Our Gardener, Michael, lives with his grandparents in a small house at the bottom of a hill near the Embassy. The other day, a power surge took out Grandmother’s TV, which disrupted her life immeasurably. She likes to watch the soaps on TV. She was going to go down to the power company and chew their butts out for blowing her TV.
When Terese found out, being the loving and gracious person she is, she suggested to me the idea of giving her the old TV we picked up in Russia. Sounded good. So, the other day, I took Michael, the TV and his bicycle to his grandparents house. Terese didn’t go, because she had a bad head cold and didn’t want to risk getting them sick. I met his grandfather on the porch as I entered. He’s 84 years old, but looks like a hundred and ten; sporting a lot of teeth, but few in front. I clasp his hand gently and he clasped mine firmly. All four hands combined into one. For an old man, he had a warm, solid, muscular grip. He started bowing and I started bowing and before I knew it, we both were bouncing up and down. His dark eyes squinted as he continually smiled.
I entered the house and met his grandmother, whose hands I also gently clasped. She bowed as well as did I. She motioned for me to sit in what I felt was the choicest seat in the house, then using Michael as a translator, she offered me something to eat as if there was plenty of food in the house. I very graciously declined. She had her dark eyes as well, but she did little smiling. When Michael told her the TV was hers, she became most appreciative, holding my hand and bowing again, this time with moist eyes.
The house was small with rough wooden floors. A cloth covered the doorway into the next room. The walls were bare except for a few religious icons adorned with flowers. Michael set the TV up, and I secretly hoped it still worked. I hated to go through all this just to have it not work. He hooked the rabbit ears up and all he got was static. I thought, uh-oh. Then Johan, a little kid about 10-12 years old, picked up the remote and within 30 seconds had the TV programming itself. Where do these kids learn this stuff? When he got through, the TV was picking up all 3 channels.
When I left, we did all the clasping and bowing again. I climbed into my 4 wheel drive and climbed the rocking path back to the nearest road. A few days later, Michael told Terese that Grandfather was happy because Grandmother was happy. Grandmother was happy because someone who did not know her, gave her such a valuable gift.
Sometimes I forget my value in this world and how fortunate I am.