It’s Father’s Day, and my daughter sent her dad a pair of fish slippers. Both she and my son like to go for laughs with gifts and cards to him, which shows that my husband’s sense of humor got passed down to them. Here’s a video of the slippers.
Getting to have laughs with your dad is a pretty nice thing. It makes me remember one special time I enjoyed with my father. I was around seven years old.
“You want to go to Long Island?” my dad said.
“Yes!” I shouted. “Can we? Can we?”
“Okay, let’s go.” We climbed into his big Buick (I think) and rode through Kingsport, Tennessee to the section of town called Long Island. Just ahead was the reason I always wanted to go.
“Get ready to go over the ski jump,” he said like a circus ringmaster, setting the mood as we approached the bridge across the Holston River.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about being average. I’ve had a little time to mull it over, and I wonder if being average is just being unmotivated, or not really wanting to work hard.
Nah, I don’t think so.
It’s all relative, for one thing. Not all NBA basketball players are Steph Curry. Does he work harder? How should I know? My point is that all the other NBA players work hard and are highly motivated, and are really, really good, but there’s only a star or two on each team, all the rest are basically an “average” bunch of very good players.
Does hard work guarantee that you’ll be extraordinary? Nope. Hard work to me is getting up at the crack of dawn and digging ditches. It also means getting a medical degree, but even that doesn’t make you any better than every other doctor. There are only a few famous stand-outs like Dr. Oz. Isn’t he a wizard? (Okay that’s a bad pun and truly a stretch for a laugh but I’m writing about a serious subject and it is HARD WORK to find something funny about it.)
Face it, most of us are average. We may have an occupation that society holds in higher esteem, like doctors, but there are thousands of doctors, and only a few Jonas Salk’s (invented the polio vaccine). Are the famous ones any better than the one I go to who thumps my knee with a little pointed hammer and my leg springs up like a catapult and I nearly kick him in the… I’ve got amazing reflexes.
I know it’s not cool to talk about religious beliefs, unless it’s about “the universe.” I’m not sure who “the universe” is – a distant planet, a committee of aliens – but for some reason “the universe” casts its random favor on people, helping them to avoid an accident or leading them to something. I have my own name for this guiding benevolence – Guardian Angels. I consider them helpers from God, like Clarence in the Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Not only do they help me with the big things like avoiding a car crash (or speed trap), but little things that happen all day long.
Here’s an example. I just got a small garden plot at a community garden and wanted to make a trellis for cucumbers and tomatoes, and true to my character, I wanted to spend as little money as possible. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to do it for the last couple of days, staying up too late looking at ideas online and lying in bed fretting, picturing amazing trellises I could make but everything idea was labor intensive and expensive. I want it now and I want it cheap.
Today I went to Home Depot and wandered around, hoping to get inspiration. I decided to build a wood framed trellis and create a lattice with metal mesh – anything I could find that wouldn’t cost too much. I looked all over for some skinny wood, called furring strips, recommended on a YouTube video, but Home Depot hid them somewhere. Seriously, I cruised the lumber aisle twice and couldn’t find them. But when I went to ask someone I came across the bad-wood pile and a heavenly sign that said “70% Off.”
Guess what was in there? Go ahead, guess. I found 2” x 2” wood, more sturdy than the 1” x 2” furring strips I would have used if I could have found it. Granted, the wood was all warped and had knot holes and splits and broken parts, but it was perfect (cheap). And guess how many of them were in the pile. Go ahead, I dare you! There were twelve – exactly the number I needed in exactly the eight-foot length I wanted. They ended up costing me about fifty cents each. I tilted my head up and said an exuberant “thank you!” to my Guardian Angel.
Then I looked for the metal lattice and found concrete remesh that was way less spendy than fencing, but still $9.47 a panel, and I would need four panels. Way over my budget. Then a thought came into my head to use twine and weave it into a lattice. I sighed because it would take so long, but it would be a lot less expensive, so off I went to the garden section and what do you think I found? Take a wild guess. Okay, I’m sorry, it’s annoying, but it was such a surprise, such a gift to me. I didn’t find twine, I found a nylon net that was five feet by eight feet. Remember my warped wood? It’s also eight feet. This net was a ready-made trellis. I wanted to get down on my knees to thank my Guardian Angel when I looked at the price, only $3.98. It was a miracle, I tell you. My whole project would end up costing me less than $20, wouldn’t take a lot of time, and would be exactly what I wanted.
Now some of you will smile to yourself and and snort and say it was just a coincidence, that I couldn’t find the furring strips because I’m blind in one eye and can’t see out the other, that there just happened to be the perfect amount of wood in that reject pile, that the twine trellis thought only came to me because I’d already seen something like it online, that Vigaro makes twine trellises and Home Depot stocks them so it was inevitable that I’d “discover” them. All evidence that it wasn’t divine intervention but the natural order of things or some such hogwash.
You’re wrong, This is typical of the “good luck” I have all the time, especially when I say a little prayer asking for help. Red lights are green when I’m in a hurry. I find something I’ve misplaced because I got a thought to look for it somewhere I never would have looked. These minor things occur all day long, and I actually feel like someone is practically steering me to good fortune. It never feels coincidental.
Some of you would say it’s “the universe.” I say it’s God helping me though my Guardian Angel. Which one of us is the craziest? Well, it’s not me.
So many people just seem to struggle and have a little dark cloud over their head, and I get that too. I feel desperate and stressed and exhausted and even unloved some of the time like most people do, I suppose. But there’s a fairly steady current of contentment that runs through me, and it sometimes escalates all the way to joy – especially at times like today, when my Guardian Angel led me to the bad wood pile and everything fell into place.