Monday, January 9, 2006

Eating in a Raincoat

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. -Albert Einstein

Did anyone catch ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition last night? Ty Pennington and the Sears crew built a home about 15 minutes from where I'm staying in Wichita, Kansas. It was the talk today... everybody speculating about the family with five girls who got the new home.

"How in the world will they pay the taxes on that thing?" one guy asked.

"Yeah, I'm sure they didn't think about that when they walked in their faaaancy new house," the guy next to him agreed.


As if the first thing you think when someone custom-builds you a brand new house - for free- is, "Crap. Now my property value is as high as Courtney Love. Tear it down."


So I'm standing in the courthouse... trying to work... when another lady joins in. "I just don't know why nothing great ever happens to me," she whines. And I mean - whines. I think I even see tiny little men in suits playing tiny little violins on her shoulder.

But admittedly, she made me think: do some people really have all the luck? Do blondes really have more fun? Does life pick on some of us more than others? How are some people so content and others so.... well .... miserable??

It's all I thought about while driving to lunch at the Smokehouse Restaurant. Where the special of the day wasn't the promised Pot Roast, but was instead the terrible Tuna Casserole. (Last minute substitution.)

Terrible tuna, I think. I'll go have a salad at McDonald's.

Whatever. I sat down in Smokehouse anyway. It's freaking cold up here in Kansas, and the thought of getting out again - when I'd worn my green raincoat instead of my big, dumpy, Eskimo-figure-friendly black overcoat - changed my mind.

So I sat. And I ordered. And I sat. (Food at the Smokehouse takes awhile. They must have a problem with their smokehouse.)

And then I hear it... singing. But not just any singing. Singing that sounds like a harmonious blend of Josh Groban and Michael Buble. And it's coming from behind me. It's singing that song that George and Mary Bailey sing after their pool dance in It's a Wonderful Life...

Buffalo Gals, won't you come out tonight,
Come out tonight, come out tonight.
Buffalo Gals, won't you come out tonight
And dance in the light of the moon.

I turned and looked. It was this gentleman wearing a derby hat and an apron over his clothes. He sat in a wooden chair in the carpeted restaurant entry and sang from It's a Wonderful Life for nearly 20 minutes.

He sounded like an angel.

My substituted promised Pot Roast food came, and of course I managed to gracefully snort my Diet Coke and spit half of it out while choking/coughing to death. Classy, you dork, I think as I dread looking down at my shirt. And then I remember. I wore my green raincoat today.

Then it hit me. Of course, some people don't really have all the luck. Blondes don't really have more fun. Life doesn't pick on some of us more than others. And people really are content and others are so.... well .... miserable... because they chose to be. Because it's all in how we look at things.

I mean, gosh, I was saved by a green raincoat today. While eating a terrific meal I never otherwise would have tried if the promised Pot Roast had been there. While being serenaded by a derby-wearing angel who knew every lyric in, believe it or not, the movie appropriately entitled It's a Wonderful Life.

It's the little things, you know? The days you sit to eat in your raincoat and end up standing rapt in awe....

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