Telling My Story
August 15, the day I had chosen to do a presentation in the Waltonwood Theatre, was bright and sunny. I hung out the flag to commemorate the day the Japanese had surrendered 72 years ago. We have a nice small size flag (I don’t remember where we got it) and we can leave it out after sunset, because it has a light right above it. CBS Television had done a good story announcing my presentation on their 5 o’clock news the day before, and I enjoyed talking to a full house in the Theatre. They had a nice reception afterwards, with a beautiful and tasty display done by the Chef, and they gave me a bouquet of beautiful flowers.
NBC Television, a little late, called to do a live interview an hour before the show; well, that was okay, but they wanted to have me on the four o’clock news! I said that I could not make that unless they would send someone to pick me up at four to take me to the studio, and interview me at 4:30 p.m. “The studio is in Raleigh, only eleven minutes away from you,” they said. But I told them my own show would last until 4:00 p.m., and I could not possibly drive to the studio in 11 minutes in 4 o’clock traffic while I did not know my way around, especially not in Raleigh. So they decided they would invite me on another day.
The 2017 Solar Eclipse
August 21, 2017: a very important day, Mike’s 80th birthday! And the Universe celebrated with us! For almost three minutes the shadow of the moon darkened the light of the sun. In Cary, North Carolina, just outside “the Path of Totality”, we could observe 93% of the total eclipse. We had a pair of proper glasses and watched in turn, seated on one of our chairs on the back patio, head back, looking straight up. It was 88 degrees and I put on sunscreen before I sat down to observe the spectacle. Because we could only see 93% of the total eclipse, it did not get completely dark, but in the course of that hour the temperature went down to 85 degrees and the crickets started chirping. At the same time, the birds were loudly preparing for nightfall in the trees all around.
On television we watched “totality” in different parts of the country as the eclipse progressed across the United States, then went back to our own back yard view. It was very interesting.
I remember one other total solar eclipse. We were living on the east side of the Big Island at the time and from our back patio we would have the perfect view of the eclipse at sunrise over the ocean. We invited several friends to come over for breakfast and watch the eclipse with us. When the big day arrived the sky was completely covered in clouds and the sun remained invisible. We all watched the eclipse, having breakfast in front of the television. Many people who had traveled to Hawai’i especially to watch the eclipse had driven to the top of Mauna Kea, where all the observatories are located, and only they had an unobstructed view that day.
Early in the morning our living room, facing west, is dark due to the immensely tall trees in our back yard. When I open the door to the patio and step outside, the humid air reminds me of Hilo. I sit down for a moment on one of the two chairs, which have dried already after the nightly shower, and watch the birds flying back and forth from tree to tree and through the branches. A lovely start of the day. The sun shines into our office and on the front porch in the morning. Our living room, den and patio get the sun later in the day. Opinions differ, of course. “I don’t get any sun in my apartment,” said one lady contentedly the very first week after we moved here. My goodness, I could not live without sun in my house! “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy”, I’m with John Denver on that!
If time and the weather allow, I like to walk once or twice around the block in the early morning. “The block” or “the track”, if you will, is the path from our cottages past the pond with the splashing fountain to and around the main building. It is most wonderful when the sun is barely up, the temperature is in the high seventies and the air moist and fragrant. Yes, joy of joys: the fountain has been repaired and the water level in the pond has risen. It also means that the geese are back in larger numbers!
One by one the employees arrive, park their cars, take their belongings and walk to the main entrance to begin their day. They are either taking care of a person in Independent Living who is just barely independent but still needs a little help getting dressed, or they are working in the kitchen making preparations for the breakfast buffet, or they go through the doors to the Assisted Living to fulfill a job that takes skill, patience and love for the people they serve.
One morning last week, a young woman got out of her car as I was approaching and after we both said good morning, we walked together from the parking lot to the front door. She said, “Today is my twelfth wedding anniversary and I am working.”
“Congratulations on your anniversary, but could you not take the day off?”
“My husband has been on dialysis for four years now.”
“Oh, how terrible for you both.”
“But God is good, God is good. He asked me what I wanted for my anniversary and I said, nothing, I want nothing. But he gave me diamond stud earrings and a necklace. And a few years ago he gave me this ring,” and she showed me a lovely ring on her left ring finger.
“We live in Chapel Hill and four times a week, on Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, I take him to dialysis. I wait there for four hours, take him home and then I go to work. I have worked here for five years.”
“That is a heavy burden for you, dear. But what is your name? I have never seen you here.”
“My name is Natalia. I work in Memory Care. God has really blessed me. My husband is a sweet man. I am happy to take him to dialysis every time, because, if I could not do that, he would not be with me any more.”
“Dear Natalia, I wish you strength to carry this burden. I wish for God’s blessings on both of you and on your marriage. And most of all I wish you a wonderful, happy anniversary today.”
“Thank you, thank you so much.”
And, looking back over her shoulder: “You made my day.”
With those words she pushed open the front door and walked through the foyer to report for work.
She had made my day too. It takes so little to make someone happy.
It’s a Wonderful Life!
Until next time,