“strangers are friends that we some day may meet”

athens tee

via The Sterling Sunflower

Today was just an ordinary day. A visit to the chiropractor, a trip to the Hoover Library book sale, and a stop at the At Home store. But some days, even the most mundane tasks can be a blessing.

The chiro’s office was like a mini family reunion among people I didn’t know. There was pleasant conversation, ohhing-and-ahhing over the cutest little baby boy, and lots of laughter, with Dr. Drew being the loudest.

At the library I had an extended conversation with a young man that started over his compliment to my shirt. I was wearing my Atlanta Braves tee-shirt, and we were both happy after last night’s victory. I then had to compliment HIS shirt which said “Athens Georgia” on it with a picture of a red pickup toting a bulldog. (I googled and found a pic.)

We talked baseball, Braves, and SunTrust stadium. I found out his favorite spot to sit is near first base so he can see his favorite players, Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis. He mentioned bringing his woobie as rain protection and I knew what that was. He is in the army, so I told him about my son and we then went on to talk about Arlington Cemetery, Tomb Sentinels, and D.C.

Somehow the conversation moved to doing business in a small town. He shared a funny story of when he and his wife went to apply for passports and I shared our (me and hubby’s)  6-hour ordeal getting our licenses and car tags when we moved here in 2014.

I just love running into people and getting to know them. I’ll probably never see him again, but I’ll be looking for him if I get to another Braves game. Or at the next library sale. I think his name is Cervantes.

The following poem  by Edgar Albert Guest expresses so much better how I was feeling today.

Faith

I believe in the world and its bigness and splendor:
That most of the hearts beating round us are tender;
That days are but footsteps and years are but miles
That lead us to beauty and singing and smiles:
That roses that blossom and toilers that plod
Are filled with the glorious spirit of God.

I believe in the purpose of everything living:
That taking is but the forerunner of giving;
That strangers are friends that we some day may meet;
And not all the bitter can equal the sweet;
That creeds are but colors, and no man has said
That God loves the yellow rose more than the red.

I believe in the path that to-day I am treading,
That I shall come safe through the dangers I’m dreading;
That even the scoffer shall turn from his ways
And some day be won back to trust and to praise;
That the leaf on the tree and the thing we call Man
Are sharing alike in His infinite plan.

I believe that all things that are living and breathing
Some richness of beauty to earth are bequeathing;
That all that goes out of this world leaves behind
Some duty accomplished for mortals to find;
That the humblest of creatures our praise is deserving,
For it, with the wisest, the Master is serving.

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Tom Bevil Trail

bevil

Today we decided to hike the Tom Bevil trail at Lake Guntersville State Park. Whoo boy.

We expected a little over three miles, but somehow missed a sign and kept going. I saw a spot that seemed familiar and told my husband to stop, but he, knowing I am the one with a very poor sense of direction, told me to focus and keep going. Then, we passed another spot that I knew I ‘d taken a picture of, and this time I pulled out the map on my MapMyHike app, that was sorta working when the gps had not been lost. That’s when we knew we’d overshot the mark and had to turn around. This is in about 95 degree weather and we were running low on water. AND this is after we’d come across a rattlesnake on our path! My husband hates snakes. He says the only good snake is a dead snake. Well, this guy was about 3 1/2-4 feet long and very much alive. After that encounter we were walking very slowly, about negative one mile an hour, looking left and right in case the rattler had any siblings in the area. Which was another reason that the Tom Bevil nearly did us in. I think it should be renamed the Tom Devil Trail. Just sayin’.

Last time we were on a long hike and struggling, we were with our daughter. She is so wise. She got us playing a  word game that made us think about the game instead of  how long we still had to get back to the car and it worked.  This time, though, hubby was not interested in games. So, I thought of a few songs along the way to distract myself, while he took the lead taking care of all the spider webs ahead of me.

everymov

“Every move you make… Every step you take I’ll be watching you”

I Hear the Train a Comin’ #2

rrp train

Railroad Park – Birmingham, AL – 2015

 

It’s been proven that the sense of smell is closely linked to memory. I’ve found, personally, that sound can trigger the floodgates, also.

The train that runs behind my house is a comforting sound to me, though it’s so loud that if I’m outside I can’t carry on a conversation until it passes.  The clack and squeal of the wheels and the whistle echoing off the rock embankment and through the woods takes me back to the summers of my youth. I am once more eleven years old, riding the Dahlonega Mine Train at Six Flags Over Georgia. That’s was after standing in a line that snaked back and forth for what seemed like forever with my brothers, only to get almost to the front of the line and have my little brother start crying in fear, refusing to ride. So, we got out of line, delivered him to Mom and Dad, and started all over again. But it was worth it. I never tire of the thrill of a roller coaster, though I have to refrain from those that turn upside down because of my motion sickness tendency..

I have other train memories, real trains and not just pretend ones. But this is one of the happiest.

