By Lettie • September 18, 2020

One afternoon transformed me!

In a moment, every word I'd ever learned about love was translated into flesh and blood and pulsated with life!

I'd flown across the country to attend a special ceremony at Fort Benning, Georgia, and for the weekend my son and I spent hours and days together in Columbus, the small town there. Being a vegetarian, I'd prepared a list of cafes and restaurants that offered some selection of non-meat options. One cafe whose menu I wanted to try was behind, and many blocks away from the main street , but we eventually found it and entered.

Now I'm blue-eyed Irish-American but my son looks Asian (his father is Japanese). I noticed that, like Columbus itself, the room was filled with civilian and soldiers alike, and there were persons of many races, genders and age. The place was so cheerful.

When we'd finished eating I was waiting for the restroom to have a vacancy; an older Black customer, dressed in a Spring Green suit and hat came headed to the restrooms and I quietly said to her, "Oh, someone is still in there."

She looked at me with a cheerful, sweet smile and said, "Why thank you!"

THEN she turned to my son dressed in his military uniform, chatting with him, and suddenly, exuberantly gave him a huge hug, telling him he was such a fine man, that he'd made a smart decision to choose a military career, and that she was thankful for his service!

My son shyly thanked her, nodding, with "Thank you, Ma'am" many times.

But in this sudden short encounter, I was given the gift that I desperately needed...because up until that point I was so constricted with intense worry and supreme loneliness, being the only person there that weekend to support my son, but also being the one person tormented about his choice.

Yet here was a beautiful black mother, a bundle of loving energy, wrapping my son (who looked like his father's family who survived Hiroshima) in her arms and encouraging him, in front of a quiet white woman barely holding it all together.

The compass I use for all life's moments now, is THIS moment in an out-of-the-way cafe where many world's met and a robust and instantaneous love won over all!


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