Monday, April 16, 2018

UH--YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT??


Rerun from 2012. Only a few of you were with me then. Hope the rest of you enjoy this post as I  relive a strange, fun and rewarding day. 

It was in the early 1980's. I had my vehicle in the shop for repairs and the only loaner available was a humongous van with several rows of bench seats and side opening doors. I was not use to such a large vehicle and was a bit nervous about driving it. 

I needed to pick up my dry cleaning on the way home so I illegally parked in the fire lane of a strip mall to protect the loaner from crashing grocery carts and quickly ran into the cleaners.

I had the side doors open looking for a place to hang my cleaner bags, when someone gently pushed me aside. Startled, I watched a little old lady climb into the van and sit down wearily. Need to state here that at my age then, anyone over 60 was OLD. Today I look on 60 is a still a youngster. 

Back to the story. My mouth was still hanging open when the next wave hit. One by one, five more seniors climbed into the van, using my shoulder as a hand rail.

"We missed the bus." an elderly gentleman informed me as he squeezed beside two ladies and looked for a place to put his cane.

"You will take us home." he partially questioned, but mostly stated.

I looked at my little group of passengers and tried to push thoughts of law suit out of my mind as I asked,"Uh, where do you live?"

They were from Century Village which is a huge retirement village in Palm Beach County. Today over 6000 people live there. The Village supplied bus service to grocery stores and shopping complexes. This group had stayed too long and had been left on the curb. The last bus of the day was history.

Against my better judgment but not knowing how I could possibly throw 6 seniors back on the curb and still sleep at night, I made sure there were no more stragglers. I then told them to buckle up and headed for the Village which was several miles away.

I was curious why they had no shopping bags. Man-with-cane explained that they went a couple of times a week to the book store/coffee shop that was part of the strip mall to read and sip while the rest of the bus load grocery shopped.

I asked where their books were and he explained that they never bought a book except as a gift. They just read inside the store while sipping coffee. They would then write down the stopping page on a piece of paper so they could pick up where they left off next time.

Being a book and coffee person myself, I could see where that might be the perfect day out for seniors. The price for their entertainment certainly fit into a retirement income.

Now Century Village had over 2000 condos. It would have been nice if they all lived in the same unit but each one lived in a separate building. Kind of wondered how they all got together. Perhaps they met at Bingo.

At each stop, I got out to open the sliding door for the departing senior and was rewarded with a quarter and a sweet smile or nod for my efforts. Even in those days, twenty five cents was a pittance.

I tried to smile and refuse the change but they almost got ugly insisting. I quickly learned that little old ladies will not hesitate to slap your arm with their bony hands if you don't agree with them. So I just took the money and shut up.

I was really getting tickled at the absurdity of the situation. However with each successful unload, I breathed a new sigh of relief. I was beginning to think that this might work out after all.

Man-with-cane was the last to depart. He demanded my name and address. He did NOT offer a quarter. I was tempted to give a false name but I wrote my real name and address on the piece of paper he offered.

Ah, I thought, here comes the law suit. Perhaps I had taken a turn too quickly and caused a whiplash. I was living by the creed at that time that no good deed goes unpunished.

I was delighted though in a few days for I got a lovely card from Man-with-cane. He thanked me very nicely and there were TWO quarters scotch taped to the card. No lawyers ever called.

Still today,  thirty five years later, that ranks as the strangest, scariest, yet coolest buck seventy five I ever earned.

Monday, April 9, 2018

PRAYER WASN'T ENOUGH


Amazon location
A favorite blog friend, Dee Ready, who can be found at the blog, Coming Home to Myself  is a  talented writer and has written another fine book. This one is a memoir that chronicles her life as she becomes a nun, struggles with her decision for years and eventually leaves the Order.

She takes you into the little known world of Convent life. Convent life is a world few of us have ever truly seen.  We outsiders can only guess, assume and too often romanticize the life thanks to the movie versions we are exposed to.  "The Sound of Music" and "Sister Act" might be a bit misleading:)

Dee honestly recounts the strictness, the need for mind censorship, but also the smiles as she navigated the steps to taking her vows and becoming a teaching nun.

Her time spent as a teacher in a missionary school I found totally scary but Dee coped. She really had to deal with a violent group of middle schoolers.

The reality of the rigid discipline and scripted thinking wore on her.   After years of  struggle and self questioning, she discovered her calling and desire to serve were not enough, nor were her prayers.  Dee finally buckled and left the Order.

That extremely difficult and conflicted decision led to a mental breakdown. She neither hides nor sugar coats anything and takes you along on her journey through the darkness of a breakdown to the other side where healing waited.  This is a powerful book.

I am thinking she needs to write a sequel of her post convent years as she adjusted.  I know I'd read it.

As a child I had toyed with the idea of becoming a nun in the Episcopal church as their mystery and kindness intrigued me. I put that thought aside though when I realized I probably couldn't ride my pony wearing a tunic:))

I now know positively after reading this book that I would never have made it. Having my every move and thought controlled by others would have broken me.

I admire those who can and do make the life of service through the church a success. It is not for the rebellious or free thinkers.

I hope you might enjoy the journey into this secret world as much as I did.