Monday, September 10, 2012

Staying Grounded

  We walked along the cobblestone streets. The dogs panted away, but trudged along right beside us. One of the infamous city “squares” sat straight ahead of us so we walked in and sat on one of the benches. The dogs immediately lied down. The exercise was unfamiliar to them. They got drinks and we all took in the sights.

  This particular square had a fountain in the middle of it. Live oaks surround the perimeter of the park. Spanish moss hangs lazily from the branches, fluttering easily in the wind. A squirrel rummaged around, unexcited with the flourish of people invading his space. Tourists walked through with their maps open, contemplating where to head next. Business people strolled by briskly undoubtedly heading to lunch. I breathed in all the sights and sounds, loving every minute of it.

  There was a young boy playing with an even younger girl. They both had khaki shorts on. Their hair was dark with curls, and their eyes were a beautiful light brown. There was no doubt in my mind that they were brother and sister. They brought a smile to my face watching how close they seemed to be. They came out from around the fountain one time with the boy carrying the girl on his back. They slowly walked up to us and started talking about the dogs. He let his sister down and asked if they could pet the dogs. Now, both our dogs are rescues and although friendly I never know how they will be around kids. Usually they just try to ignore them, or hide behind our legs. The kids came closer and unbelievably the dogs let those kids pet them. They talked with us for a few minutes as the dogs reaped the rewards of the pets. Goodbyes were said as the cute kids disappeared around the fountain again.

  Giving the dogs a long rest the Charmed One and I continued to take in the sights of the square and chat amongst ourselves about our next destination. Just minutes after their disappearance the kids came back one more time. The young boy, we guessed he was around eleven years old, asked us more questions about the dogs. His sister, probably about seven, tried to pet Alexis a little more. The Charmed One asked them if they lived in Savannah, or if they were just visiting. The boy stated they lived there, while his sister stood back up next to him. We asked if they liked it. He got quiet and nodded. They younger sister said she didn’t like it. When asked why she said they lived in a shelter. Big brother immediately tapped her on the shoulder and shook his head no. He then said they had to go as the shock of what just happened sunk in.

  I cannot tell you how those words impacted me. I’m sentimental to begin with, but the moments after those kids left tears escaped my eyes. The Charmed One and I both just sat with a loss for words, but not for tears. I don’t think anything has grounded me faster than that. I don’t think I will ever forget their faces, or the feeling we felt. We don’t carry much cash on us, but put together what we did have. It wasn’t much, but we walked over and gave it to the mother and father who were sitting in the shade cast from one of the live oaks. They didn’t want to take it, but we insisted. We turned around and left.

  The Charmed One and I always say we work hard to play hard. We enjoy taking little trips here and there, and have the luxury of buying a shirt or groceries without counting every penny. We are not rich, but we live comfortably. I thank my good Lord every day for what we have, and wish there was more we could do for families like that. That one instant from that day will stay with us forever, and always keep our feet firmly planted on the ground.

  What keeps you grounded? Do you have instances of homeless where you live? Have you ever encountered homeless children? What do you do to lift your spirits when something bad happens?  

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