It’s Sunday at 6 a.m. as I limp to the park, my left knee mysteriously throbbing like a drum.
I hear someone weeping in the distance.
It’s a Latino girl in her car, crying the blues. Naturally, Joan of Bark goes over.
“What is it…are you okay?”
“No, I am no okee’.”
“Can I help?”
“No, my fad’en, she no come to help de-liva noos’.”
That’s why she looked familiar. She’s the local paper girl I see scampering around most mornings.
Now she’s crying harder.
“Listen, I was all set to run, but my knee hurts, so maybe this is a blessing in disguise.”
“A’ scuse me?”
“I’ll help you. Just tell me what to do.”
“No Senora, I cannot. You, you, yua’ Senora.”
Was that her way of saying I was old? No good turn goes unpunished, I’ll tell ya, but Joan still insisted.
“Come on. It’s okay. God sent me.”
See, this did the trick, because Latinos are famous for their faith. Just mention the Lady of Guadalupe and all bets are off.
“Okee.’ You dive?”
“Well, that’s not a great idea being Lucy behind the wheel, but I can make the drop.”
“A’ scuse me?”
“Deliver. I’ll deliver.”
“No, no, Senora toss out window. I dive slow.”
“No, we’re from Connecticut. We don’t toss.” I can’t say how many times I’ve rescued a Times in the gutter that didn’t quite make the step.
So for 45 minutes, as Conchita drove, I delivered the Sunday Times, my knee suddenly fit as a fiddle.
“Oh Senora, gracias, I pa’day’ fa you.”
“That’s great. A girl can’t get enough prayer. I’ll tell ya what. How bout we drive to Starbucks. I’ll treat.”
As she pulled up I said, “So, what’ll it be? Coffee, tea?”
“I no drink coff-iene. High bloud’ prussure’ Chocolata?”
I didn’t have the heart to tell her chocolate could send her and her bloud’ prussure’ to the moon, since she had such a rough morning already.
Oh what the hell.
I left her parked at the curb smiling like she had just won a contest.
As for me, I beamed, my day beginning so brightly, just being able to help.
Service…it could change the world.