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USA Together In A World Of Differences And Delights

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Jun 1, 2004
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Together in a World of Differences and Delights
by AL MARTINEZ

I saw America in a mall the other night, and it was a good feeling.

I saw a man in a turban pushing a baby carriage. I joked with a group of Japanese teenagers standing in line for pizza. I saw a woman chasing her infant son, calling to him in Spanish.

I heard languages I didn't even recognize in Macy's at one end of the mall and in the women's department of Nordstrom at the other.

I communicated my weariness to a young Chinese man sitting next to me on a bench whose response was interpreted by a Brit sitting next to him who had been raised in Hong Kong, and for a moment we were the world.

The Valley is a global gathering of races and nationalities and they came together at Westfield Topanga mall one chilly evening between storms that felt more like Christmas than any L.A. December I can recall.

The mutuality of America was an observation that kept me interested in shopping, which is a chore I would rather do without. I am not good at buying for others since my basic attitude is that we all have too much already. But tradition swallows good intentions and ultimately requires that we join the crowds trekking to the kingdom of stores, like cows coming in from the fields.

No matter what one celebrates, this is the season of giving, and I suppose there's a certain joy in that, an ascendance of the spirit to a level of unselfishness that is becoming rarer in these difficult days of recession and unemployment.

Hard times were evident in the mall. The crowds were thinner than in previous years except for sporadic gatherings around selective shops. At times I could look down the long halls and almost see to the other end, so sp{censored} were the shoppers who at other times clogged the passageways.

Christmas songs played over the PA system were like carolers singing on half-empty streets, damping the tone of the season with the realization that all were not merry at a time when being able to afford a Christmas tree was something of a triumph, an awareness made more melancholy by contrast with the abundance displayed in stores and ads.

And yet we soldier on with what we have, giving to one another in a celebration of altruism limited only by conditions and not by intentions. I saw America shopping in exclusive boutiques and in toy shops, the blessed and the unblessed, and while I wearied at the task of trying to figure out what to buy for those I love, I gloried in the benefits of being among citizens in a nation of differences in a world of possibilities.

It made the night a little brighter.

[Courtesy: Los Angeles Daily News]
 

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Jun 17, 2004
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At Christmas...all times of the year...these words stand out.


Together in a World of Differences and Delights
for a moment we were the world.

they came together at Westfield Topanga mall one chilly evening between storms that felt more like Christmas than any L.A. December I can recall.

an ascendance of the spirit to a level of unselfishness that is becoming rarer in these difficult days of recession and unemployment.

And yet we soldier on with what we have, giving to one another in a celebration of altruism limited only by conditions and not by intentions.


I gloried in the benefits of being among citizens in a nation of differences in a world of possibilities.

It made the night a little brighter.


[Courtesy: Los Angeles Daily News]
Thanks
 

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