Timing and Emotions

I have mentioned in some of my earlier posts that I am a Mason.  I had told my wife that once I retired I wanted to become more involved with my lodge.  I retired in January and I have assumed the duties of treasurer, not only of my Lodge, but also of two bodies within the York Rite.  The York Rite is a group of three bodies, the Chapter, Council and Commandery, which complete the teachings of the degrees started in the Masonic Lodge.

Being treasurer means that I not only spend a fair amount of time at the lodge doing paper work to account for all monies being received or spent, but also it seems like a correspondingly equal amount of time running to and from the different banks.  Some how not all of the accounts were started or are maintained in one bank.  At some point we may decide to bring all accounts under one roof.

Yesterday I needed to go to the bank to make a deposit.  This particular branch has been doing some remodeling, removing its drive up window and replacing it with another system.  This has meant that the parking lot has been totally redesigned, for better or worse, who can say.

When I pulled into the lot and found a place to park, it was next to an older SUV.  I noticed that a woman was standing next to it and at first glance she appeared to be talking to someone inside.  After parking and getting out of my car I found that the woman was indeed talking to someone in the SUV and it was her mother.  She told me that her mother has Alzheimer’s and after getting her back into the vehicle, belted her in, she shut the door, her mother hit the button and locked it up.  What made that situation worse was that she had also put her keys into the ignition.  So her mother is not only locked in the vehicle, but so are the keys along with her cell phone.

She told me that she had sent her son home to get a spare set of keys.  All the while she was trying to stay calm and get her mother to put her hand on the door, move it to the button to unlock it.  I asked her if there was anything I could do and she told me that she hoped to get everything resolved soon.  I told her I would be back soon and would check back when I returned.  She thanked me for my concern.

After finishing my business in the bank and returning to my car I saw that she was still outside her vehicle.  I also noticed that she was starting to panic.  Since the car had been turned off for some time it was starting to heat up and her mother was also starting to get over heated.  I again asked if there was anything I could do to help.  She asked if she could use my phone to call her son.  When she reached him he was still some distance from home and it would be some time before he returned to the bank.  She then called 911 and they told her they would send a fire truck to this location.  She was decided that she would break the window on her own, so the truck would not need to be dispatched.

I retrieved the tire iron from the trunk of my car and she decided which window she wanted to break.  Being stronger she asked me to break it, all the while she is continuing to talk to her mother.  After I struck the window three times and not even chipping the surface, her mother again moved her hand and this time she put her hand on the arm rest and moved it up and pushing all the buttons she unlocked the doors.

As soon as the button popped up the woman immediately yanked open the door and hugged her mother.  I told her that I was pleased that I did not have to actually break the window.  She then gave me a big hug and thanked me for helping.  We agreed that I would remain at the door until she got around to the driver’s side and got in, so the door could not be locked before she could get in.

Did I really do anything to help her resolve her situation?  I don’t think I did.  My only contribution was to stay calm, listen to her needs and help her in any way that I could, even if it meant breaking a window for her to gain access.  Thank goodness that act did not have to be done.

After ensuring she had everything under control and her son was aware that the crisis was over, I got back into my car and continued my day.

The Lunch

Today, while my wife and I were sitting at the breakfast bar having lunch, I looked at my sandwich which had lunch meat and cheese with vegetables.   I told her about the one day fishing trip my brother and I went on with our dad.

I was about 10 or 11 years old and my brother is 14 months younger.  There were certain things I had very definite opinions about, especially when it came to food.  Normally I was not a picky eater, but when it came to sandwiches I drew the line about what I liked and disliked.  Some of my favorite sandwiches were meatloaf, tuna fish and of course peanut butter and jelly, excluding grape.  The meatloaf sandwich was to be made with mustard and ketchup, and the tuna fish with Kraft salad dressing and lots of onion and dill pickle, mom and I were in agreement about that.  Sandwiches which I partially disliked were bologna and cheese sandwiches, together or separately (I have consequently learned to enjoy cheese since then), and I certainly did not like mayonnaise, to me it was the nastiest, slimiest substance ever invented.

We had planned to go fishing a couple of days before and on the appointed day dad woke my brother and me up about 3 o’clock in the morning.  Still half asleep we got dressed and went into the kitchen and had breakfast.  I don’t remember what we had for breakfast, but soon after we were in the car and heading out to go fishing.  Dad had the car packed up and ready to go.  In the back seat were the fishing poles, tackle and a lunch, which he had probably prepared the night before, this was before seat belts and we sat in the front seat three abreast.

