Page Three Random Acts

Page Three Random Acts

(Jahi Chikwendiu)
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

If stories about throwing up offend you, stop reading right now, but you'll be missing out on a sweet tale. Not to mention the accordion story right under it -- and, let's face it, a story about an accordion is a rare find in these modern times.

Sweet, but Not Sickeningly So

I am one of those unlucky women who is plagued with morning/afternoon/evening sickness during pregnancy. A few weeks into my first trimester, I had thrown up in all sorts of public places: the Silver Spring Metro (both the upper- and lower-level bus areas), in front of the White House (unintentional, I swear!), the Woodmoor Shopping Center parking lot, on exits off the Beltway, at the airport, at my doctor's office, at the church where I tutored and at work.

During all of those bouts of vomiting, only one person paused to ask how I was. That is, until my husband and I were returning from a rainy trip to the Home Depot in Silver Spring. Unable to risk opening my mouth, I frantically tapped his knee. He quickly pulled over, and I dashed out into the rain and started throwing up under a spindly little tree with about five leaves.

Another car pulled up, stopped, and an African American woman -- I am Caucasian -- stepped out and asked if I was okay and whether she could help. I thanked her and told her I was pregnant. She explained that she was a minister and a mother and asked if she could say a prayer for me and the baby, and I said sure. So, she held hands with my husband and me and said a prayer for us under that spindly little tree.

In an area known for discourtesy rather than courtesy, and in a world that seems intent on focusing on what divides us rather than what brings us together, I am still touched -- nearly three years later -- that this woman cared enough to stop her car, step out into the rain and hold my hand.

-- Anne Noel Occhialino, Silver Spring

A Gift That Kept on Giving

At our church potluck dinner, I played my accordion as part of the entertainment. A nun from the parish told me she hadn't played her accordion for years but had it in her closet. She then said, "I would like to give it to you." Several days later, I sent her a Macy's gift certificate in appreciation of the beautiful instrument.

The first week in December, I received a letter from the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary saying that the nun had purchased a winning raffle ticket for me. A check for $300 was enclosed.

They were having a Christmas toy drive at our parish, so I took the money and bought 33 presents for the children. I felt so good that I could bring joy into their lives, just as the nun had brought joy into my life.

Through the act of giving we also receive.

-- Nancy Leonard, Silver Spring

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