Taken in the Spirit in Which It Was Meant

In my last post, I mentioned that, as a result of my having written a polite thank-you letter to the staff of the Mandarin Oriental hotel, I wound up having a conversation with three young ladies (MaLou, Soleil and Nancy) who serve as greeters for the Melt Cafe there at the hotel, where the breakfast buffet is served each morning. And the three of them were very much disposed to like me as a result of that letter, and very interested in my family.

(chuckling) Now you know perfectly well without my saying so that these three young ladies are all very attractive, because otherwise a hotel like the Mandarin Oriental wouldn’t have chosen them to make the hotel’s first impression on guests who are walking up to the cafe. But I am very happily in love with my own wife, and I have daughters who are at least as old as are MaLou and Soleil and Nancy, and to be blunt about it I wouldn’t want to go back to being twenty-three my own self. I’m very happy to be in the generation I’m in and quite content to stay there. So I was briefly amused when one gentleman who was leaving looked slightly askance at me as I stood surrounded by three pretty young ladies all very intent on my conversation, to the point that they clearly had to force themselves to remember that it was their job to stop talking to me long enough to say a polite good-bye to him. But then the four of us went back to talking about my kids — because, just before that gentleman had passed by on his way out of the cafe, one of the three had asked how many children I had, and I had answered, “Nine,” and obviously they wanted details, details, because that’s a LOT of kids.

So I explained that my youngest was nine, and my oldest was twenty-five, and that I have one granddaughter and two more on the way. But they still could hardly believe that one man would have nine children. So I explained further that four of the children were my biological children from my first marriage, and one was my stepson from my second marriage, and that the other four were adopted from Kazakhstan.

“You adopted four children?” asked MaLou in disbelief.

“Yes, four of them,” I answered — “I like children, and I particularly like all nine of my kids.”

“You adopted four children,” MaLou said again, half to herself. And then Nancy piped up, “Why, you can adopt us!”

“Oh, yes, that’s a great idea,” the other two joined in, “you can adopt all three of us!”

And I thought, “Well, too bad that envious gentleman couldn’t hear that because I’m sure that would make him feel better…”

And there you have it: Helen has no reason to feel threatened or jealous. Anya and Kinya and Kasia and Merry and Sally, on the other hand…

UPDATE: If you are either Nancy, or Soleil, or MaLou, and you found your way here, you can let Nick and Keren know they get some props here.

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