November 23, 2014
My mother-in-law lives in a seniors’ residence, so we stow her Christmas decorations in our basement until she needs them. So I took this lovely Saturday morning to be a good son-in-law and move them back to her apartment, tree and all. I was up early, being all efficient and proud of myself. It’s a nice, brisk, sunny Saturday morning. Nothing can ruin this day.
I asked the person at the front desk to borrow a large dolly so I can easily wheel the eight large tubs from my car to the elevator. I neatly and sturdily stacked the tubs in two piles of four onto the dolly and gingerly made my way from the car to the front door. No slopes, no stairs. Everything is good. I’ve done this for a few years without incident. Nothing can go wrong.
Except for a big, perfectly-timed gust of wind that toppled one entire stack and sent four tubs hurtling throughout the parking lot. Lids came off and ornaments were rolling, smashing and taking flight. After inventing several new profanities at the top of my lungs, I chased down everything I could, recovering all except for one lid that by now has probably made its way across the Avalon.
For a few moments, I was hating life…until I got back to the door of the building to haul the toppled decorations into the lobby. There was this quite elderly lady on a cane helping her husband, also on a cane, to their car. She left him in the car and came over to help me pick everything up. There she was, cane on the ground, bent over, picking up broken bits of things and hanging on to whatever she could so more things wouldn’t blow around. I thanked her and told her she didn’t have to stay. But she stayed until I got everything inside. Meanwhile, her husband called out to me from their car and says, “I’d help you if I could but I just can’t.”
And in that moment, with my heart melting for this couple, and thanks to them, I ended up laughing at myself and appreciating life a little more than when the day started.