Mamool Cookies and Interesting Friends

Hello everyone.
Again……. a pretty slow and easy week, except for winter, which is coming hard and fast. I think I actually saw frost outside the other morning! (But of course I was imagining it, as it doesn’t get that cold here).   Sorry all you Northern Hemispherers!  Australians have their seasons divided into four three month sections, and while I thought June 1st was a bit premature to start Winter, by June 2nd the comforter on the bed felt pretty good!

Last week I talked about calming down and settling into the life we have and the tasks we have to do.  I’m happy to say that it’s been working well, due in no small part to your prayers. Thank you! I’ve joined a Women’s Bible study that I think I’m going to like, Tony’s pouring himself into some projects (more on that soon), and the grandkids, as always, continue to be cute.  We’ve commented to ourselves on several occasions this week, “We’re living the dream.”

In fact, I’m so relaxed that I’ve actually stopped thinking about traveling all the time………well, almost.  But then I came across this post from a friend the other day, and just had to nod my head in agreement.

Let me say this: I like people.  I like a LOT of people.  I find people interesting, and so during this time of enforced isolation, I’ve been a little out of sorts. I guess that’s partly why I found this story a bit insightful about  myself and about why I find traveling so invigorating.

In light of the rough week the world has had, especially in America, and to some extent here with a few of the rallies spilling over to include some of our Australian problems, I think you might find this little story very apropos.

It was written by an Arab-American poet, Naomi, Shibab Nye.  She was the keynote speaker at last year’s Christian Scholars Conference. She talks about “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal”.

Her words:

“After learning my flight was detained 4 hours, I heard the announcement:
‘If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.’“Well—one pauses these days, but Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly. ‘”Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
problem? We told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
did this.’

“I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly. ‘Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick, sho bit se-wee?

“The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—
she stopped crying. She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
following day. I said ‘No, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late’

“’Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.’ We called her son and I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and would ride next to her—Southwest.

“She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for 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 about 2 hours.

“She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade Mamool cookies—little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of 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 traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.

“And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—
non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
and lemonade 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 traveling tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

“And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, this is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped —has 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.”

And back to me, Marsha, I am reminded that not all is lost. Reading this story I immediately thought of the verses in  Matthew 25:37-40.  How these words of Jesus must resonate with us at this trying time,

“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?  ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?  ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

May we all come across some ‘interesting people’ this week!


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