“Every pious desire, every good thought, every charitable work inspired by the love of Jesus,
contributes to the perfection of the whole body of the faithful.
A person who does nothing more than lovingly pray to God for his brethren,
participates in the great work of saving souls.”
Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich
(the Sheriff with that hair of his, borrowing his sister’s old ride / Julie Cook / 2019)
So this is a picture of my dining partner last night.
Well, actually this is a pre-dining picture…
And no, we are not trying to be gender-neutral people by having him ride around in a pink walker…
he’s simply using his sister’s old walker until Santa brings him his very own boy walker at Christmas.
I like the notion of boys being boys and girls being girls…girls use pink, boys use blue…
but that’s another story for another day.
This is actually the dining picture—as in, I was eating while he was sleeping.
(The Sheriff the perfect dining partner / Julie Cook / 2019)
Here is a picture of who my dining partner is 99.9% of the time—
it is a pre-dining picture as well:
(The Mayor enjoys the kitchen cabinets / Julie Cook / 2019)
I would offer you a dining picture of the Mayor but her mother had to take her outside
while we were waiting for our dinner to arrive as her behavior was not dining acceptable…
Not by us, and I’m certain, not by any neighboring tables.
Think lassoing a bull who is hell-bent on independence but is in dire and immediate need of
help in maneuvering silverware, glassware, drinks with straws and ice along with very hot food
all the while refusing to sit in a booster seat or highchair because no one else in the party
is doing so and therefore the bull, I mean Mayor, demands to sit in a chair or booth
like everyone else and thus the dining experience becomes more of a wrestling match
interspersed with a few shrieks of defiance.
This all from a child who is long accustomed to dining out and who has been no bother,
that is, up until the last couple of months of which she has become the independent
nearly impossible handful.
We are a family that believes in removing unruly children from the surrounding
environment as it is terribly unfair to those in near proximity seeking to have
a “nice” evening out.
We did so with our son ages ago and we are doing so with his offspring.
Booths in the back of a dark restaurant or closest to the bar with music blaring
loudly has become good for us.
Both distraction and cover for and from our defiant one.
I suppose I should have taken a picture of the empty booth across from me while the
sleeping Sheriff beside me allowed me to eat unincumbered.
Once the Mayor and her mother returned, I took over with the Mayor,
as the Mayor happily decided that the perfectly cooked hand-cut french fries made for
a delightful spoon for the homemade accompanying ketchup.
This way, the Mayor’s mother did get to eat…but then the Sheriff woke,
needed a bottle, so it was still eating with one hand.
Good food and good drink, gobbled down, one-handedly with a bull sitting,
not to be confused with Sitting Bull, in one’s lap is usually the course
And so you say, stay home…don’t go out…especially with the Mayor.
And that would make sense.
But sometimes the Mayor’s mother needs to be out in the real world and I want
that for her.
So we hope, pray and go forth.
My motto as a young mother was ‘have baby will travel’…that now-grown baby
is keeping the same motto with his own kids.
And I will say that not all outings are disasters or nerve-wracking as we take
the calm behavior with the bad.
Such is life with a 22-month-old.
And so when it’s just the four of us, the Mayor, the Sheriff, their mom and me—
we’ll out we go…someplace good but still casual enough that the noise level is up.
Yet when Da and DaDa are along—things do tend to go smoother and thus nicer restaurants
may be chosen.
So why all this talk about dining out with unruly ones?
Well I was reminded the other day, when I caught a news clip, of the images of the more
liberal lawmakers out there calling for the minions of liberalism to do what they can
to make life miserable when seeing a member of the opposing party out and about.
As in derail and disrupt and make miserable.
I think it was Maxine Waters who I saw loudly announcing at a rally a few months back,
and this is a paraphrased quote of her rally speech…
“If they (they being Republicans, Conservative lawmakers, and the same
like-minded news folks) are out eating at a restaurant or are out in public doing what
folks out in public do…
go up to that table, or wherever it is they are, make them miserable until they
get up and leave.”
And so I was pondering that very notion the other night while I was eating
with my small sleeping partner and the Mayor was out strolling with her mom,
that we, as a family, go out of our way to ensure that those around us,
no matter their political leanings or life leanings are not disturbed in any sort of way.
They are paying good money hoping to have a nice evening out amongst themselves,
the last thing they want is a screaming baby or toddler interrupting their cherished time.
It matters not that their life’s choices, thoughts and or beliefs differ from mine…
what matters is that they are people who deserve nothing more nor nothing less than
me and my family.
Maxine Waters could be sitting next to us and if our kids started acting up,
out they’d go.
So maybe that’s the difference.
Maybe that’s the difference that lies at the center of the divide of this nation.
We believe that everyone deserves our courtesy and kindness…matters not who they are
or what they have or don’t have, believe or don’t believe.
And so perhaps it’s the whole ‘doing unto others as we would want done unto us’
mentality that is at the core of all of this…
As we sit at the waning of one year and the soon to be start of a new year…
maybe the idea of both courtesy and kindness could begin to make a healing difference
helping to mend some of this divide of ours…
Stop and think about those others around you…
you would certainly want them to treat you with kindness…
so treat them as you would want to be treated…with courtsey and kindness…no matter who
your are or who they are.
“Jesus has many lovers of His heavenly kingdom, but few cross-bearers.
Many desire His consolation, but few His tribulation.
Many will sit down with Him at table, but few will share His fast.
All desire to rejoice with Him, but few will suffer for Him.
Many will follow Him to the breaking of the bread,
but few will drink the bitter cup of His Passion.
Many revere His miracles, but few follow the shame of His cross.
Many love Jesus when all goes well with them, and praise Him when He does them a favor;
but if Jesus conceals Himself and leaves them for a little while,
they fall to complaining or become depressed.
They who love Jesus purely for Himself and not for their own sake bless Him
in all trouble and anguish as well as in time of consolation.
Even if He never sent them consolation, they would still praise Him and give thanks.
Oh how powerful is the pure love of Jesus, when not mixed with self-interest or self-love!”
Thomas à Kempis, p. 88-89
An Excerpt From
Imitation of Christ