Texas is hot in mid June, but when my son needs my help with his boys, (N and G), I pack T-shirts, shorts, flip-flops, and sunscreen, fill my tank and head out.
Their backyard has a treehouse, a race track for the Power Wheel car, picnic tables, a new Coy pond, and the best things of all: the water hose and spray bottles. The action back there slows only for a snack, which happens hourly for this four and one year old. After two days of bug spray and bandaids, we decided to take a break and journey to Dallas via the train.
My early morning began with surprise donuts and strong, black coffee, thank you. Then we headed for the train depot. Running short on time, we parked, unloaded stroller and kids, and in nicked time purchased the tickets as the train blew its way to our stop. (Thanks again for buying my ticket, Dustin). Already our four year old, N, had found a buddy, Ben, who was traveling our way (with his grandmother). Onboard, randomly seated single people move to smaller seating areas to make room for our now party of six. Instant friends, N and Ben sat together on the ride and shared a two-player game on Ben’s iPad. The Grandmother and I positioned ourselves so we could watch our boys, and talk. The conductor came through checking for tickets, and it was then discovered that Dustin had accidentally purchased a two-day ticket for the west-bound zone, instead of our east-bound train. Although the conductor could have fined us $75. each, she was kind and patient as Dustin bought the correct tickets on his iPhone. By the time their stop came, N and Ben, and the Grandmother and I had become old friends. Our ride had been surrounded by nice people.
Our train stop was precisely at the front door of Dustin’s office. We off-loaded ourselves and pushed the stroller inside to find hardworking architects stopping dead in their design tracks to greet us. Smiles, handshakes and candy distribution for the little ones allowed me to forget about the smoldering heat found just outside of the all-glass building. Those HKS employees kept standing and talking….were they being hospitable or just needing a break? The way my day had been going, I think hospitable. Then the fresh fruit man rolled his cart down the aisle, stopped to talk to the kids and gave each an apple and an orange. What? Yes, that company supplies healthy snacks for their employees and guests. How gracious of them. Was it too early to say, ‘only in Texas?’
Next we strolled back outside and over to a new building Dustin had recently worked on. The security guard knew my son, and was only too happy to see him and be introduced to me. He gave me permission to take pictures of the lobby’s beautiful art, and kindly agreed to unlock the private lobby bathroom for a needed diaper change.
Outside again, we let the kids run wildly in the green grass of a shady park, and that’s when G ran straight for a ledge with a nine 9 foot drop. He was getting away from me….but on the sidewalk below a well dressed business man saw the whole thing taking place, and he stopped, ready to catch G if he jumped. Thankfully G stopped. I ask that man if he had been ready to catch a baby, and he said yes, because he had one about the same age at home, and he understood. That man was smiling; willing to be a savior, he was a Texan.
By then we needed a cookie, so we headed for Neiman Marcus for one of the best cookies on our planet. At the counter, we searched and picked out the special one, only to be told that section of the department wasn’t open yet. We chose an alternative treat, and as the lady rang us up, she threw in two ginormous lolly pops, just because. Her sweetness matched the contents of my purchase!
Although we were hot, tired and ready for the backyard hose and squirt bottles, I was feeling blessed. Lots of people had been nice, kind, generous, gracious, helpful, and sweet to us. How could I give back?
As we unloaded at our stop, I asked Dustin what I should do with my unused two-day, west-bound zone ticket. With kindness and generosity from his heart, he took it from my hand and placed it in the tray where purchased tickets slide out of the kiosk, so that someone buying a west-zone ticket could easily find it. Be still my heart, Texas generosity begins at home, at ninety-six degrees.