Friday, February 14, 2014

Today I met the lady who feeds the birds

It was a chance meeting.

Along the aisle in a supermarket.

I flashed her a smile as she walked towards me.
She stopped and asked, "Why are you smiling?"
I answered "Because life is good."
She laughed; and before I knew it, she was telling me about needing peanuts, for the birds she feeds, because they like peanuts. She feeds them. The pigeons often land on her hand allowing her to to stroke their wings. She knows it's because they want the peanuts.  I think they like the warm, kind touch too.  I watch her as she speaks. She reminds me of the lady on Home Alone II who fed the pigeons in Central Park.
She pulls out an almost empty bag of peanuts. The bag that needs to be replenished. I thought she was done as she pointed to the selection of peanuts, but that was only the tip of the peanut shell.  I learned where she was from, where she had lived, people she had met. I learned her name, Anne Marie. She asked me if I knew her heritage. "Scottish" I answered apprehensively. I was right. She said that  all her Italian friends call her Anna Maria.
I sensed that she had so much more to share.
She did.
After several minutes we found a moment of silence, bid each other a great day and headed in separate directions.
Only to find a few minutes later she was heading right for me and began a new conversation. The diseases she once had and the miracles of healing she experienced. She asked, "Do I believe in Saints?" I answered,  "I sure do"
I noticed that she had her container of peanuts, but she wasn't in a hurry to feed the birds. I learned more about her health issues and got advice on the many products I shouldn't buy because they caused cancer, diabetes, and other serious illnesses.
Another brief moment of silence.
I wished her a wonderful day.
She did too, and she continued to walk with me. We talked some more.  Then as quickly as we began our conversation she ended it. She saw a familiar face, called out and rushed to him. He welcomed her and her stories.
I wished her a great day and made my way. She flashed me a smile and wished me a great day too.
I could hear bellowing voice. She wasn't at a loss for things to share.
I continued down the aisle. Her voice was fading.
And just like that, she was gone.
I thought about what her life was like. Did she live alone? Were these conversations her only connection with others. Would she remember me?
I don't know if I will ever see Anne Marie again.
I'll keep an eye out.
Who knows, maybe one of the pigeons she feeds will lead me to her.

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