Tag Archives: patience

Missed Perceptions

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The expression “I was waiting at the airport when my ship came it” comes to mind.  The last Monday in July and I had a lot of places to go and subsequently a lot of time to channel my ADD (maybe ADD-H)  and consider all the things I didn’t do and whether opportunity knocked and I was in the basement and whether it really matters or is part of the big, gigantic plan from the universe.

If you take a good look at the railroad crossing, you will notice the gates(not sure if that is the technical term) are going up or going down. I am sure if you are a train person or have a trained eye (sorry), you can assess whether the train was on it’s way past or had already passed by.  Time is up.  The train had passed and I missed it.  I was looking forward to seeing it rolling along and counting the cars.  By the time I got to the point where I had to stop, I realized that I didn’t actually  know if it was coming or going.  Then, please follow this very circuitous train of thought…. (sorry about the puns …I must have taken an extra Vitamin B obnoxious), did it matter in my life, at that moment and would it matter.  I quickly determined that lots of things may present themselves at any given moment,  but we don’t necessarily avail ourselves of them.  When I was in middle school (which in New York City was called a junior high school) we had choices about which high school we might want to go to.  Several of the magnet high schools required an entrance exam.  I was allowed, by my parents, to take the exam for the High School of Music and Art, not to be confused with the High School for the Performing Arts (of “Fame”).  I applied for the Arts program and I was accepted.  It was not in a good neighborhood in Manhattan and bordered Harlem. It was the 1960s.  Someone was murdered in that neighborhood, shortly after I got the acceptance letter, and that dream was dashed.  My parents worried about the commute and rightfully so, I can say in retrospect and yet, maybe my “destiny” might have taken me on another path.  Oddly enough Paul Stanley of “KISS” would have been a classmate had I attended and then more oddly, Bruce Kulick another short term member of “KISS” was a classmate at the high school I ended up attending.  I didn’t really like the band so I guess it is of little consequence.

Ending up in Massachusetts has hardly been the end of anything.  It was the beginning of finding out what has unfolded after 41 years of moving out of “The City”.  It has all the components of a wonderful story with romances, successful and failed, parenthood,  and grandparenthood.  It encompasses learning what my curiosity about people would lead me to professionally.  It showed me how to move, and move again and then again, and how to pack up memories but discard the ones that I don’t need to dwell on.  It showed me how to forge new friendships, and to let go of others that did not endure.  It’s hardly a  “Tale of Two Cities” though it did have the best and worst of times.  It was about understanding being patient when a train goes by, because it wasn’t my train.

The end of the alone part of my day landed me at the beach at three in the afternoon.  I knew that as I arrived, people were packing up to head on their way.  I waited patiently for the stragglers to leave.  I was alone with the beach and a few seagulls.  I used to get angry at my parents for bringing us to the beach on Long Island late in the day, long after the concession stand closed, and long after the crowds had left.  By the time we got there, we missed the action, but the beach was deserted and it was ours as far as the eye could see.  I think they knew the secret of timing for the right reason.  The beach will be there long after we are gone. Nature, the equilizer, that calms even the most ADD of us.

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Lucky Me

Fishing

Profundity.  Patient.  Insightful. Quiet. Observant.  Traits of a man who fishes and rarely catches a fish and yet tries again in the face of failure.  Perseverance.  Someone who wants to catch a Christmas fish on Christmas Day during a light snow.  No fish, but hot chocolate waiting for when the fish don’t show up.  Someone who says, after listening to Buzz Aldrin as the keynote speaker,  who arrived late to one of our childrens’ college graduation,  because he said he lost his way and you can’t make this stuff up, “I would rather hear a common man who spoke extraordinarily, rather than an extraordinary man who sucks!”.  This man who upon seeing a classic stone wall while meandering on a drive through a rural area says ” stone walls are the jewelry that decorate a house”.  They are the words that I write down to remember, because they are the words of someone who sees things truly as they are.  These are the words that blow me away and captured my heart when I wasn’t planning to find someone to do any more than have a cup of coffee with.  I often say to him, “I wasn’t planning on you and yet here we are”.

My FHB and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary next week.  Sometimes I forget the years because it all seems so seamless.  I didn’t plan to find such a good friend over that first cup of coffee.  After coffee, he suggested dinner, and subsequently I countered with telling him that I had a dog who was waiting for me to walk him.  He asked if he could meet my dog.  I acquiesced because my dog was a very good judge of character and I thought if he could pass the “Charley” test, he might be someone to have dinner with.  He passed the test. Charley even allowed him to hold his leash and soon Charley allowed himself to love my FHB and it was mutual.  There is something to be said for “love me, love my dog” and for someone who didn’t know dogs, I knew that was big and that it was going to get bigger.

