Sometimes help comes from the least expected place.
Sometimes help comes when we don’t know we need it.
Sometimes it comes in a few sentences rolled into a few paragraphs.
A passage from My Italian Bulldozer. *
He stood up. “Well, I must continue with my journey,” he said.
“One never gets anywhere unless one leaves,” said the alimentari woman.
This was the signal for all four of his companions to get up to their feet. As Paul made his way across the piazza, they walked beside him, as if they were a group of friends seeing off one of their number. When they reached the bulldozer, the alimentari woman reached into a bag she was carrying and took out a small cake, wrapped in muslin cloth.
“This is for you, signore,” she said, pressing the gift into his hands. “For your journey, in case you should feel hungry.”
Paul put the cake in his pocket. “You’ve been so kind to me,” he said.
And suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, he began to weep. He felt the tears welling up and knew that he could not stop them. There was no reason for him to cry—but often our tears have no particular justification; they are tears for something larger about the world than any private sorrow. So now he wept for the whole notion that there should be a tiny village that nobody visited, and that there would be people there who would be kind to a stranger. He wept for the bigger, louder world that shouted such places down; for the loss of the particular, the local and the familiar. He wept for people who had restaurants in which people ate their lunch, for people who sold cheap toys and newspapers and combs, for people who grew olive trees that failed to give a crop, for people who thought that Rome did not really care about them. He wept too because he had not really wept over the loss of Becky to the personal trainer, and now at last he could do that too.
And remarkably, they understood, and the vegetable woman put her arms about him and embraced him and said, “Come back and see us one day.”
He wiped his tears away, burning with embarrassment over his display. It had been a complete over-reaction to a moment of emotion, and he felt ashamed of himself. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I was thinking of other things.”
“We all cry,” said the alimentari woman. “There is much to cry about.”
He tried to smile. “Thank you. But I feel very stupid.”
“You’ve lost something,” said the woman.
He started to reply, but became silent, and simply nodded. She was right; he had lost something—something that he had thought he possessed, but had not. And now a stranger—somebody he had met only minutes before and whom he would never see again—had pointed it out to him.”
This passage leaves me indebted to the author.
It unlocked my tears, sent them flowing for days.
Tears for my daughter-in-law fighting Stage 4 cancer. We Can Do Mother’s Day
Tears for her one-year old daughter, my beloved grandchild.
Tears for her husband, my son who experienced his Dad’s death from cancer as a young man and now faces the prospect of losing his wife to cancer.
Tears for all who suffer and weep.
*Novel by Alexander McCall Smith
“The best-selling author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series returns with an irresistible new novel about one man’s adventures in the Italian countryside.
“Paul Stuart, a renowned food writer, finds himself at loose ends after his longtime girlfriend leaves him for her personal trainer. To cheer him up, Paul’s editor, Gloria, encourages him to finish his latest cookbook on-site in Tuscany, hoping that a change of scenery (plus the occasional truffled pasta and glass of red wine) will offer a cure for both heartache and writer’s block. But upon Paul’s arrival, things don’t quite go as planned. A mishap with his rental-car reservation leaves him stranded, until a newfound friend leads him to an intriguing alternative: a bulldozer.
“With little choice in the matter, Paul accepts the offer, and as he journeys (well, slowly trundles) into the idyllic hillside town of Montalcino, he discovers that the bulldozer may be the least of the surprises that await him. What follows is a delightful romp through the lush sights and flavors of the Tuscan countryside, as Paul encounters a rich cast of characters, including a young American woman who awakens in him something unexpected.
“A feast for the senses and a poignant meditation on the complexity of human relationships, My Italian Bulldozer is a charming and intensely satisfying love story for anyone who has ever dreamed of a fresh start.” Amazon.com