Yesterday was my second favorite day of the year (coming only after the Tuesday after Labor Day), thanks to the combination of American national pride and propensity to litter which bears fruit--or rather bears chicken--on a few major holidays. Pickings were even better this year than usual, I guess because people didn´t have money to pay for those trips to the Hamptons (although I doubt most Flatbush residents have houses in the Hampton) or the beach or wherever. Anyway, EVERYBODY was at the park, and EVERYBODY was eating chicken and hot dogs, and HARDLY ANYBODY was using the trash cans. Heaven.
But the story I wanted to tell isn´t about a discarded bone I found scattered in the grass, or a random scrap of meat which some human had somehow lost in the hand to mouth trajectory. These are the orts (has that word ever been used in a non-crossword puzzle context before?) that adult humans deign to leave me, and only when I can get them before my mother attempts to get them back. And even that is less humiliating than the "generous" folks in the dog park, who give me tiny, dessicated pieces of synthetic Chinese-factory-waste cardboard, and only after a whole ritual where they ask my mom if I can have them and try to get me to jump through hoops and then make jokes about my weight. I had assumed that such stinginess and cruelty was innate to humans, but I was reminded that this is a learned behavior by an encounter with a little girl in the park on Saturday.
This little girl, maybe 3 years old, was walking with her mom, a few feet away from the family barbecue. To be honest, I was distracted by other smells and didn´t even notice that she was carrying a fresh-off-the-grill-and-into-the-bun hot dog. So I was ready to walk right on by, when this little girl just spontaneously--no asking mom "can I give him a treat?", no cutting off a tiny little piece, no throwing something into the grass and making me root for it--removed her entire hot dog (not a bite taken) and placed it gently in my mouth. And then before I could thank her, or get her address so I could mail myself to her, went on her way.
There is kindness out there. I know sometimes it seems dark, but I wish for all of you that when you need it most, you get your unbidden hot dog--or whatever the equivalent is for you. And don´t forget to be the little girl sometimes too.