My Week: The Kindness of Strangers

Sunday was pretty routine. DD and I had our visit and I did laundry. I really need to learn that I don’t have to wash everything that’s dirty before the day is over. It isn’t like Sunday is the only day I have at home any more and that’s priceless. I finally got back into exercising. It was about time.

Monday and Tuesday were okay days. There was rain but I stayed home. Then, come Wednesday, things changed.

I’d decided to brave the stores the day before Thanksgiving. As I posted on Facebook, I think insanity played a role in my decision. When I first went into Wally World, the crowd was pretty slim. However, I think I led the stampede because people kept streaming in. I’d start down an aisle and it would be packed with carts. I’d turn to go the other way and there were more carts. It was like playing dodge ’em all over the store. The only place that wasn’t overly busy was the produce section. I was about bonkers before I got what I needed and left.

One of the ladies from the church had called and said we were having a special prayer meeting and she was encouraging everyone to come. I’d planned to go, anyway, so it wasn’t anything additional. Just before I was getting ready to walk out the door, DS1 called. I finally had to almost hang up on him. On the way to prayer meeting, I stopped by and gave Genese a sample of my black salt. Her daughter and family were there and when her little granddaughter saw the tiny packet, she exclaimed, “Salt!” Smart child!

The prayer meeting was singing songs of gratitude interspersed with testimonies of thankfulness. It was a nice way to spend an hour.

I took grains to one of the ladies so she can start some water kefir.

I got home and was in bed by 9:30. I lay there and my mind was in a whirl. Try as I might, I couldn’t relax. More than two hours later, I went to sleep—and then I woke at 4:30.

My neighbor/cousin/friend/doctor had invited me to the celebration they have every Thanksgiving. She goes to her and her construction partner’s business address and cooks for a couple of days. She’s invited me over and over but I’d never gone. I decided to surprise her and go this time. She gave me directions (I didn’t write them down) and the address (which I did write down). She’d also ordered me not to bring food but I disobeyed and took some, anyway.

Since Google is my friend, I looked up the directions on Google Maps. The total mileage between my house and my destination was 33.4 miles. I set the trip meter to zero. Along about 32 miles, I slowed down and started looking in earnest. I couldn’t find the road listed on the map anywhere. I went up the road until I knew I’d gone too far, then turned around and came back. I went down the road (too far) and still didn’t see anything I was supposed to. That happened at least three times. There was a white house up on a hill across from a church. I had been praying all this time and I didn’t stop praying then. Vicious dogs are known to be at many of the homes in this area. I could only hope they didn’t have one.

I parked down the hill from the house and walked up to the front door. Tapping on the door, I apprehensively waited. A man with gray hair pulled back into a ponytail came to the door. I told him I was hopelessly lost and asked him if he knew where such-and-such address was. He’d never heard of it. A woman came and stood beside him. She asked what the address was so I repeated it. “That’s in Chattanooga!” she said. Turns out she was mixing it up with another street name. We stood at the door talking about my plight and they invited me in. They seemed to be nice people so I took them up on it as soon as I’d gone to the car and gotten my Google directions.

Shown to the table in their kitchen, I sat down and the woman got me a glass of water. Another woman was there and we all tried to figure out my dilemma. My lack of sleep and agitation weren’t helping any.

The man took my directions, jotted part of them down on a Post-It and said he was going to “run down the road” and see if he could find where I was supposed to be going. When I objected (weakly), I was assured he was a truck driver and used to doing such things. He was gone long enough that the son of his wife and the daughter of the other woman came in with two children. They looked at me with puzzled expressions and we were introduced all around. Turns out there was no vicious dog—just a skittish black cat that ran from the children.

When the man came back, he said he’d found my road and the place I was going. He gave me specific directions and his cell phone number in case I had problems. I gave them all my heartfelt thanks. I left with an invitation to come back and eat with them if I still couldn’t find it ringing in my ears.

Following his directions, I went right to my destination. I was sitting in the car trying to see the screen on my phone in the bright sun when I felt someone “bouncing” me. Looking up, there was my neighbor. She’d been wondering where I was. I couldn’t call her because her phone was dead and I had the charger in my purse. She’d called me at home on her husband’s phone but I’d failed to make a note of the number so I could call from my cell phone if I needed to. I borrowed his phone to call the nice people and let them know the Lost Sheep was okay.

There were familiar faces including my neighbor’s twin brother and his wife, the construction partner, the husband, and one of my former former co-workers. She had left the hospital before I had and didn’t know my last day was September 30. It was nice to see her again.

Food was everywhere including fruit and veggies bought just for me. I ate what I could plus what I’d brought. After about three hours, I took my leave (one of the last ones out) and came home. I clocked the distance and it was just about 29 miles from their doorway to mine. Google Maps has a feature where you can report discrepancies and you can believe I used it.

Two of the brave souls—my neighbor and her sister-in-law—went Black Friday-ing, starting Thursday night. I didn’t venture out at all but went to bed at 6 p.m.

I woke in the middle of the night and got up to see what was going on. A couple hours later, I went back to bed and slept until 6:30.

Yesterday was a really nice day. I sat in the sun some in the morning and decided to get the dead plants out of the garden boxes. I pulled and tugged until I made my back so sore I could hardly move this morning. My heating pad came into play but I’d still wince whenever I moved. After I had my devotions, I soaked in the tub filled with very warm water. The thing that helped most was BioFreeze. I liberally applied it twice before I went to church.

The service was good but I was having a hard time concentrating. I hadn’t slept all that well last night. I’d gone to bed at 7:45 but my back put me in misery. It was hard to turn over. When we were playing the postlude, we’d gone through the song twice and I was ready to hang it up but the pianist kept going. I caught up and we finished. I was out of there as quickly as I could move.

Tonight, the pain has traveled up into my neck. I’m going to bed early again tonight. Rain is supposed to be moving in through Tuesday with a chance of SNOW Tuesday night. DD has already had some of the white stuff. Oh, well. If we get a big ‘un, I can stay where it’s warm and smile.

4 Responses to My Week: The Kindness of Strangers

  1. Genese November 26, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    We are marveling over another incident where Bell showed amazing insight for one just 3. my brother said something and she told him he had hurt her feelings. he told her she didn’t know what feelings were.. she said “Yes I do. They live deep down inside me and they hurt when you say things like that!”

    I hope you can get some rest. You have my full sympathy when it comes to back pain…

    • Tommie November 26, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

      One that tickled me was “It has SPEAKERS in its eyes!” She is a very perceptive child. And cute as a button to boot.

      I’ll slather up before I go to bed and that should help.

  2. Mary Jane November 27, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    As one who is often lost, I understand your frustration at not finding the road where it was supposed to be! I only had to go a mile or less to my Thanksgiving dinner.

    Hope your back is 100% better.

    • Tommie November 27, 2011 at 9:38 am #

      I’ll bet you already knew the way, too! My back is maybe 50% better. I think being so tense for so long is part of it.

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