I was shopping in our local Foodland grocery store (an almost daily routine for this chief cook and bottle washer these days) when my attention was drawn to a grandmotherly woman and a little girl hovering painstakingly over a display of African Violets. It was obvious that the object of the exercise was to pick out one of the plants for the five-year-old to take home with her.
Without hesitation, the little girl reached into the middle of the display of several dozen brightly coloured purple and lavender plants and made a selection. You could almost hear the wheels turning in her tiny mind and the expression of serious resolve on her face spoke volumes -- she had made her choice.
"But that one doesn't look very healthy," said the woman. "Why don't you pick a better one? Look, this one is very pretty," she added taking the less-than-perfect plant from the child's hand and replacing it with one that had lush green leaves and was in full, beautiful bloom.
Without saying a word, the child studied her grandmother's choice for several long seconds before setting it aside and re-claiming the plant with a lopsided small cluster of pale flowers, holding it in her chubby hands with the tender-loving care of the mother that she would some day become.
"I think that she has made up her mind," I could not help interjecting. "Yes, but I'm the one paying for it," replied the grandmother.
As I pretended to be pre-occupied with a stand of tomatoes and cucumbers, I continued to watch the rather one-sided African Violet discussion out of the corner of my eye. Finally, still yet to speak a word and clutching with childish determination what in animal terms would be the runt of the litter, the youngster walked away from the floral display as if to say, "Enough talking gramma, I'm taking this one!"
"I'm fighting a losing battle," the woman remarked with reservation and a smile as she hurried to catch up to the little girl making her way down the aisle hugging that sickly-looking African Violet firmly to her chest.
I could not help but think about the wonderful life lesson that had just been played out before me. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. We should all be more childlike in our observations and human relations.