It’s easy to get caught up in your own stuff. I was pretty caught up in mine tonight as I read Facebook and scanned email for a note from my son while I waited at the food carts in downtown Portland. My son, who’s been mad at me for a year, missed both Mother’s Day and my birthday (a big one) but I notiiced he’d made a point of wishing another relative a belated happy birthday on Facebook. Lucky her, I guess. Not so lucky me.
As the food cart owner handed me a bowl of fattoush, it crossed my mind to perch on the curb but I thought better of it. “Where’s a good place to sit?” I asked, since there weren’t any tables and chairs. The owner directed me down the block to a fountain shut off for lack of water where children used to play. Now people who are homeless hang out there in the early evening. I was good with that, but felt a little sad about no kids splashing in the fountain.
So I walked a couple of blocks up with my packaged salad and found a stone bench. Up above the empty fountain, some young men were lounging with backpacks and sleeping bags. I kept my distance, when along came a woman in a tutu and crop top (This IS Portland) pulling a wagon of water, cheese sticks and breakfast bars. “Donations Appreciated,” her sign said. I cringed and hugged my salad to myself feeling a little irritated that I couldn’t eat a salad and feel sorry for myself in peace. Of course she was going to come by and ask for a donation.
But she walked right on past me and called up to the homeless-looking crowd above the fountain. “Want some water? I have cheese sticks too.” Several men came down and took some food and water. She ignored me altogether, and eventually disappeared around the corner. I thought maybe I should I track her down. Not only was she feeding homeless people but she was fulfilling a big fantasy of mine: dressing like a fairy godmother. Although I have to admit that I’d never do the tutu thing. A tulle dress, maybe, but my body is way too much like a sack of potatoes for a tutu and crop top. I moved across the square to get away from a phone conversation full of F You’s and not very conducive to digestion. I was thinking I might have missed the tutued water fairy for good when she came around the corner again with her wagon. I opened my purse and took out all change I had (a whopping 4 dollars) and she told me anything would help more than I knew. After a young child also gave her a donation, she moved on. By then, I had totally forgotten my grief over a son who’d dissed me big time, and I became intent on getting her photo. So I chased her up the block and asked to take her picture. She agreed and there she was, saying she didn’t judge. She was just doing what she could. I wanted to hug her for pulling me out of the depths. She really was a fairy godmother to me tonight. And I’ll keep her in my prayers. Thank you, sweet tutued lady. Thank you and God bless you.