PaulMcKinney

A Little Of This And A Little Of That: September 8, 2012

by Paul McKinney

“Life turns on a dime,” they say. How often do we hear this when we are smacked upside the head with a reality check? It stirs our soul.

We are reminded that life is fragile. In deed, the road traveled is marked by unexpected curves and twists.

Driving is not always a pleasant task as we find ourselves trying to avoid the obvious bumps and unknowingly hitting the unexplainable ruts that mark the way.

Sometimes we take an active part in the game of life, making plans and feeling content when all seems to be going along the way we think it should. Someone said to me once, “If you want to see God laugh, tell him your plans.”

Other times we can’t help but feel like pawns on the game board.

Are we just observers? If so, who is in control?  And why is there a constant vale of the unknown?

I was sitting on the deck sipping my second cup of hazelnut coffee. It had been an emotional five days and I could feel the tension slowly slipping away as I rocked away my sadness.

I was thinking about my Mom and how blessed we were to have her with us all those 94 years.

She raised a wonderful family that now numbered in the 40s, kept active in her community, and was loved dearly by those around her. What a great life she had led.

Suddenly, my neighbor Rich appeared at the side gate. As soon as Millie and Mia saw him, they charged for him, knowing that his fist was full of those yummy dog treats they love so much.

His first words to me were, “Gee, we are so sorry about your Mom. Sheila and I were away and just heard the sad news.”

Just then Sheila joined us on the deck and we started to talk about the last few days.

When I asked how their trip to Boston had gone, the conversation took an unexpected turn as Rich got quiet and lowered his head. It was obvious that both he and Sheila were visibly upset by something.

His voiced cracked as he said quietly, “I want to tell you something, but I don’t know if I can.”

It’s strange how our minds work when someone says these words. I waited then Sheila added, “Yes, this is very hard.”

Rich carefully took out a tissue from his pocket, and after wiping away a few tears, he began to tell their story:

“We were enjoying our leisurely ride home across Route 2 in northern Massachusetts.

“Our journey took us from Cape Ann just north of Boston to Williamstown on the western end of the state.

“Gosh, it was a beautiful sunny day. We had the top down and were taking in the beautiful scenery along the winding road way.

“Suddenly the traffic slowed as cars began to pile up along the road ahead of us. From that point on, the line began a slow crawl. I don’t think we ever reached 20 miles per hour.

“As we inched our way down the winding road, we finally approached a straightaway. We could see the distant lights of a state trooper car leading the procession of cars right behind.”

I said to Sheila, ‘There must have been an accident. I can see an emergency vehicle right behind the trooper car.’

 To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of the Valley News at our office or at one of several locations throughout the City. For Subscriptions call 598-6397.
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