Along the way my brother and I usually went back to sleep, getting up at 3 am was not a common occurrence.  The rhythmic hum of the tires on the road and the gentle swaying of the car created within us a feeling of comfort and sleep overcame whatever conversation was taking place at the moment.

It did not seem that we had been going very long, but we felt and heard the change in the car and quickly came wide awake with the feeling of the car slowing down and the sound of tires crunching in the gravel.  Looking around and not seeing very much, because it was still before sunrise, we gathered together, collected our gear and headed down to the river, each of us carrying a fishing pole and a small tackle box and dad also carrying our lunch.

Men Fishing on the RiverA light mist or fog still hung to the top of the water, but soon it would be gone as the sun warmed the air.  Setting down our equipment we scouted out our positions, making sure that we each had room to cast our line without getting tangled in bushes, tree limbs above or each other.  With this in mind we put our poles together, set up our line and baited the hook.  Looking around one more time we cast our lines out into the water.

We sent our lines upstream, letting the line be gently carried along by the current.  As the line came down the river we carefully and slowly reeled in the line so we could feel the tug of a fish as he took the bait and started to run.  Fishing is a sport of long periods of extreme patience and short bursts of excitement.  You can spend many hours casting, reeling and moving up and down the river all the while waiting for that certain feel.  Many times you may come away with nothing or on that one lucky day, go home with your limit.

On this particular day I do not remember if we caught any fish or not, it was just a time that my dad, brother and I had to ourselves, fishing was just an excuse to get away and be together.  My brother, it seemed to get more of dad’s attention, had a knack of creating in his line what my dad called a bird’s nest.  This is where the line balls up in a big tangle in the reel.  He and my dad would spend more time untangling his line than fishing.  Dad would after the third or fourth time send me down to untangle his line.  My dad and my brother are not very patient men, in spite of all the fishing they have done over the years.

Late in the morning, about 10 or so, dad asked if anyone was hungry, of course after getting up so early I knew I was.  He opened up the container that he had packed our lunch in and passed out sandwiches.  Dad was not one to ask what you would like in your sandwich, he just made them all the same, the way he liked them.

It wasn’t a great surprise that all he made were cheddar cheese sandwiches floating; it seemed to me, in mayonnaise on white balloon bread.  Being hungry and far from a diner, not that I had any money, I opened up my sandwich and with my finger started to scrape off as much mayonnaise as I could.  To dad this was sacrilege to waste all that good mayonnaise.  I may have to choke down the bread and cheese, which I did not like anyway, but I wasn’t going to endure all that slimy, nasty tasting stuff it was swimming in.

That day I decided that if we were going to go fishing together again, I was going to fix my own lunch.  I may have to endure some ribbing about not liking what dad had packed, but I was going to enjoy whatever I packed to the fullest.

An Oregon Morning

It is a lovely morning here in Oregon.  The sky is a clear pale blue, the sun has risen above the horizon and everything is lit with a soft yellow glow.  The air is cool, still and the only sound is the traffic on the freeway and the jets overhead, since we are near the airport and in the flight path of most aircraft.

Mt Hood at Sunrise
Mt Hood at Sunrise

One the things I like about Oregon are the summer mornings which are cool unlike the Northeast area of our country where the night-time temperatures never seem to drop below uncomfortable and the heat and humidity begin to climb as soon as the sun starts its rise for the day.  Here the night temperatures drop and as the sun rises and climbs through its meridian height, the temperature begins its slow and gradual increase in intensity, late in the afternoon.

The soft glow of the sun is relaxing and gives me a sense of warmth and well-being, not like later in the day when the harsh light of the noon day sun washes away the color and the heat drives you to a cooler place.  Now I am at peace and feel the wonder of the breaking day.

Dew on the Morning Grass
Dew on the Morning Grass

From my dining room table I can not watch the sun rise above the mountains, but I as I drink my coffee I can see it highlight the trees, shrubs and glitter like diamonds off the dew on the grass.  As the sun begins to traverse the sky I enjoy the designs as the light penetrates through the foliage of the trees.  It is like a kaleidoscope changing with every blink of the eye.

I no longer need to get up and race to get ready for work, but to take the time and enjoy the wonders that open before me.  Everyday is a new and changing scene, some days it is here with a cup of coffee and others it is from the lofty perch of my bicycle from which I can stop and enjoy the views, either way I am enjoying the peace this new life has brought to me.  Don’t get me wrong, every morning is not going to be soft sunshine and cool morning air, it may be overcast, windy or it might even rain.  It has taken months to get to this place and now it is here.  Before long the season will change to autumn followed by winter and then into spring and new pictures will emerge.

I am looking forward to these changes and hope to embrace them with the same gusto that I have now found here in the summer morning light.