August 16th, 2011
I was at Jazz at Five last week with my daughters and several friends. At one point, a gentleman who was walking by with his wife stumbled over a curb and almost fell. Almost every person sitting nearby jumped up and ran forward to steady him and make sure he was okay. A few minutes after that happened I was talking to the friend seated next to me about how we were enjoying a beautiful “Madison Moment.” My daughter piped up from the chair behind us and said, “A Madison moment? You mean how everyone tried to help that man, Mom?”
“No,” I replied. “That's not what I meant.”
“Oh. Are you talking about earlier when that man helped you carry the chairs over here?” Again, I said, “No.” And before I could explain what I meant, my other daughter joined the conversation. “I bet she's talking about that woman who gave us those cookies.”
“Actually,” I said, “I was referring to the fact that we're sitting outside with all these people on a gorgeous day enjoying great music – for free! This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy Madison and take advantage of a perfect summer evening. But,” I went on, “I like your ideas of what a 'Madison Moment' is better. Because you're right, people are really kind and helpful here, aren't they?” To which they both responded with emphatic nods quickly followed by pleas for gelato.
My daughters are right. A true “Madison Moment” involves connection – one person helping another, even if it's just holding open the door. I could write for hours about the everyday kindnesses bestowed upon me in this great city, whether it's the person in front of me offering their place in line at the grocery store because I only have two items, my new neighbor bringing me flowers for my deck, or the return of a lost wallet with the contents untouched. I'm not a Pollyanna. I understand that no city full of people is perfect. But after living in several other cities and traveling around the world, I'm happy to call Madison home.