Mrs. T's Gift

Thoughts from Dr. Joe by Dr. Joe Puglia

It was a beautiful Sunday morning.

I was staring at a blank screen on my computer sitting at a table between Zeli's and Rite-Aid. I knew the symptom, brain freeze. I've been there before?it was writer's block and the more I starred at that screen, the more I wanted to head for the hills.

My inspiration, Kaitzer, was off somewhere with Sabine and Simone. Since it was the weekend, I was unable to call in the 'heavy guns,' Carol Cormaci, my editor. She has cured me of this condition more than once.

I was alone, unheralded, adrift, and couldn't even take my own advice, "A writer starts to write by writing." Instead, I focused on the words of James Joyce. When asked how he began to write he replied, "I stare at a blank page until my ears bleed."

Then, as I was closing my computer, heading to the hills, Providence intervened, the heavens parted and so did the sea, and there she stood like a miracle to me. It was Mrs. T (Emilie Toomarian), a neighbor. And she eloquently said, "Since my street is all tore up, I don't think you'll be able to bring your children to 'trick or treat.' Within the blink of an eye she handed me two delicious packages of candy. "This is for them," she said, "Happy Halloween."

This is it! This is worth writing about. It's community and I knew at that very moment, this is where I want to be.

The origin of the word community comes from the Latin, 'munus,' which means 'the gift;' and 'cum,' which means, together, among each other. Community then literally means "to give among each other." Thus, community is a group of people who share gifts. I knew studying Latin would eventually amount to something!

Mrs. T's gift of candy is a metaphor. Her actions have far reaching effects depicting not only what holds people together, but also what holds an individual together. Community initially arises from mutual interests and common aims. These pursuits are later strengthened by benevolent impulses that grow. The demands of community: friendship, loyalty, generosity, and assistance to the point of self-sacrifice, are potent encouragements to moral maturation and even ennoblement. It takes a dime to be decent and if done enough our community could amass a fortune.

My reflections of this past weekend centered on a kaleidoscope of happenings that continually play the heartstrings of this town. At the Halloween Haunt at LCE, Amy Heidemann's friend Laura, from Minnesota, said, "This is the busiest town in America." I betcha anything that what Laura meant by 'busy' was involvement; doing, and giving. By putting Laura's comment in context, it was easy to see the tremendous efforts of the moms and dads to make the Halloween Haunt such a great success.

Because of Mrs. T's unexpected appearance in that little patio near Zeli's, I knew what to look for; writing this piece would be easy after all. Thus, my sharpened sense of awareness carried me well into Halloween night.

Molly Quiring's house was the culmination of the weekend and represented a group of people sharing gifts. It was a Halloween open house with families coming and going; older children helping the younger ones through the 'maze;' with laughter, excitement and frivolity.

Maybe the answer lies in small and simple things, the community. We're always on the brink toward greater revelations and it seems as though there are just a few loose ends missing. Maybe all that it takes is a glance toward our neighbor and we will find what we seek.

Thoreau says, "It's surprising to know how many great people a small house will contain. I've had many souls under my roof, and yet we often parted without being aware that we had come very near one another."

Thanks, Mrs. T, for the idea and the gift! I closed my computer, the day was still young, and I headed for the hills.

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