Sometimes walking down my three steps challenges me.  Last night I remembered that I had come home with my paycheck.  I pictured it sitting on the front seat of my car.  I imagined the Delta wind whisking the envelope onto the blacktop of the gas station in Flag City on Saturday morning.  I would not notice as it fluttered away.

Despite the searing pain in my right hip and the frightening wobble in my legs, I eased myself down those steps and skittered the twenty feet to my car.  I glanced to my right, and caught a glimpse of the night sky.  After retrieving my check, I made my cautious way back inside to get my camera.  Then I gingerly traversed those same steps to capture a photo of the setting sun.

As I stood taking pictures, a figure appeared on our road.  Sally, from the far side of the park, approached with  her little dog Buddy.  We exchanged a few words about the beautiful sunset. She asked how I had been.  For some reason, I found myself able to be honest.  I admitted that I had not been doing well, acknowledging the hows and the whys of my see-saw neurology in a few short sentences.  Then Sally spoke of her weekend plans, her daughter’s travels, and visits to the church on the hill just outside Rio Vista.

After a few minutes, I realized that I had grown cold.  I said goodbye.  Sally hesitated, then offered her services and that of her husband, should I need anything done.  I found myself accepting her gracious suggestion.  Then she continued on her walk, and I went back inside, to the warmth of my small space. I managed the steps a little easier this time.

It’s the twenty-third day of the sixty-second month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.

James Taylor, “You’ve Got a Friend”

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