Who Needs An Academy Award When You Have the Fireplace Mantle?

“Hey Mom, could I have this copy of the Woodinville Weekly?”

My son, (whom I’ll call Slash for the purpose of respecting his requested privacy), lived at home during some of the years I wrote for our community newspaper in Woodinville, Washington.

He had never before asked to keep any of the copies of the newspaper, and I felt pleased he wanted to have a copy to treasure. I wondered what articles in the paper I had written that prompted his desire to save it.

Pondering this further, I decided to go ask which of my articles did he like so much.

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Why Are They So Happy About Nothing?

My Compassion sponsor trip to Veracruz, Mexico in January* opened my eyes to something that I hadn’t ever given much thought to. You don’t need a Princess cruise, or an iPhone or iPad to be happy. You actually don’t even need a coffeemaker. Naturally, you do need coffee to know true happiness, but you can cook coffee in a pot over an open fire. I learned that people can have chickens meandering through their small house made of cardboard and plywood and they will treat you with the warmest smiles and most affable hospitality you’ve ever known. The coffee served won’t taste like the fresh brew you’re familiar with, but that’s okay. It’s prepared for you with more love and attention than any Starbucks barista could ever hope to offer.

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I’m Not a Man (Everyone knows that. Or so I thought.)

Manuel with his mother Alma Rosa. They traveled in a bus for 14-hours to meet me in Veracruz.

Manuel thought I was a man. He thought this from the time I became his sponsor eight years ago. His mother, Alma Rosa, explained over lunch when we met in Veracruz last week. She told our interpreter Aaron that, in their mind, the name ‘Bronwyn’ is a man’s name. Compassion International, the ministry that connects sponsors with children in poverty, had sent me a letter in the beginning of my sponsorship asking me to not send pictures of my house or car or any picture displaying the luxury of my American life.

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Five Granola Bars for Manuel (and why I’m a changed person)

(l-r) Manuel’s mother Alma Rosa, Manuel, now age 12, and me. Photo by Yvonne Reynolds

“That trip changed me,” I said to Jerry this morning, referring to my recent January 22-28 Mexico Sponsor Tour.

Jerry took a chug-a-lug, gulp, snort of coffee from his gargantuan Mickey cup he bought at Disneyland.

Silence took hold of the moment. Then Jerry said, “I know. I see the change in you.”

I slurped my Irish Breakfast tea loudly (ok, Jerry didn’t snort and I didn’t slurp loudly, but I want to make sure you’re paying attention and you might nod off if I don’t add drama once in a while). But I did have Irish Breakfast tea and I did take a dainty sip before I asked, “In what way do you notice that I’ve changed?”

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The Day I Almost Sat on a Stranger (which was very recently)

I shove my debit card into the cash machine at the bank while Jerry waits in the car. My thoughts drift…la, la,la, I wonder why this bank has an armed guard at the front door? Was there a bank robbery here and they now need the extra security? …la, la, la, that has got  to be a very boring job, standing there all day, la, la, la, …

I punch the buttons, the machine clicks and cackles, then spits the money out. I hurry back to the car...la, la, la, why does the cash machine give us only twenties. I want tens…la, la, la, 

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