You know what would be sad? If all the cherry blossoms got washed off the trees before we had even one perfectly nice day. Just as we closed the book on the wettest March on record (yes, that’s right), the sun appeared! We ventured out, blinking like moles emerging from their tunnel. Within an hour the skies first darkened and then opened up.

Never mind that it’s a squishy mess, I had decided I couldn’t wait any longer before getting something going in the garden. I looked wistfully at my packets of seeds, some of which were already rotting in the soggy bed outside the back patio. Fred Meyer has a nice selection of organic vegetable starts, which seemed a much safer bet.

The garden department has been redone and is mostly covered now. As luck would have it, the display I was interested in was just outside the covered area. I stood in a modest downpour, studying the varieties of lettuce starts. A man appeared at my side and greeted me with a cheerful smile. It took a few seconds before I realized he was a store employee.

“These here,” he said, indicating with a wave the display of plants, “I’m going to move these over there.” He pointed to the other side of the expanse. “Where they can get some sun.”

“This ‘sun’ you speak of,” I said. “I’ve heard tell of it, but haven’t seen it in these parts.”

“Ah, yes,” he agreed, a glint in his eye. “It’s a great yellow orb in the sky. A mythical orb. They say it has magical powers. It can make things grow and even make people cheerful!”

We joked around for a while, cracking ourselves up. I had found what I needed and he headed back to work. I thought about giving him the hundred I was carrying but worried about getting him in trouble.

The bill was weighing heavy in my pocket as I made my purchases and loaded up the trunk. It had started raining harder and I was pretty soaked. Shivering. All I could think about was getting home, putting on my slippers and changing out of my wet clothes.

I was pulling out of the lot when a man on a bicycle came riding alongside my car. I slowed down, grabbed my camera and snapped his photo.

I guess you could say I have a thing for men on bicycles. It started with this guy, who headed off on his own and rode his bicycle thousands of miles around SE Asia a few years ago.

Our son, Aaron, in Thailand

The very first hundred I gave away was to a guy on a bicycle (here), and there have been quite a few others since. I often find myself chasing after people, and bicyclists are easier to catch than those traveling by some other means.

I caught up with the man as he was locking his bike up on the rack. “Pretty wet day to be out riding!” I observed helpfully. “Oh, yeah,” he agreed, turning his full attention to me. “But I’m used to it. Been doing it for 20 years.” I asked him how that came to be and he explained that he doesn’t have a car. “I ride my bike everywhere. I don’t mind, though, since it gives me good exercise.”

I told the guy I had something I wanted to give him. “I’m paying forward a gift,” I explained. “I know the concept,” he said, looking me in the eye. “What is it?”

“Here.” I put the bill in his hand. “No!” he exclaimed. “You’re giving me this? It’s real? Wow!”

He thanked me and said that nothing like this had ever happened to him before. We shook hands and he told me his name was Dana.


When I asked what he thought he might do with the money, he didn’t miss a beat.”Buy groceries!”

We said a fond farewell. I thought I saw the sun, that mythical orb, trying to break through the clouds as I waved goodbye.





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