We are not alike although we share a common world view on most issues.  His words are metered while mine are endless at times.  I know I am often the “Lucy” to his “Ricky”, and, sometimes I am the “Lucy” to his “Charlie Brown”.  I can snipe and show my ire and lash in the way that Scorpios can do.  He will take the high road and that is often enough for me to know I crossed a line.  We are adults.  I acknowledge my bad behavior and we go on.  No grudges but kindness.  At fifty and fifty four, respectively, we were pretty set, each in our own way.  We didn’t need to get married.  We had enough offspring between us to keep us on our toes and of course we had Charley.  We laugh a lot.  To make him smile and smirk is a daily goal.  The eye rolls are his way of tempering my nuttiness.  We live a fairly simple life that include family and friends, and quiet moments taken to just pay attention and hold on to one another.  We know that time is too precious to get caught in the maelstrom of being right, when all we want is peace and contentment. It is  to know that in the dark moments and in the light ones, we have someone to navigate with.  We take turns holding the map.  It works.  I am very lucky.

Fish Tales

Bluegill-Sunfish-Drawing

A few weeks ago, I got my FHB his annual fishing license.  It is usually a Father’s Day gift but now that he is around town on Fridays,  it seemed like a waste of weeks to not present him with the opportunity to go out and play with the fishes.  The weather has not been cooperating, going from winter like temperatures to blazing heat.  May is a funny month.  He tends to approach things with metered steps and so the fish are still safe from his pursuit of things scale-y and slippery, for the moment.

It was a shame that my father, who liked throwing a line into a lake, ocean or river, never met my FHB.  They probably would have enjoyed one another’s company and both have this zen like approach to the art of the catch.  It’s not about the fish as it is about the fishing.  As I kid,  I got to observe my father fish and I was the child who didn’t mind digging for worms.  Sometimes I even got paid a penny a worm.  I watched as he secured the line, cast the line into the water, and waited for that little tug on the end of the fishing pole.  He would gently reel in the line at the start and then as he felt the weight of the fish, he would reel it in more quickly.  My FHB likes to fly fish as well as casting into ponds, and uses my father’s rod and reel which would have pleased my dad to no end.  I had the opportunity to join my father, as the person who rowed the boat to the middle of a lake, in the early morning hours as well as being on a party boat that went into the ocean off of Long Island.  I didn’t own or inherit a pole but once in a while I got to feel the tug of the fish.  I accompany my FHB but more as a distant observer.  He is a solitary fisherman and I give him his space to cast and wait, and wait, and wait.  In our years together, the number of fish that felt sorry for him and jumped on the hook were less than could be counted on two hands.  Several years ago in New Hampshire I heard him call me to come and see his catch.  He triumphantly displayed a small, actually tiny fish, about four inches long who looked up with those big fish eyes, imploring him to throw him back.  I made sounds of great approval and memorialized the moment in a photo and the fish was released back into the wild.  I returned to my book, under a tree, only to be called yet again to see fish number two, followed by fish number three.  A little Dr. Seuss-ish.  I have an eye for details and my gut told me that this fish looked awfully familiar and if I was correct, my FHB did not catch three fish, but one fish three times.  I kept this information to myself.  I don’t like to spoil someone’s moment in nature.

My own fish story goes back to when I was about ten and our family and my parents’ close friends and their son, went to Canada.  We went to Lac Chat in the Laurentians, as this was the place that both couples had met on their honeymoon.  The lake was filled with sunfish or as my father would call them “sunnies”.  I didn’t have a pole but the fish swam around my feet and I was able to reach down and catch one with my hands.  I took my prize and ran back to the cabin.  I knew the taste of victory and as this was day two of our vacation, I put the fish in a drawer in the bedroom because my plan was to bring it back to New York and show my friends.  Needless to say, I didn’t mention it to my parents or my sister, since I wanted to bring it back to New York as my souvenir.  I checked on it frequently to make sure it was still there. After about two or three days, my mother said to my father that something reeked.  My mother was not much of a fan of dead fish and living with a recreational fisherman led her to set clear parameters of bringing fish home, gutted and cleaned, before he crossed the doorway.  My father just took her comments as more of the same.  I had to admit that after a few warm days in the drawer the fish just didn’t look so good and smelled even worse.  However, I was dogged about keeping my prize.  The fish remained there and decomposing until day four when my mother insisted that my father find the source of the now pretty rank odor.  Long fish story short….my secret was revealed.  My father and I had one of those conversations that  I now recognize as a parent’s moment when you want to laugh and hug your child but you need to have that serious talk about poor decisions.  I know he thought I was enterprising but the smell of bleach still lingers because that was part of my penance.

The one that almost got away, or the one I almost got away with.