I'm at the Buddhist temple on Market Street, and it's after-service refreshment time in the kitchen and I'm almost back at my table, from the food counter, with a cup of tea and a plate of something called snickerdoodles, when the Rev. Dr. Kenji Akahoshi smiles at me, looks down at my legs and tells me how much he likes my tattoos and all the colour on them.
'Oh,' he says, 'I like your tattoos and all the colour on your legs,'
So I say thank you and stop and and am about to start talking to him about the service when Maria, who I had sat next to during the service, and who is short and has long blond hair and a lot of makeup on and is from Spain, interrupts me and starts talking to the Rev. Dr. Kenji Akahoshi instead.
'How you get,' she says, looking up at the Reverend, 'to be so happy all the time?'
At this the Rev. Dr. Kenji Akahoshi, who has grey hair and glasses and is wearing a pale blue shirt and used to be a dentist, tilts his head back and laughs.
'I look for the good things,' he says, looking down at Maria, 'I try to stay focused on only the good things I have in my life,'
'Oh,' says Maria who is holding a small styrofoam cup of assorted grapes and a plate of chocolate chip cookies and frowning as if the Reverend has just told her a giant piece of nonsense, 'it's not so easy every day,'
I don't say anything to this but I keep looking at Rev. Dr. Kenji Akahoshi, because I don't think he has really finished saying what he wants to say, and whatever he has to say I really want to hear.
'Well,' says the Reverend, who is still smiling and laughing, 'What I do is I just look for the things to say thank you to,'
And then, because the Rev. Dr. Kenji Akahoshi is in the food line and probably wants to get some food, and I want to leave him alone so he can get it, I put my tea cup and plate down on the table, put my hand on the Reverends arm and say-'I am thankful for you today, Reverend.'
And the Rev. Dr. Kenji Akahoshi tilts his head back and laughs.
And I laugh, too.
And then Maria and I go back to the table and sit down.
And then, while Maria tells me about her holiday to Japan and we eat our snickerdoodles and chocolate chip cookies and drink our green tea, I think about what the Rev. Dr. Kenji Akahoshi has just said and I silently list all of the things I have that I can say thank you to.
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