Susan waved at a man in the window of a coffee shop. He looked familiar. Turned out that he was the editor who originally hired me to write for the paper. I had no self confidence, but Jude sent very short, very encouraging e-mails that made me see myself differently. He told me several times that he was certain that I had a book in me. He was the first to do that. Since then, I have heard that so many times at this point that I've kind of accepted it as fact and am patiently keeping my eyes open for a suitable topic (and no, the world does not need another book on breast cancer from a person who has no new wisdom on the topic anyway.) But it will remain the truth forever: I heard this from Jude first, and I remember the shock of reading those words, not daring to believe them.
We walked into the little store and I was amazed to see Leslie, a wonderful woman that I used to work with many years ago when we first moved back here. I was a janitor in a plastics plant (now defunct). We talked in passing, and I liked her very much, but the janitor is a busy person, and I almost always only met people in passing. Leslie was so glad to see me, and greeted me so warmly that it actually made me a little teary. I introduced Susan and we fell into a three way conversation like old friends.
I had a great laugh at the bank with the teller and another customer, and then wandered over to get gas. I went to the full serve only because I wanted to visit with Alex. "I miss you," he said, and I said in all truth, "I miss you too. You were a great person to work with." He is a person with a good, good heart, and so tall that I nicknamed him 'Tree', and I'm sure that the store is not a pleasant place for him (if you were to listen to the talk, you'd think for sure that his first name was G-- D--- and his last name Alex), but he quietly goes about his business there, and lets the nonsense run off his big, big shoulders.
I stopped in Tractor Supply to talk to Jeremy about placing an order, and really, the difference between the old job and the new job struck me again. I was hailed cheerfully, and I greeted them back. We laughed and bantered back and forth, and then I headed out again. I've never heard anyone speak about anyone else disrespectfully there. That comes from the top, I think.
I went to the college for the required physical for OT. As I was getting out of my car, I heard my name, and turned around. It was New Mary. Tim was the one that pushed me towards college (I felt like I should wait until Cara was done with her college), but it was Mary who pointed out that OT was a hot field. I watched the papers and saw that she was right, and so that is how I picked the field. I didn't recognize her because each time I see her, she looks so different. Her hair has grown long enough, post chemo, to be tucked into a pony tail and I touched it, amazed. As we hugged, I noticed she had a text book, and I said, "MARY! Are you taking classes?" She is. She's taking OT as well. I screamed with excitement right there in the parking lot, and we fell into step talking a blue streak about J-numbers and classes and her job and any number of things. I took her to admissions to get her number for her ID and then, unfortunately had to take leave of her to get to my own appointment. We exchanged hugs and "I'm so glad" and "We'll be study buddies" and "Call me!"
As I waited for my physical, I ran into two people from A and P and we enjoyed laughing about it. (Lord knows, there was not a lot of that while we were IN the class...) A woman listening to us had a brand new A and P text book. "You are scaring me," she said, uncertainly. And we told her the truth. It is hard, hard stuff, but she'd make it, just like we did.
I stopped by the emu farm, to tell them what an e-mail friend had told me: that emu oil was soothing to her radiation burns. While I was visiting with the workers there, an elderly woman stood listening, and when I walked out, she walked out with me. "Did I hear correctly? Did you have cancer?" We talked about that. Her daughter had breast cancer too. She is in the post treatment stage, and feeling lost too. She tries to read up on things, to minimize her chances of reoccurence. She's careful about her diet. It sounded very familiar. In frustration, the mother said, "They will not tell her that she is cured." I looked down at this 74 year old woman. I totally understood what she wanted. Crap. It's what we all want, really. We all long to hear that we are 'cured', but that's not the way it works. I explained it to her as gently as I could. "Listen," I said reaching into my purse. I wrote down my e-mail address. "I've been really encouraged by others, and your daughter is certainly welcome to e-mail me." And she tucked the paper away in her own purse carefully. We hugged and she whispered, "Good luck to you." I whispered back, "and to your daughter too."
I got home and picked four quarts of blueberries. For Tim and I and also for my old friend Mary. She shares generously from her garden, a sign in her yard offering daily produce for free, and their corn was just the best this year. I think of her and Danny eating the blueberries I'm picking now this coming winter, and it makes me smile to myself. There's plenty more picking out there.
By then, Tim was home. We were going to get a load of firewood. We were going to put rain gutters on the front of the garage on one of the rentals. Out of the blue, he said, "Let's don't work tonight," and so we didn't. The sunset was gorgeous, and we rode along companionably.
It was such a nice day, and I was hard pressed to explain just what it was for a while. It just niggled at me until I figured it out at the end of the day. Where ever I was yesterday was just where I was supposed to be. I belonged everywhere I went. I was meant to be there.
That doesn't happen every day. How blessed I am.