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Life in the Buggy Lane… June 23, 2009

Posted by Marc Troeger in Patience, Relax.
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Life in the Buggy Lane...

A few nights ago, I was driving to the southern part of the state from my home in northern Ohio to do some consulting work.  It had been a nice, relaxing weekend with my wife, and the four hour drive was an irritating, disruptive end to a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  My irritation increased as I realized the amount of work I had to do over the next few days.  Impatiently, the speed of my car crept up as I grew anxious to arrive at my hotel.

The shortest route to my destination required me to travel over a few country roads that ran through Amish country.  It was inevitable that I came upon an Amish buggy plodding along a steep grade.  I gritted my teeth, as I caught up and slowed, waiting for the buggy to crest the hill so I could safely pass.  Impatiently, all I could think about was getting there… getting to my hotel… getting my work done!

Suddenly, from a side driveway, a huge dog come bounding out and jumped at the horse.  It happened so quickly that I barely had time to hit the brakes.  The buggy began to wobble as the horse turned to face the dog that was jumping and biting at its hind quarters.  Amazingly, the horse never seemed to miss a beat as it kicked the dog with its rear legs, tumbling it into a ditch, and turned back to its task, the wobbling buggy stabilizing, to continue at it’s plodding pace.  The dog, meanwhile, seemed all but bruised as it ran back up its driveway, tail between its legs, yelping like a little puppy.

I was so stunned by all that happened that I continued to slowly follow behind the buggy for the next several miles, even though it was clear to pass.  Relieved that all was well, I was soon mesmerized by the steady clopping of the hooves on the pavement I was hearing from my open window.

Plodding along, I became aware of the beauty of the countryside I was traveling through, glowing in the early evening light.  I passed a farm where a large family was enjoying a summer cookout.  Crossing over a small bridge, I could see a group of boys splashing in a creek.  Cows lolled on rolling hills, a hawk soared over a hay field and fireflies were just starting to twinkle and glow in the tall grass along the road.  My earlier frustrations about the pace of my trip disappeared and thoughts of the pressing work vanished.

I was suddenly jolted from my thoughts when a bonnet covered head popped out the driver’s side of the buggy in front of me with a hand vigorously waving me around.  A little embarrassed that I might be making the driver nervous, I checked to make sure the way was clear, and slowly made my way around the buggy.  As I passed, I was able to get a glimpse of those inside.  The buggy’s occupants were four women of various ages, characteristically dressed in traditional Amish dresses and bonnets.  Uncharacteristically, though, the driver of the buggy looked directly at me, gave me a little wave along with a big, beaming smile; a kind, reassuring smile that told me everything was okay.

I passed and was back in my lane.  But, I didn’t increase my speed to the pace I had been going earlier.  I slowed down and continued to enjoy the scenic road I was traveling and, for many more miles, catching glimpses in my rearview mirror of a horse and buggy plodding along.

A humbling lesson from… Walmart December 23, 2008

Posted by Marc Troeger in humor, life, Marriage, Patience.
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Image from pt’s Photostream: http://flickr.com/photos/pmtorrone/150955293/

My original thoughts about this foot surgery was that I was going to be out-and-about within a few days, resuming my normal activities, albeit a little slower, but without much hindrance none-the-less. When I went for consultation prior to my surgery, Dr. Snyder stated that it would be 6-8 weeks before I could even begin to resume any normal activities.

double_diamond“Bah! I’ll show him!” was the first thought that crossed my mind. I’m a guy who climbs small mountains (novicely), skis down double-black diamond slopes(haphazardly), participates in 24 hour mountain bike races (recklessly), runs marathons (averagely), rafts wild rivers (carelessly) and, bottom line: just can’t sit still (expertly). I was not going to let a little foot surgery hold me down!

Walmart made me think differently.

First off, let me throw a disclaimer out there. I am not a fan of shopping at Walmart. While there is nothing morally wrong with low prices and cheap, Chinese goods, I prefer to shop locally, supporting businesses and services in my hometown and the surrounding area. There are times, though, that the convince and availability is to tempting. Besides, I’d been stuck in the house for 4 days straight and when my wife (a nurse by profession and a bulldog by years of caring for others) felt I could join her to pick up a few things, I jumped at the chance. I was more excited than Ernie is when he knows he’s going for a walk. Her only requirement was that I ride in one of the little, electric, mobile shopping carts the store keeps at the front door. “A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G! Just get me off the couch!”

My pride got the best of me as I walked through the doors of the mega-mart and saw cartthe little cart. It suddenly became a symbol of immobility and, to me, getting older. “ There’s no way I’m riding in that thing!” I insisted to my wife, as I leaned on my trusty, mountaineering pole I was using as a makeshift support. “I am not riding in that thing. No way! I can manage with my trekking pole (I refused to call it a ‘cane’)”. My wife looked at me with those bulldog, caring eyes and then smirked one of those nurses smiles when patients refuses to take their medicine.

“Fine.” was her reply.

Hobbling along, I relished being back with humanity, enthusiastically saying hi to people I didn’t know. I was drinking in the chatter of people and stimulated by all the commerce taking place. At that moment, life couldn’t be better.

It was 10 minutes into my jaunt, halfway to the back of the store, near the frozen food section that something didn’t feel right. Swelling of the foot… pain… a little dizziness… “Bah!” I said, I’ll manage. Five minutes minutes later… nausea and a bit of a sweat formed on my upper lip. I met my wife’s eyes. The nurses smirk was there.

“How are you doing?” she asked, with those bulldog, caring eyes.

“Uh… I think I’m going to go sit in the car.” I said.

“Fine.” was her reply.

Waiting in the car, I sat gloomy and embarrassed. It became clear to me that this recovery would not be as swift as I anticipated. “Six to 8 weeks before you can resume normal activities.” Dr. Snyder’s words reverberated through my head.

My wife got to the car, stowed her purchases and climbed in the driver’s seat. There were no bulldog eyes or nurses smirk. She leaned over and gave me a gentle kiss and a caress.

“How are you doing?” She asked.

“I’m fine,” I replied.

Staring out into the dark night as we drove off, I realized I missed my couch, knowing that it was my symbol of patience and recovery.

-marc

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