Monday, August 5, 2019

Just What I Needed

I wrote the original column below these remarks long ago, on an anniversary of my father's passing. It does still seem as though after we've slogged along life's path until we feel we can't go any farther, God gives us a brief period of refreshment. Such happened to me again this year, as it often has over the years. I miss being able to see my great grandsons often as I did when they were babies/toddlers. They, and their parents, lived with or near me for a few years. Now they live in another state. I do visit them when I can and glad I'm able to do so. But this year they came to visit me for two weeks! In what has turned out to be a busy year for me, it happened to be the two weeks I could devote exclusively to them. It was so wonderful to be able to hug and kiss them as often as I wished for two weeks. They are affectionate little boys, well, not so little anymore, but not yet of the age to brush off hugs from loving grannies, aunts, etc.
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Often we humans groan that things in our life have gone wrong. But sometimes we’re blessed with an experience that was just what we needed, exactly when we needed it.
 One particular instance was not a good time in my life. I lived in Tennessee, and my father in Georgia was dying of lung cancer. My husband and I went to spend a week with Dad and my stepmother. We tried to keep from wallowing in sadness, but it was as rough for my husband as for me. He loved my Dad and was in the midst of one of his periodic bouts of depression.
 Before we left for Georgia I had made reservations for us to spend a  couple of days on our way home at a dude ranch near Tellico Plains, TN. We began to wonder if we would ever reach the place after our car labored up several steep, steamy miles. To spare the engine we turned off the car's air conditioning.
We finally arrived at the ranch, set among woods and meadows. The accommodations were comfortable, though rustic. After our hot, sweaty drive up the mountain, stepping into our room’s tiny shower stall was sheer bliss.
The couple who owned the place did most of the work, including preparing delicious food for their guests. Rocking on the front porch before dinner was relaxing and we slept soundly that night despite a summer thunderstorm, which knocked out the ranch’s power. We trooped to the dining room for breakfast and a generator provided electricity for cooking, but not enough for our hosts to prepare all dishes at the same time. With plenty of coffee no one minded and we guests got acquainted with each other.
Later that day I joined our hostess and several guests for a horseback ride. I rode a gentle mare but my legs are short and the mare somewhat rotund. I felt sure I would slide off her back on the slightest downslope. As I hung on to the reins and tried to keep feet in stirrups, the cares and sorrows of daily life felt far away.
Since then when I’m tempted to grumble about something, I think of that respite from sorrow and look around for the balancing good I’m sure I’ll find.

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