Monday, December 29, 2008

Update on Mohamed

I just checked up on the latest about Mohamed. I stopped at his store on my way home from work & spoke to his son, who broke his hand trying to jump over the counter to catch the ... individual. (It's hard to come up with a printable term for someone who would do such a thing.) The docs haven't been able to remove the bullet from Mohamed yet because it's lodged so close to the spine. As of now, Mohamed can't move his legs. It's going to take an MRI to find out if it's just *near* the spinal cord or *in* it. That will determine a lot. But right now they are trying to keep him still to see if the fluid buildup will drop so they can safely move him just to do the MRI.

Ihab (the son) is still totally shell-shocked. He said he'd be closing early tonight; I hope the flow of well-wishers slows enough so he can actually do it. Derek's going to go over there tomorrow to keep him company and help him out, since Ihab's trying to run the place alone, which isn't safe at the best of times, and certainly not a great idea when one is worried, nervous and unable to use one's right hand.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A very bad thing and a very good person

Hello, all --

This is to ask for your prayers, good wishes, bright thoughts and/or any healing energy you could send for a really nice person who is in the hospital right now.

Last night we heard a lot of police & ambulance sirens very close to the house. Derek went out to see what it was. When he got back, he told me that there had been an armed robbery at the convenience store just a couple of blocks away from us. The owner (73 years old, and one of the nicest people you could want to know) had been shot in the arm, and the bullet pierced his chest. Those of you who are in Columbus may already have heard the story on the news.

At least one of us (Derek and/or me) pops into the Clintonville Market more or less weekly. Mohamed (the owner) is always cheerful and friendly. When I go in, Mohamed & I always chat for a few minutes, and he never fails to ask about Derek. When Derek goes there, I can pretty well assume that he won’t be back for at least half an hour, because if the shop isn’t busy, the two of them will talk.

Derek happened to pop in the day Mohamed got his U.S. citizenship. Mohamed was so happy to have become a U.S. citizen; he showed Derek his citizenship certificate with such pride.

One day when I mentioned to Mohamed that the shop had run out of a certain type of incense I really liked, it was back on the shelf within a week, and it’s been there ever since.

Once when I was there, a large, tattooed, leather-clad biker-type was in line ahead of me. I had a moment of nervousness for the small and gentle Mohamed -- and found out I was totally wrong when the customer got to the counter and a grin lit up his face.

“Hey, Mohamed! How ya doin’, man?”

There’s always a collection box on the counter to help a pet rescue organization.

And some bastard shot him last evening.

I stopped there today to drop off a card for him. The store was closed, but I left our card along with a number of other notes and a bouquet of flowers people had left.

The largest note on the door -- probably from his son -- said that Mohamed’s condition was now listed as fair. It was previously critical, so I am taking comfort in that.

This kind of thing shouldn’t happen to anyone. Not anyone -- but somehow, especially not someone who brings cheer just with his smile and his hello. Someone who was so proud of obtaining his U.S. citizenship (and was shot, apparently, by someone who was born here). Someone who works so hard every day, even at the age of 73. Someone who inspires a neighborhood to drop off flowers, cards and notes at his shop.

I am finding it very hard not to wish that when the ... individual ... is caught, he would be turned over to the customers for the administration of justice. I imagine, though, that they’ll do it in the traditional fashion.

Thank you for listening. Thank you for caring.

Top three for this term

I’ve finally finished going through my ESL100 papers from this term. Unfortunately, since I was sick, it took a little longer than I intended.

The following are the top three sentences from the final compositions and final exams this term. There may be a few more as I do a little more marking on their papers before I return them to the students (*sigh* -- by mail, since I couldn’t possibly have gotten them all completely marked before the end of the term, even without having been sick. Oh, well. C’est la vie.)

#1 -- “The beaches in Hawaii are better than in San Francisco for their qualities and free pollution.”
(The pollution is FREE in Hawaii?? Wow!!)

#2 -- “The water is very cold and has deadly cuts in it.”
(I hate it when I injure myself on sharp shards of water.)

#3 -- “To be late for marriage is a good decision.”
(The topic of the composition had to do with marrying young vs. marrying later in life. However, I can think of a number of instances in which arriving too late for the ceremony might have been a good idea.)