Waking to crisper air and refreshingly overcast skies, today the long-awaited fall temperatures where Snowbirds and retirees prefer to mosey at their leisure, became a belated reason to give thanks for those of us chomping-at-the-bit to “step it up”. Willey and Tilley, my two faithful dogs, had been super-charged by the brisk breezes. However, when they saw me heading to the car, after an invigorating morning walk, they’d looked longingly at me, as if to say: “take us for a ride too!” Unable to deny them such a simple pleasure in their current uneventful circumstances, I loaded them in the back of the same car that had recently carried us cross-country. (Dogs get bored too, especially after grand adventures, if they’re stuck “at home” too long.) The only condition was their willingness to be content with limited space beside a printer on its way to the “returned for annoying non-performance” cart, a new bag of economy sized dog food (yet to be unloaded), and a size-able Goodwill drop bag. Their wagging tails and noses pressed upward to the cracked windows, affirmed they were fine with any temporary compromise of wiggle-room.
Despite the fact my errands weren’t all about pleasantries, they seemed oblivious to any inconveniences in their realm. They weren’t bothered by the fact my time was being encroached upon to deliver copies of a recent pay-stub, highlighted with errors and omissions, to an employer who’d unwittingly shorted my pay-check, or the aggravation of finding receipts to return flawed office equipment for a refund. I am not a dog, so I was reserving the right to resent “time eaters”, consumer watch-dog exercises, as if I had nothing better to do with precious hours away from the stresses of working within a corporation being restructured.
The saving grace of the day was the lighter mood of other post-Thanksgiving travelers and service agents, whose paths crossed ours. A lingering turkey- induced, tryptophanyl-bliss, in combination with the arrival of cooler temperatures nipping at the heels of a heat wave, impolitely loitering into late November, helped to soothe the irritation of making extra trips to places I didn’t care to visit on a “day off work”. I had thrown on a bright pink sweatshirt with bold white lettering across the back, in defiance of the need to complete unsavory tasks, while also hoping for protection against daydreaming drivers, shot in the arm by a zestful Floridian “cold front”.
Feeling justified and emboldened, after successfully delivering documents to insure reimbursement for uncompensated work, and securing a refund for a returned ink- spitter, I walked confidently back to the car where my two trusty travel-companions waited anxiously to see where our next stop would be. Before pulling out of the parking lot, a gentleman approached the car with a hope-filled look and a question: “I’m going on holiday over Christmas and I have a small dog needing care. Are you the owner of Kenneland? He had misread the lettering KEENELAND on the back of my sweat shirt, so I smiled and explained: “I do love dogs, but it’s the name of a horse-racing track in Kentucky!” (At that point, I was reminded of a part time job I once enjoyed at a reputable dog-boarding and grooming facility in the same state. The owners were building a third complex, but the commute to Frankfort would have been a long haul for the man seeking pet care.) Amused, I wished him well in his search, after explaining I wasn’t in a position to dog-sit another fur-baby at this time.
Next destination: Starbucks. A Gold card’s points had earned me the privilege of sampling the new Juniper/Sage Latte! No disappointments there, as the drive-thru attendant held dog biscuits out the window for my “kids”, who would have licked the whipped cream off the top of the savory hot beverage pacifying my day, otherwise!
Once more I was reminded of everyday people determined to go about their business cheerfully, whatever the mess our world seems to be in, and how it’s contagious. A candidate for local office had recently run on a platform during the mid-term elections, advocating for “Positivity” with a spirit of cooperation to get our country back on course. She hadn’t won the seat, but her visibility in public had made an impact on many, including me. I thanked my angels for allowing our paths to cross people with positive outlooks, especially on a day that was supposed to be for rest and recovery, when loose-ends needing resolution could have easily been a reason for upset and discouragement.
The “take home lesson”: Whatever is going on in the world, we are in it together, and we still have the ability to choose how we interact with others. Exposing deceptions and holding people accountable is one thing, but going on witch-hunts to find a devil under every rock, is not the way to stability or civility. Those who choose to find and shine a light on common threads, and encourage one another at the grassroots level, are the ones who will redeem time lost to divisions resulting from distrust and polarized perspectives.
Grass-Roots “Positivity”—-maybe it’s a bumper sticker waiting to be made and applied.
Maybe we need to learn from friendly and appreciative dogs, about being eager to go on adventures, finding joy in simple pleasures like meeting, greeting, and expressing gratitude when shown a kindness.
Grass Roots Positivity—- let it be a contagious prime mover, out of spinning-wheel ruts in a mud-slinging world.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the darkness that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1)
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of darkness.” (Hebrews 3:13)
We do not travel alone in this world. For each depends on the other for completion.