Arranging deck chairs on the Titanic

I’ve gone down wrong roads, full speed ahead. I’ve invested a lot of myself and my assets into bits, large and small, of my life; in every facet of my life.

I dive, I dive deep, and I arrange the pebbles on the ocean floor by size and color with no regard for the time it takes or the never-ending ascents for air.

Often I finish and find it no longer holds meaning or relevance, or it could never be exactly what I’d hoped and pictured, or someone I trusted destroyed all my efforts with a submarine backhoe.

And then I’m left feeling as though I’ve been arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

I acknowledge the feeling of waste for the long paths to things that don’t remain; I rarely value the long trips down the right roads for the things that do. But far worse, what I never do is value the road.

It was never about the pebbles.
Or the deck chairs.

It was about the hope in the plan, the faith in the effort, the belief in your talents, the joy in the creation.

There is no destination.
The end is the end.
We have only the journey.

Rainy Days and Wrecks Don’t Always Get Me Down

Tonight I’m thinking of how the universe works for us.

I drove my brother around today to secure a medical card required for his CDL drivers license. As is often the case in this family, he somehow did not receive prior notice and today was the deadline.

It’s cold (it’s all relative you non-Floridians) and rainy. I’m totally garish in my orange slicker and plaid wellies and I took every opportunity to refill my Starbucks mothership travel cup with hot black tea. Mostly I drove and sat in parking lots reading on Kindle.

Needless to say, the day went poorly and it’s a 3-2 count, but he’s got an appointment at 5pm with the last chance doctor (#3).

As most natives know, driving in Florida rain is risky, very risky, but I’ve gone many years without mishap.

Until today at 4:45 when we are exactly 15 minutes from the doctor’s office. I stop in traffic and hear that familiar skidding noise that precedes wrenching sheet metal. I look to the right lane and traffic is flowing. I look in the mirror and see a windshield much too close, a split second before the bump.

Sam jumps out of the car, so I follow. Clearly the women behind us is very alarmed by this as we are on a 6 lane highway and abandoned our vehicle. She starts exclaiming, “Your car is not even hurt”. I look. It’s absolutely unscathed. Her bumper is now bearing the template of my trailer hitch.

Sam is still ranting when we all notice the next car in line behind us is suddenly flashing blue lights from it’s roof. I jump back into my vehicle and move into the left turn lane; the perpetrator follows suit.

As I walk back to the patrol car, the deputy is saying to Sam, “Where’s your shirt?” He’s wearing his uniform pants, but not the shirt. I’m thinking, “Our lucky day if we’ve any hope of renewing a CDL today.”

Yup, my brother is a professional driver, out of shape and confined to home, but drives heavy duty wreckers contracted to law enforcement in the county. For those not in the know, this involves constant contact with all road patrol law enforcement officers. Sam’s a friendly guy. Sam makes friends of everyone. Today it paid off.

The deputy ascertained there were no injuries and asked if we’d like to pursue an accident report. I declined. The perpetrator thought about it, but also declined as I was pointing out she had skidded into me, but without damage to me or mine, blah, blah….

We’re back on the road in 10 minutes. It’s a rainy day wreck miracle. I advise Sam to call the doctor’s office with news of our delay, as I speed off into traffic with one eye on the deputy I know is behind us.

We pull up at 5:01, things are going well. I’ve been reading for about 20 minutes when Sam comes out with a new medical card.

He’s downright jolly and relays the whole visit, ending with the doctor pointing out that his blood pressure was out of the approved range, but he would overlook it this time. Seeing as Sam had just been in a car wreck on his way in. Another rainy day wreck miracle.

Destiny Around the Bend

Sometimes I question whether I believe in fate and destiny. Maybe destiny is like a rainbow – we all have an opportunity curve and we alone determine where we land on it.  We can stay at the bottom, in the mud, or we can climb.  And even if we climb we may slide down the other side into the mud again.

Or maybe it’s like Piestawa Peak, that I climbed the other day.  I could stand at the bottom looking up, admiring the view. Or I could have such a curiosity about the view from the top that I took a step, and another, and another.   I climbed.  

In me there is something compelling that makes me climb that mountain, take off down that road, turn into that alley, go, go, go, somewhere new. I had to scramble up rocks, stretch to a high step, round corners and wait for gila monsters to slither away, back away from cacti.  But I climbed.

Destiny isn’t going to be handed us on a platter.  We have to take it,with both hands and all the will we have. And maybe we have to accept that we get almost to the top, but aren’t going to make it before the sun sets. Nearing the top we have to be very aware of the danger – we could so easily slip and fall to the ground. We could so easily misstep and be left alone and disabled, fearing the mountain lions at dusk. Destiny is where we are willing to go to find it, and how willing we are to protect our spot on the mountain.

God Bless, Texas

If I indulged in profanity I would have been muttering &$@? Louisiana all afternoon.

In the people friendly state of Florida, we have rest areas at very frequent intervals along the highway. Close enough to the highway that you peel in, jump out of the car and can pee in a matter of minutes.

The southern sensibilities of Louisiana seem to require that toilets be hidden in Welcome Centers or Tourist Information Centers that require you not only exit the highway, but travel up to a mile down a curving, tree lined drive to reach some plantation style structure in which the restrooms are housed. They do offer free coffee, but you should be disinclined to partake once you consider the trials and tribulations of peeing on the road in the state.

It seems that, save for their shining jewel of New Orleans, the entire state highway system is through or suspended by bridge over alligator habitat. You are warned to utilize Food and Gas at the last exit before a 20 mile bridge. But still …. no rest area.

As I crossed the state line I pulled into a BIG Welcome Center right on the side of the highway, with parking at the end of the path to the restrooms. I’m sure I yelled aloud, to no one near, GOD BLESS, TEXAS!

Election Day

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Resistance to Change

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Until I described my new dishes to J, it didn’t hit me how Mary Englebreit they seem.

I searched for them far and wide, and a long time. But they are perfect. Pfaltzgraff Napoli and scarce.

I’ve packed up the Corelle Old Town that were a wedding gift and now a huge set that I’ve collected for almost 36 years. J wants them and will treasure them as a family heirloom.

I’ve eaten a few meals and the new are very strange. I suppose when you’ve eaten from the same dish in your own home for 36 years, it will be strange.

I am not resistant to change. I value and seek change. Yet this little thing – ‘new dishes’ is almost disconcerting and makes me understand why change is uncomfortable and resisted by many.

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Halloween

I hated Halloween as a kid, it was scary and cold and too full of strangers. But my kids enjoyed the holiday so much, particularly after living in this house that it’s become something fun for me. Much fun.

I made Bat Punch and may have black dyed fingers well into November.

I wore a costume, sort of.

And set up the Spooky Town.

We had a lot of fun.

Until next year……

Previous Older Entries

A Baseball Road Trip

Thirty Major League Baseball Stadiums. Sixty Stadium Dogs. One Season.

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