‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the night,
I had fitfully slept on a long airline flight
From Uganda to Amsterdam, and then to Atlanta
Where I’d finally be home to await our own Santa.

The couple beside me were speaking in Dutch,
So we nodded a greeting, but didn’t say much.
I knew none of their language, they knew little of mine.
But we somehow communicated, and things worked out fine.

At one point, the wife tried to turn on her light.
She needed her area a little more bright.
She stretched overhead, but the light was too high,
It remained out of reach despite her best try.

I leaned over and tapped on the screen that she faced
And showed where the “Light Switch” control had been placed.
She gave me her thanks with a warm, grateful smile
That left me smiling myself for a while.

Before long she pulled out some yarn that was green
And an odd knitting needle like nothing I’ve seen.
‘Twas a thin wooden skewer, but somehow it fit,
And I watched as she sat there and started to knit.

I couldn’t determine just what it would be,
A scarf? But it looked much too narrow to me.
It began as a square, with a point on one side.
My curiosity was difficult to hide!

I must have dozed off, and I later awoke
When she gave me a gentle and very light poke.
I looked up as she held up a tiny green tree
With a loop at the top, and she gave it to me.

“It’s lovely!” I said, and she knew what I meant.
Though my words were still foreign, my message was sent.
I handed it back, but then what did she do?
She shook her head, “No,” and she said, “It’s for you!”

I heartily thanked her; we both then had smiles
That stayed with us throughout all the rest of the miles.
The plane finally landed; we said our goodbyes.
I admit to a trace of a tear in my eyes.

I’ll never again see this husband and wife.
But I’ll think of her kindness the rest of my life,
Every year when we put up our own Christmas tree
And I hang up the ornament she’s given to me.

A small, thoughtful gesture can give us so much.
Just like a smile, or a soft, gentle touch.
From friends or from strangers, from sister or brother,
We brighten the world when we share with each other.

What happened on the plane was a wonderful ending to a very busy, productive, and rewarding trip to Uganda. In my next few blog posts, I’ll share some of my stories and experiences from Uganda. In the meantime, I hope everyone had a beautiful holiday season, and I wish all of you a very bright and promising New Year.

December 29, 2018
©Betty Liedtke, 2018

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