Karma and so much more

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It has been such a rough year and there have been way too few occasions to celebrate in 2016. We were quietly observing our wedding anniversary tonight and in the almost deserted mom and pop Italian restaurant there was eventually only two other diners, a young couple who were obviously beginning their own slow waltz. He had the look of a hard life already worn into him and it was hard to tell about her because she had her slouch hat pulled far down on her head and was seated with her back to us. We exchanged words and as the conversation unfolded he expectantly told us they were heading to NYC for the ball drop at New Year’s in Times Square and peppered my husband with questions about the drive to New York.  We eventually shared that we were celebrating our own anniversary of 43 years, compared to their one month celebration.

We also heard more about other details in his obviously hard life, most made by himself but others by the misfortune of poor luck and genetics. In the midst of his story was the revelation he had cared for both his mother and his sister who were in wheelchairs for years due to a degenerative genetic muscle wasting disease but were now deceased. There was no mention of our own questionable health in the conversation and our canes were well hidden under the table.

It was clear from his words that he was doing his best to turn the corner and his life around. A short while later as we were finishing our meal and the server had dropped our bill on our table, he got up and approached our table and put down two crumpled twenty dollar bills and stated they wanted to treat us to our anniversary dinner. We protested, but he said he wanted to make it a deposit on good karma for their own future. I had to tell him sorry, but he would need to take back his money and use it in Times Square to buy chestnuts, pretzels and a deli corned beef sandwich, and then made them promise to give each other a kiss at the stroke of midnight in our honor. Reluctantly he agreed to the money return, and we left wishing each other a happy new year.

As we paid our bill at the register, a quaint checkout custom of this particular spot, my husband and I looked at each other and immediately knew what to do – we put down a deposit on our own good karma and paid their bill in addition to our own, and then we walked out the door with a smile on our faces. May you all find someone to celebrate with as we move into this next year, and find ways to bring good karma to us all.

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