Waiting

isbell

nashvillepublicradio.org

I’ve done my share of doctor office waiting room waiting the past few months. The following are some of my observations.

Last month as I was sitting, waiting my turn, a patient’s name was called: Isbell. I looked up at him and he could have passed for Jason’s brother. And this is Alabama, after all. I wanted to ask, but I didn’t. He probably gets asked a lot. So, I go back to reading and hearing a show (trying not to listen) on the TV above my head. I had picked a bad spot to sit. The show was talking about natural feminine hygiene care. Even though I’m feminine and care about hygiene, it was annoying for it to be blaring over my head. My name was finally called and I was allowed to go and freeze in a little examining room. At least I didn’t have to wear a paper gown.

Today I went for my third doctor visit this week (orthopedic, chiropractor, and now ENT). I’ve had some issues with my left ear for about four months and finally realized I had some hearing loss. I suspected, and was correct, that my ear was plugged up. With wax. Yes, gross old wax. The doc unplugged my ear and BOOM! I could hear my footsteps going down the hall. I still have the tinnitus, but at least I won’t have to say “What?” quite so often.

I really liked the ENT’s office. For one thing I wasn’t waiting for two hours. I was in, de-waxed, and out in less than 30 minutes. But, if I’d had to wait, there was a wall hanging with wonderful suggestions. I didn’t even have enough waiting time to write everything down. But here’s what I got:

“We are aware you may be waiting”

 

*RELAX * READ * THINK *BE GRATEFUL * THINK * WRITE*

* REFLECT*

* CREATE * PRAY * BE JOYFUL*

 

“All good abides those who wait wisely”

Words

Word Art 5

 

“Words can be like X-rays, if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.” – A. Huxley, Brave New World

I must admit I wasn’t too much pierced by Brave New World, but Huxley’s thoughts sometimes came through like x-rays. The quote above stuck with me, made we realize how much I want my words to pierce. I want my words to make a change, if even just a little bit. And by my words, I’m referring to the written word.  I want for the things I write to make a difference. Somehow, somewhere.

I’ve grown to appreciate The Avett Brothers for their lyrics as well as their sound. Their newest song, Bang Bang, packs a punch with its message. As much as I highly regard Scott and Seth and the crew, I don’t always totally agree with their lyrics. And that’s okay.  I could say that about a LOT of songs I listen to.

“Conceal and carry your fear” doesn’t make sense to me. I’d rather not have to carry around my fear. But, carrying a gun would not alleviate that fear. So what do I do? I pray and do what I can do be aware and lean back on their song No Hard Feelings. I carry on.

“And I’m in here pretending like Sunday is still sacred”  also makes me sad. Sunday IS still sacred, no matter what the neighbors think and no matter how I fail to treat is as such. I’ve got some neighbors who think they are Rambo, too. On any given day or night I hear gunfire in rapid succession. I worry about stray bullets coming down the hill to hit my elderly neighbors who are out for a stroll.

Though I don’t agree with every single word, I totally agree with the message of Bang, Bang. Carry on, Scott, Seth, Bob and Joe.

I want to be like the balloon lady

kermit

I’ve read stories of people who pay for a person in line with them at a drive-thru, or pay for another customer’s meal in a restaurant, but I’ve never had it happen, or made it happen. Today I was able to observe a random act of kindness.

I was at the Dollar Store to get two items, which turned into five, but that was better than most trips that turn into ten items.  As I get into the only line open there are six people ahead of me. Each one had a story, a life, a reason to be at the Dollar Store. The two older ladies who were checking out together shuffled slowly just like Mom used to. The next lady told the cashier to add a pink helium balloon to her order as she went over to get it. Then she turned and gave it to the toddler sitting in the shopping cart behind her. It was such a sweet, spur of the moment gesture. After they left I noticed the woman in front of me only had one item – some googles. Like the kind you might use in a chemistry lab at school. She began digging around in her big purse and could not find her wallet. She told the cashier she’d have to come back. That was my chance to follow the example of the balloon lady. I paid for the goggles. Such a simple act, a whole dollar plus tax, but I wondered, would I have even thought to do it had it been another day without the balloon lady in front of me? I want to think I would have.

Puddles or Living Water?

IMG_5507

Oak Mountain State Park – February, 2017

“My soul thirsteth for God, though I misinterpret my thirst, and, like a hot dog upon a road, try to slake my thirst by lapping at any puddle of dirty water that I come across in my path. There is no satisfaction there. It is in God, and in God only that we can find repose.” –   Alexander Maclaren

I can visualize this so well. Yesterday as Ruby and I were on our return route at Red Mountain, we passed several puddles on the south trail. As she walked through them, her head went down to get a lap or two of water, orange from the clay. I didn’t stop her, knowing she would only get a smidge of a taste, and knowing that I’d already given her fresh water when we’d taken a break a little while before this.

How often do I take those little tastes of “any puddle of dirty water” when I have a spring of Living Water to slake my thirst?

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water – Jeremiah2:13