Thursday, September 22, 2011


Besides enjoying the economy and social aspects of diners, I also enjoy clean, bare-boned, low-cost motel rooms.

After an exhausting day of travel, I stopped at the East Hill Motel in Warsaw, New York. I stumbled into the office and was greeted by a warm and inviting smile on the face of Mohammad Islam. When Mohammad smiled, his eyes sparkled and his whole face lit up. Immediately, I knew this man had a good soul.

As I checked in, I noticed a well-worn Bible on Mohammad's desk.

Meeting my expectations, my room was clean and neat and the mattress was firm.

After a night's rest, I became acquainted with Mohammad and discovered he had emigrated from Bangladesh twenty-one years earlier.

Mohammad appeared to be in his early forties and was obviously well-educated. He had lived in New York City and in Connecticut, where his brother and sister, respectively, continued to live. Mohammad also had a sister living in Canada.

Several times, Mohammad mentioned how much he enjoyed living in "the country." He added, "I don't have to live like this, (referring to his modest surroundings). I choose to live like this."

Mohammad was very clear that money could not replace the serenity he had found living on a winding, state highway, in a humble motel in rural, upper-state New York.

As I was leaving, Mohammad, with a cheerful attitude, was cleaning the vacated rooms. He said his wife, Ange, was visiting in New Brunswick, Canada. As he spoke of his wife, there was a soft sweetness on his face.

By choosing to live a simple life, Mohammad Islam found peace. For, on some level, he knows the sacred is in the ordinary, and enough is enough.

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