August 19, 2008

Morning Inspiration and a Story

Nature inspires me. How many times have you heard someone say that?

This morning as I walked along the sidewalk to get in my car the sky was just beginning to lighten, still covered in deep gray and blue clouds from the rain. All was sleepy and still with the sound of rain dripping from leaves.

Driving down Mopac, I turned came around a curve was at the peak of a hill over-looking other rolling hills thickly covered by trees and white puffs of low-lying clouds whisping up into the sky.
It is remarkable to look at nature and see the works of God's hands. We have so much beauty always before our eyes--whether it is the brown tones of a thirsty landscape or the green hues of the rainy English countryside, I love to see creation.
Yesterday I was tired and sluggish, but thankfully I woke up this morning feeling well-rested. After months of sticky, hot mornings it was refreshing to feel the cool air on my face this morning. It must have been, like, 73 degrees! What a blessing to me.

The Story

Sunday night Daniel and I went out with some friends to Central Market to hear a live Jazz band and drink a little red wine. We sat on the edges of the park that stretches behind the store, below the patio where the band was playing. That way, our friends who had brought their small children could watch them play on the playscape while we sat at our table and chatted. There were many families there enjoying the music, food, and park.
After we'd been there for a couple of hours, I was sitting and talking with my good friend Annie when I noticed some sort of commotion going on at the table just beyond ours. Suddenly, a middle-eastern woman with a young child in her arms and a thick accent rushed over to our table and started shouting at us, Call the police! Call the police right now!
Surprised, we all looked at each other and then over to the table where the commotion was stirring. There was a very tall, very large black man, very obviously irate, and very obviously inebriated, glaring at the middle-eastern woman. And another middle-eastern man, a small, mousy-looking man (presumably the woman's husband), was standing nervously between his wife and the imposing man.
She started to get angry with us, I told you to call the police!! Do it now!!
One of the women with us took her phone and started talking to the lady, What will I tell them?
The middle-eastern woman shook a finger at the angry man, This man! This man is cussing at me! He is threatening me!
At that moment the angry man shoved past the woman's husband, attacking the woman. It was then I noticed Daniel had left his seat and was the only thing standing between the woman and this violent man. Daniel put his hands firmly on the man's arms, holding him in front of him and saying, Alright, talk to me, tell me what's going on.
In the midst of his slurring and cursing, we gathered that the woman's son had approached his Jack Russel Terrier, "claimed" the dog snapped at him, and the woman told him to get control of his animal. In his drunken state, apparently that was more than he could handle and he started after her.
As Daniel was finally making progress in calming the man down, the woman (foolishly) saw it as an opportunity to have the last word. She started shouting insults at the man, and he was immediately enraged again. The man then started shouting a string of racial slurs, telling her, This is why we bombed Iraq! Go back where you came from! Get back on the boat. Nobody wants you illegals here!..etc. Daniel never looked away from the man, saying firmly to him, You talk to me. We're talking, tell me about your dog, Virgil (his name was Virgil). What kind of dog is it?
Virgil quickly became distracted and looked Daniel in the face. He said, Okay, I want to listen to you. I want to talk to you.
Virgil placed his hands on Daniel's shoulders and stumbled towards him, backing Daniel into a tree. At that moment, his hands went up around Daniel's collarbone and it looked as if he was going to try and strangle him.
Foster, Annie's boyfriend, stepped into the picture, You need to take your hands away from his neck!
Daniel pushed Virgil's hands away from his neck, but Virgil turned to Foster angrily, I'm a black belt in karate!!
Come on, Virgil, Daniel took his arm, Let's talk. Keep talking to me.
The woman, still hysterical, child in her arms and her husband trying to pull her away, was intent on telling this man off. Of course this only served to upset his quick temper, so Daniel and Foster attempted to completely remove Virgil from the scene. At the table Virgil had been sitting at there was a group of people just as drunk as he, who had only slightly attempted to stop the confrontation.
Daniel turned to them, You need to take him out of here now.
At this point everyone with in 100 feet in all directions had turned to see what had happened, approaching sirens could be heard in the distance, and the Central Market warehouse boys had been sent to "deal with" Virgil.
Virgil's friends finally stepped into action and started dragging Virgil and his snappy dog into the park. Meanwhile Virgil was shouting at the middle-eastern couple, Your soul may belong to God, but your ass belongs to me!!
It must have been some movie quote, and he must have thought it sounded pretty good because he repeated it several times.
As Virgil was carried off by his intoxicated buddies, the middle-eastern man approached Daniel, Thank you, thank you. We are from Morocco; I'm an accountant; we pay our taxes; we are good people!
Daniel calmed him down and told him everything was all right, That man was crazy and drunk, you shouldn't take anything that he said seriously.
The police came and talked to the Moroccan family for a long time and the Central Market managers came to shake Daniel's hands, Thank you so much for keeping that under control. Thanks for stepping up and showing that chivalry isn't dead!
Meanwhile I drank the rest of the wine to drown the sound of my heart beating in my ears and help the shaking a little bit.
As usual, Daniel was the big hero and we walked away with a complementary $50.00 gift card from Central Market as thanks for our trouble.

And since our trouble really had given me some severe heart palpitations, I took that card and bought some gelato for myself.
Fifty bucks worth.

Not really though.


  1. I loved Daniel before this. He's a hero just like his Dad.


  2. You know, America would be a much better (safer, happier) place if men acted like Daniel did. Way to go! --Kari

  3. I agree--and thanks! I'll tell him.

  4. It was the warden on The Shawshank Redemption.