Rare Gift

Andreas, my husband (above, with his mother, Eva, who Dzogchen Rinpoche calls Mahamutter), has many excellent qualities. For a start, people love him on sight, which makes for comfortable and usually very pleasant social interactions. And he loves to laugh, which makes him a great audience. But best of all is his gift for being able to say just about anything to anyone, without causing offense. Not a quality I can boast of myself, sad to say.

One of my favourite examples took place at Lerab Ling just before the end of summer retreat bash. Most of us were doing very convincing impersonations of the walking dead by then, but were also keen to get ourselves together and enjoy the evening. So, an hour or so before the party was to begin, a gaggle of women gathered outside the door to the office to discuss how best to patch themselves up. They talked clothes, make-up, jewellery, hair (the ‘doing’ of and of course the removing of) and made plans to steal some cheese from the kitchen so they had something to line their stomachs before taking their first slug of the infamous local brew.

Enter Andreas, bouncing through the courtyard, smiling broadly at all and sundry, on his way to the garden.

“Andreas,” called one of the women, flirtatiously.

Andreas slowed a little. Encouraged, the woman went on, “New dress, French perfume, clean hair. Will I do? Or could do think I should add a little something?”

Without missing a beat, my beloved husband grinned, looked her directly in the eye and suggested, “Brown paper bag?”

The group gasped, checked the reaction of the potential offendee, and burst out laughing. All of them. In unison. Very loudly.

And Andreas? Well, he stopped walking long enough to be able to offer his own wit the generous guffaw it so richly deserved, then continued on his way, grinning and chuckling to himself as he went. And that was it. No retribution. No hysterics. Nothing. He got away with it!

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