Topic: "Abe Wong, of Gondor"(5)
The Men of Gondor are preparing for their annual ringing of the bells on behalf of the Salvation Army. This year is proving to be one of the most difficult in scheduling elves to participate, and Saint George is suffering immeasurably because of changes in availability. Frodo was looking forward to working with Abe Wong, Man of Gondor, on December the 5th, but outside forces changed the workday to the following Saturday, at which time Abe will be out of the country. Frodo, therefore, will take this opportunity to tell you dear reader, while he will miss his ever-smiling fighter against injustice and bad management.
Abe is similar in stature to Gimli. It is unlikely that he will ever dunk a basketball. He has however, even spent time going door-to-door selling bibles to people who not only had never heard of Taiwan but who would probably guess that it must lie somewhere in New Jersey. Hard work and sincere devotion helped him build a business and two daughters, each of which are successful and the source of great pride. Perhaps that is why he smiles. He deserves to do so.
His participation as one of the Men of Gondor is particularly valuable to Frodo. He taught Frodo about the various regions of China, introducing him to the social and religious diversity the nuances of which are virtually unknown in Middle Earth. Frodo can talk about Han Buddhists and Uighurs. Frodo may not be able to speak a word of Chinese, Mandarin or otherwise, but he knows that Chinese is spoken on a tonal level, and that the "pitch" of a vowel or consonant can change entirely the meaning of a word or phrase. Frodo has also learned a great deal about Chinese food. At one gathering of the Men of Gondor, Frodo and Abe sat and talked about the upcoming Presidential Election. Abe told Frodo that if Sarah Palin should attain a position of political prominence, then the United States would deserve to fall significantly behind the Chinese.
It was a particularly unsettling day for the Men of Gondor when Abe announced that he and his wife were separating. Assuring his comrades that he was okay, and that the divorcees remained amiable, it became clear that the marriage had endured for the benefit of the beautiful, and brilliant, offspring. That moment is the only one that Frodo can recall when Abe failed to smile.
Abe will be in Chinese airspace when Frodo rings the bell this year. No one is better, with an infectious smile, at winning the attention of toddlers, than is Abe Wong. Perhaps the similarity in stature plays a part, but the result is that the small fry ring the bell with Abe, and their parents drop money in the kettle. Everyone leaves happy, and smiling. Frodo will miss sharing a few hours with Abe, making money for the Salvation Army.
When December 12th comes this year, and if you happen to be in front of a Wal-Mart, drop a few coins in the kettle for the Salvation Army, and tell them to give credit to Abe Wong, Man of Gondor, friend to Frodo.