Monday, March 23, 2009


The image is frozen in my memory like a cherished photo in a family album: Gabriella's big blue eyes--set off by her three-tiered, blue/yellow plaid ruffly top and matching skirt with a pert blue bow in her hair--focused on her grandpa. He is standing behind the guard rails and can't give her a decent hug, yet she waits quietly, the picture of cherubic innocence. Her baby talcum-powder white skin has suddenly made her cousin, Julia, look swarthy in comparison. A middle-aged Brazilian couple, also leaning on the guard rails, observe the scene with interest, their smiling faces lit up by the "Angel Gabriella". I see they have also fallen under her spell. "Is she four years old?" they eagerly ask me and I nod my smiling head in response. Together with her brother, Caleb, Gabriella clutches her newest present--an airlines magazine for kids--and thrusts it repeatedly in my face--the only subject she can comment on. And then quickly the moment is brushed away as more family members gather around to get their hugs, but like Mary, I continue to treasure this moment in my heart.

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