I had worked a fourteen hour shift. The Mother of Five worked also. My shift ended at 9pm, hers ended at 9:30pm. She had texted me earlier that day saying she had to do some last minute grocery shopping after work. Since I pass her workplace on my way home I decided to stop and help her out.
We did our grocery shopping at the Wal-Mart next door to her workplace. Afterwards we headed back out to the parking lot and began loading up our trunks. It was late. Late, dark, and cold.
As I was loading my trunk I thought I heard a very fait (almost mousy) voice saying "excuse me sir". I looked behind me and saw nothing. I went back to loading up my trunk, and again heard a faint "excuse me sir". I looked up over the trunk lid and noticed a small woman (I suspect she was Somali). She was dressed in traditional hijab. She was quite petite and appeared young,. I noticed she had her diverted her gaze downwards as she tried to get my attention.
I asked her if she was talking to me. Again, in a very timid voice (while not looking me directly in the eye) she asked if I had "cables" to help her start her car. (I had assumed she referred to "jumper cables" and that her car's battery was dead.) She pointed over to a vehicle that had another woman (also dressed in hijab) one row away from where I was parked. Unfortunately, I did not. I had taken them out to make room in my trunk a couple of weeks back and have since forgotten to return them. I apologized and said I did not. I explained to her that I normally do, but I had removed them a few days prior, and had not returned them. I could see the disappointment in her face. I watched her plight as I finished loading up my groceries, and finally headed out. She asked one other man who appeared to ignore her as he kept walking past her - and another woman who did briefly stop, but continued to her car and left without helping her.
I could not help but wonder…
I wondered what this young woman was thinking. I wondered if she was afraid to approach me for help. I wondered if she thought I was lying to her to avoid helping her. I wondered if she thought I may have been "stereotyping" her as a woman - as a person of a different race - as a person of a different faith. I wondered if she thought of me as just another "westerner", as someone would not help her because I may have stereotyped her. (Now am I stereotyping her for stereotyping me?) I also wondered if it is possible that I am reading way more into this. It may be just as likely that they thought nothing more of my inability to help them as just that… An honest answer.
I have to admit… This morning I am feeling badly. I realized that I drove off leaving these poor women standing alone in the parking lot of Wal-Mart (which in itself can be frightening), in the cold, in the dark, dressed in a manner that (I suspect) would cause some people to not want to help them, and with a disabled car. I witnessed at least two other people (at best) unable to help them or (at worst) ignore their plea for help.
Looking back, I regret not having done more. If nothing else, even though I did not have the cables, I could have (SHOULD HAVE) stayed with them and tried to help them locate someone who would have been willing and able to assist them.
Today, Best Bud Ed and his family had to make the very difficult, yet ultimate selfless act of sending their beloved four legged family member Jake to a better place.
My heart aches for the pain they are going through, while at the same time I commend them for having the courage and fortitude to make the most difficult decision to put Jake's needs before their own pain and sorrow. It is the ultimate gift.
I am comforted in knowing that Jake is free from the pain that he had been experiencing, and is now running the eternal trails - chasing squirrels, flushing up pheasants and grouse, and eating the occasional ice cream cone.
Jake became a constant companion for my Best Bud Ed. Wherever you saw one, there was the other. Hiking, picnicking, hunting, camping, fishing, hanging out by the fire, heck Jake even has his own GeoCaching handle!
“Jake the über Geo-Dog”
I spoke briefly with Ed after work today. I called him to see how he and his family was holding up, and to let him know I was with him in thought, and in spirit. While speaking to him, I could perceive his heavy heart, but could also sense a feeling of relief, knowing that Jake was free from his suffering. I don’t know if he could tell from his end of the phone, but I shed tears for him.
Ed only spoke with me a few minutes. He was packing his family up and heading to a specially chosen resting place for Jake.
Ed, rest well my friend. You and your wonderful family have given Jake the best thing a dog so deserving could ever receive – thanks to you, he lived a full and amazing life and will be forever honored in our memories.
I realized that scoring "husband points" just got a heckuva lot easier now that I have a kid with a Learner's Permit!
I can drag #2 of 5 with me under the pretence that "he needs practice" when I go to gas up the Mother of Five's van. Once at the gas station I “get to” send the kid out to fill the tank while I get to stay in the nice warm van!
This is even more "glass is half full" as we quickly approach another Minnesota winter!
Now, if only I could find a way to get #2 of 5 to use HIS debit card instead of MINE when it comes to paying for the gas! I could score husband points, while staying warm, and keeping a little extra green in my wallet!
The "FOF Observations" are a series of "Perpetual Posts" where I will share with you, my readers, short little observations that I have made (or will be making) on being the father of a large family. You will be able to access each of the posts in a cohesive list by clicking on the "FOF Observations" link in the "Perpetual Posts" group on the sidebar.
I had made a PB & J sandwich for breakfast, and since I suffer with Schatzki Ring sensitivity (even though it’s one of my favorite things in the world) I cannot eat PB & J without something to drink, so (as I often do) I took an open glass of apple juice with me.
In the darkness of my garage at 6am (and with my dome light inside my car turned off) I climbed in, set my sandwich, lunch, and other “stuff” down in the passenger seat, set the glass of apple juice on the dashboard then proceeded to remove the Taco Bell soda cup (the size of a small town’s water reservoir) that was occupying the cup holder. As fate would have it, this “cistern” of soda just happened to be full (nearly to the brim), and just as I picked it up the snap on lid popped off. Without the lid to hold the integrity of the cup, the cup lost its shape, causing me to lose my grip on the cup.
As the cup slipped from my grip, it fell between the center console and my leg, allowing the ENTIRE contents (32 oz, or a full U.S. quart) to spill out along my leg and under my (quite ample) derriere.
I quickly jumped up, but alas, it was not in time. I was soaked between my belt and the bend in my knee all along my right side butt cheek. My wallet was dripping wet, and to make things worse, once I turned on the dome light in my car, I gazed upon a preverbal “holding pond” of soda that had pooled in the driver’s seat of my car (aided by the waterproof characteristics of my car seat cover).
I needed something to absorb the standing pool of pop on my seat.
Like a chicken with its head cut off, I scrambled around the garage until I located a large comforter that we keep in the garage to lay on the ground for picnics, fireworks, etc. I tossed it onto the seat of my car (covering and hoping to absorb the pool of soda). First problem solved.
I contemplated changing my pants, but in my agitated state (and with my better judgment misplaced somewhere in all the confusion) I decided I did not have time to change my pants. I decided to take the chance that as I sat upon it, the comforter would absorb much of the soda from my pants. I jumped in the car (on top of the piled up comforter) and headed out. As I drove to work, it almost seemed as if the comforter trick was actually working!
Folks… I am a big guy. Even with my recent weight loss, I am both tall and “big boned”. Sitting atop the comforter caused my head to rub the roof of the car (even while slouching).
When I arrived at work, I stepped out of my car and the cool air made me immediately aware that the “comforter trick” did not work. Not at all. I was worried what this looked like as I walked into my office. As luck would have it, my coworkers immediately noticed (and commented) on… my hair.
ON MY HAIR?!?!? What was wrong with my hair??
It would seem that as my head rubbed the roof of the car in it’s “still wet” and freshly hair sprayed state, it styled itself and dried into a Mohawk!
Thankfully, I had enough time to re-wet and brush it back down before roll call. Although my hair was normalized, I still had to try and hide my wet butt from all the officers who would (undoubtedly) have had a good laugh (at my expense).
It worked, and somewhere around 1pm I finally stopped noticing that “pee’d your pants” feeling.