Just like that.
"Wow," I thought. "He's really got the spirit."
His show of selfless generosity is just one of the sheer acts of friendship and kindness that have come our way ever since we started dealing with cancer, chemotherapy, and the tragic loss of my eyebrows in the next few weeks. That's in sharp contrast to what's been going on in the rest of the world this time of year, where time-honored Thanksgiving holiday pursuits like dozing in front of football or otherwise slipping gently into a tryptophan coma after the consumption of large quantities of food have been replaced by a mindless Black-Friday frenzy of shopping.
Starting as early as Thanksgiving night, shootings and stabbings were reported at retailers in several states. One of the most violent episodes happened at a Kohl's in Romeoville, when an alleged shoplifter dragged a police officer from his car before being shot in the arm by other law enforcement officers present at the scene. Another happened in Las Vegas, when two assailants reportedly attempted to steal a TV from a man who had just bought it. After arguing, the man was shot in the leg before the attacker sped off in his car, leaving the TV behind. Knifings occurred in both Virginia and California, with the former attack apparently caused by a dispute over a choice parking space at a local Walmart. And besides those jolly holiday gun-and-knife happenings, there were dozens and dozens of reports of crazed consumers pushing, shoving, punching, scratching, biting, swearing and otherwise behaving like a room full of rabid raccoons fighting over a single garbage pail.
"They're crazy," said my spouse after watching news coverage of an especially rancorous tussle in an area big-box store.
"No, they're shopping," I replied.
Come to think of it, we were both right, because somehow we've all managed to transform the generous act of giving at this time of year into something kind of, well, ugly.
So I've got an idea.
Instead of overreacting to all these crazy, made-up shopping days, perhaps we should make up a few of our own that are more in tune to the real reason for the season. So instead of Black Friday, maybe we could celebrate Magnanimous Monday. Or Warm-hearted Wednesday. Or even Thoughtful Thursday.
Instead of days dedicated to going out and getting more stuff, maybe we should set aside some time for giving, even if it's as basic as helping out a neighbor, cheering up a friend or even lending a hand to a total stranger.
Or just try smiling, even.
The thing is, a few simple acts of kindness and giving would go a long ways towards preparing us for a big day that's coming soon. A day that's absolutely dedicated to peace and good will towards all men, whether we know it or not.
They call it Christmas.