An “Ugly American” Moment In Sudan

Pamela Blair, in the Sudan on the final leg of a long train voyage over a hot and empty desert, had prepared herself to be bored. It was what she hadn't planned on, however, that would forever change the way she saw the world and herself in it. 


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Kandinsky and Kindness in New York City

by Shirley Moskow

They were meant to be together so when I learned that the Guggenheim Museum was celebrating the 50th anniversary of its landmark building with an in-depth retrospective of the Russian avant-garde artist Wasilly Kandinsky, I knew I had to go.

“The Angel in The Architecture,” trumpeted The New York Times headline for the review of the Guggenheim show, which runs through January 10. Frank Lloyd Wright designed the building especially for the museum’s founding collection of Kandinsky’s non-objective work.

I drove into New York City from Boston -- a tactic I do not recommend. And, speaking of angels, one must have been watching over me because I found a parking space within walking distance of the museum. Easy, right? Nope. I had a problem with the parking meter, a style that was new to me. Directions said it took credit cards, but when I slipped my Visa card into the slot and punched in the length of time I expected to be gone, nothing happened. I tried to remove my card from the slot to try again. The parking meter held the card in a vise-like grip.

A father with a curly-headed toddler in hand saw my predicament. He forcefully yanked my credit card from the machine and counted four quarters into my palm. “It’s easier with coins,” he said.

“Thanks,” I said, handing back his change. I certainly appreciated this random act of kindness, but I already had quarters.

“Keep it,” he insisted. “You may need it later.”

I thought about his kindess as I approached the Guggenheim.

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