post P1560381 vasquez parade
“…We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” – Herman Melville

P1340791 outskirts of santa ana

Approaching the town of Santa Ana….

Santa Ana-Manabi Province – Ecuador – Several days ago I witnessed a subtle-but-noteworthy interaction that illustrates Melville’s statement. The three people involved will never know how their actions affected me:

Four days before Christmas and half an hour from home, I dashed into a store to buy a few essentials and hoped there would be a special cashier for shoppers with ten items or less.

The store was not crowded, and I quickly retrieved the items then waited in the checkout line behind a middle-aged couple. I did not notice the gangly pre-teen lad until words were whispered, and he dashed back to the aisles and returned with a plastic soccer ball. His sparkling blue eyes illustrated pure joy, and his smile seemed to brighten the entire store! His close-cropped hair showcased his eyes, while well-defined dark brows offset a sprinkling of freckles that peppered his ivory skin.

The cashier scanned the ball, but there was no data; they nodded, and the young man bolted to the store a second time. I’m not sure if the adults were his parents or grandparents, but the love that ebbed between the three of them was obvious. While Tall Young Lad was sprinting the aisles, I mentioned his captivating eyes and his sweet soul, and I predicted that he had a very special future. He returned with a different ball and presented it to the cashier. The scan worked, and the six-dollar ball was placed in the hands of an exceptionally-thrilled young man. I needed no photo to capture the joy on his face; it’s burned in my memory!

A six-dollar ball.

Sometimes less is so much more.


The following images show some of the children participating in a nearby parade.  Can you spot my precious neighbors? !

post P1560121 parade poza honda little boy

You’ve not met this young man, but he recognized me before I did him!

post P1370240 boy clearning water hyacinths

There he is in normal attire –  trying to help the adults clear the invasive water hyacinths! – Let’s go back to the parade!


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I hope that this story and images left a smile in your heart. Hang on to that smile, and if you have the opportunity, buy a youngster a six-dollar ball and pass along the smile!