The Kindness of Strangers . . .

Perhaps the presence of my mother and I dining in a virtually empty hotel restaurant is what prompts Chef Lou to extend an offer of dessert and coffee.  Regardless, my mother, who likes attention from men, is in her element.  “Thank you,” she says, nodding coquettishly to the chef.

Chef Lou, who flew in to cook at an Oklahoma City food show, tells us he expected this trip to be uneventful.  “I’ve done thousands of these shows,” he says.  But finding a few hours at the end of his workday, he decided to visit the memorial to 168 men, women and children who lost their lives on April 19, 1995.

The collection of 149 adult- and 19 child-sized bronze-and-glass chairs representing the victims of the Murrah Federal Building bombing seems to float above the adjacent reflecting pool.  At sundown the chairs’ glass bases take on a soft, eerie glow illuminating the names of the dead.  “Such beauty from such sadness,” Chef Lou observes.

We finish our coffee and say our goodnights.  As I wheel my mother through the hotel lobby, Chef Lou catches my eye and nods before turning back to his plate.

so many empty chairs
touched by moonlight

Contemporary Haibun Online, vol. 8, no. 1, April 2012

For my mother, whose birthday I celebrate today (along with my anniversary).  No better traveling companion . . .


About Margaret Dornaus

I’m a writer and a teacher, as well as a haiku-doodler. I live in a beautiful woodland setting, surrounded by native oak forests, that inspires me to record haiku snapshots of luna moths and our resident roadrunner, and even an occasional black bear as it hightails it across the top of my road, my mongrel dog barking at its heels as I watch with wonder. My work as a travel writer has appeared in publications from The Dallas Morning News to the Robb Report. You can find examples of my travel writing–as well as excerpts from a travel memoir I’m working on–at my other WordPress site, Travelin’ On. What more than that do you need to know? Only that I started this blog with an eye toward collaboration. Got a haiku? Send it my way. . . . I’m all about new visions & voices. Best, Margaret
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