I enjoy the great luxury of having a sometimes assistant who takes care of all the bothersome paper in my life. I toss every receipt, every royalty statement, every contract, and anything that I think might be remotely important into a basket on my desk. In a month or two, when the basket begins to overflow, I call Tara.

Yesterday was a Tara day. She had just picked up her eight-year-old son, Brandon, from school, so he came with her. Brandon is very handsome, with big brown eyes that sparkle with intelligence. I’m a pushover for guys with keen intellect, so while Tara sat on my office floor and made piles of papers around her, Brandon and I had a fascinating conversation. He and his mom had just made a mummy for his third grade science fair, so he was very knowledgeable about ancient Egypt. We talked about a new pyramid from the 6th century BC that has just been discovered in Egypt, and we both got round-eyed at the idea. I told him about going to the King Tut exhibit when it was in the U.S. and about Tut’s solid gold death mask and the four graceful statues that stood at the corners of his sarcophagus. He was impressed. He knows a lot about sarcophaguses and said some of them had paintings of the dead person on them. I had not known that.

Tara, in the meantime, was making short work of my stacks of papers. Some things got shredded, some got stapled to other things, some got put into new folders made just for them, some got added to old folders. In about an hour and a half, she had efficiently cleaned out all the stuff in the basket, and she and Brandon left in a hurry because his favorite TV show would be on in thirty minutes.

Somehow that little blip in our day seems a metaphor of the best life has to offer. People helping other people, a child’s bright curiosity, a caring mother’s involvement with her little boy, and my genuine pleasure in being with both of them. Times like that make me remember how extremely blessed I am, and I’m very grateful.


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