too. And I noticed my new best friend — by now we were holding hands — had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing, with green furry leaves. Such an old country tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and I thought, This is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in that gate — once the crying of confusion stopped— seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women, too.

This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.”

~ Naomi Shihab Nye

I looked up Mamool Cookies as they are new to me and found this delicious sounding recipe which I shall try out soon.


Posted by on October 30, 2021 in Postaday2021, Uncategorized


Tags: ,

10 responses to “Kindness

  1. annemariedemyen

    October 31, 2021 at 8:06 pm

    What a beautiful story. How nice it would be if that was the new ‘normal’. 💗

    • mybeautfulthings

      October 31, 2021 at 9:53 pm

      Oh, wouldn’t it? Thank you for calling in and taking the time to comment, much appreciated. 😊

  2. nrhatch

    October 31, 2021 at 1:46 pm

    Kindness echoes!

    • nrhatch

      October 31, 2021 at 1:53 pm

      I just sent you an e-mail about disappearing ink . . . but my comment did post, just slowly. I guess it took its time traversing “the pond.” Happy Halloween!

      • mybeautfulthings

        October 31, 2021 at 3:39 pm

        Just saw your email and checked spam first then found you here, happily. Loved the email illustration, by the way. Happy Hallowe’en to you too. 🙂

    • mybeautfulthings

      October 31, 2021 at 3:38 pm

      Like smiles which just grow the more they are passed on, so with kindness. 🙂

  3. Sandra

    October 31, 2021 at 10:00 am

    I was reading some of Naomi’s poems just a few nights ago. It was the first time I’d really become aware of her writing. And now this beautiful account. Thank you! 😊

  4. Helen

    October 30, 2021 at 7:59 pm

    Beautiful. That made me smile after a harrowing day. 😘

    • mybeautfulthings

      October 30, 2021 at 9:33 pm

      I’m sorry you’ve had a hard day and glad Naomi’s experience made you smile. Love to you.

  5. saymber

    October 30, 2021 at 6:05 pm

    What a loving story – just on act of kindness .


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: