March 3, 2022- The little toddler looked over at me, from her booster seat, and began to twirl her still-wrapped straw, as other family members were eating. I was waiting for my own meal to be served, so I picked up my still-wrapped straw and began to play with it, thus engaging the child for a bit. Across the room, the bartender/server was watching me, with some consternation, until her busser remarked that there was a baby involved. Thus, I avoided being carted off by the White Coat Squad.
The day had started with a check of my Saturn’s computer system, and a reset of one of the warning lights. That done, I headed to Phoenix, and commemorated Penny’s passing, which was eleven years ago, this Saturday. Flowers, prayers and reflection at the gravesite do not minimize her remaining spiritual presence, all these years later. At the end of my day in the city, an hour or so was spent with a resilient soul, who has cultivated paternal and avuncular relationships with a good many young people, the world over. I cannot hold a candle to “Uncle Lal”, in that regard.
Getting back to the initial story: I had stopped at a steak house, just southeast of Prescott Valley, which I hadn’t visited in over a year. I like taking one of the high top tables, which are just suited for either single diners or couples. Across from my table was the family of five, including the engaging little girl. In between her acceptance of bites of food offered by her mother, she would hold up two fingers and point to herself, which I took to mean that she was two. Then she would point at me, and again at herself, and hold up two fingers.
It was a simple message, recognizing that none of us are ever really alone.