Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Perfect Afternoon

If one could write a recipe for the perfect afternoon, yesterday had all the right ingredients. After the baby-sitter arrived – to Morgan’s delight, since she adores her – I drove to Goldsboro for a book signing hosted by Wall2Wall Photography. While the sky appeared a bit crossed, the tears were stubbornly held back, and I enjoyed a rain-free trip. When I got there, two ladies – Elaine and Sherrill – were already there, and I parked behind one of their cars.

The next couple of hours were terrific. Some of Julie’s friends from her day job stopped by, purchased books and offered interesting conversation. The food was great – Sherrill, those Amaretto cookies were to die for! – the wine delightful and sweet, and all along we enjoyed a background of wonderful New Orleans Blues. To add to the magic, Julie’s family was there, and I thoroughly enjoyed talking to them.

After a while, one lady had to leave and my car was blocking her way, so I got my keys and went outside to move it. I initially thought of backing out all the way, but then I had this crazy thought of pulling over the side a bit and let her squeeze through. Well, squeeze she did, but my pulling to the side took a whole new meaning when I forgot that there was no side – I nicely backed into a drain ditch. Not even aware of it in the beginning, I was puzzled when my car didn’t move and thought I was stuck in the mud, until I got out and saw that the right back tire was airborne over the ditch.

We all stood there hoping to come up with a solution, when Julie’s husband decided to get his tractor and pull my car out. It only took a moment for him to pull the car and have it with all four tires on the ground. The moment we got back on the porch, a powerful storm approached; we barely made it under cover before the sky opened in a downpour.

The little “ditch accident” could have put a damper on the perfect afternoon, but once I totaled the facts, it was easy to see that nothing had happened – I was fine, the car was fine, Julie’s newly-planted Monkey Grass wasn’t even disturbed, and we had escaped the rain just in time. When the storm subsided a bit, it was time for me to head back home. As I drove, I thought back about the car in the ditch, and wondered if there was a silver lining to the little dark cloud. It wasn’t until I got closer to home that the answer to my question popped up.

Allowing minor trouble to come in and spoil our day is an easy thing to do, but it is something we can surely control. We can’t always be in charge of circumstances, but we always own our thoughts and the way we respond to challenges. The car in the ditch could have been something completely annoying, but we were able to turn it around and laugh about it, adding one more piece to an already beautiful puzzle. Life happens, but if we can strive to turn a negative into a positive, it can always be a fun adventure.