So, my property is being reappraised for tax purposes this year, and the mayor (probably guessing that property values are going to go down, since the last reappraisal was in 2009, before values here really started declining) wants us to approve a 28-cent tax increase. NO. Just NO.
When I moved into this house in 1997, my combined city and county taxes were about $800 a year. Last year, my combined city and county taxes were almost $1800. The house hasn’t changed; the property hasn’t changed (except to lose $40K in value thanks to the economy), and you want to make my tax bill higher?! NO.
For those who don’t know how it works, that’s not 28 cents per property. That’s 28 cents per $1000 of the assessment value, which, in TN, is 25% of the fair market value. So for someone with a house valued at $100K, that’s an extra $70 a year. I don’t know about your house, but my house is just 1000 sq. ft., and it is currently appraised right at $100K. Would you want to pay nearly $2000 a year (in addition to your mortgage payment) to live in 1000 sq. ft.? Could you afford that? I almost can’t. And what for? To live in a house that I bought and paid for. How many people will lose their homes if this is approved?
Those who rent and think “oh, a property tax increase doesn’t apply to me because I don’t own a home,” YES, IT DOES. Because your rent includes ALL of the costs your landlord incurs to provide your home, including property taxes. And most leases include a clause that the landlord can raise your rent if property taxes go up. Just remember that when you are asked to vote for a property tax increase.
And you want to know what? The budget that this increase would support includes a 2.3% raise for city employees. Now, I’m all about paying people a fair wage. But city employees ALREADY earn significantly more than private sector employees in comparable positions, and they have significantly better benefits, too. *I* haven’t had a raise since 2008. Why should city employees, paid with MY tax dollars, get a raise when I don’t?
I don’t know if they will put it to a vote. I think they have to. But I DO know that if Memphis homeowners and residents will bombard the city council with protests [perhaps pointing out to them, again, that Memphis has THE HIGHEST property tax rate in the state of TN --- even Brentwood and Franklin (Williamson county suburbs of Nashville with a large percentage of high-value properties) have significantly lower rates than Memphis], the council will listen.
So I’m starting now. VOTE NO! Write and email your city council person. Go to city council hearings (pdf) and meetings and let them know that a property tax increase is not acceptable. Memphians are taxed enough, and it’s time that the city and county governments were made to understand that.
This past week has been a very hard one. About ten days ago, my office was rocked by the shocking news that a former coworker had taken his own life. And on the day when I found out when my coworker’s memorial service would be, I was told that a very dear friend had died from complications due to illness.
So I had two funerals and a visitation to attend this week, one a day starting on Monday. It was … heart-wrenching.
But the harder of the two was the suicide. Not because I cared less for my friend than for my former coworker. Far from it. But my friend had been ill for a long time, and, as we are both Christian ladies, I know that she is now with our Saviour in Heaven, well and happy and no longer in pain. And I know that I will see her again when I make my own trip through the valley of the shadow and across the final river.
No, the suicide was harder because my coworker was only a year older than me. He left behind five children, a wife, and an ex-wife. And his parents. And his siblings. And the man had so many people (non-relatives) who cared about him. If only he had reached out and been vulnerable, transparent with just one of them. If only he had sought some professional help when things began to feel overwhelming.
I have a long familiarity with the effects of suicide on those who knew the person. When I was 18, a woman whom I thought of as almost a second mother killed herself. I’m sure that lady never dreamed that her suicide would touch someone unrelated like me. But it shadowed my life for years. And now, in the past two years, I’ve had three more friends or acquaintances commit suicide. In every case, they have shut out those would would have been honoured to help them bear their burdens.
Suicide is horrible. But some of the things that people say about people who commit suicide are, in my opinion, much more horrible. I understand that they are angry and hurt. But I think back to my own suicide attempt at the age of 16, and I know that the person who commits this act is desperate. They are so deep in despair, they are in such a dark pit of pain and hurt, that they see nothing but their pain. They can’t see the way out. They can’t see anything but the endless pain, whether it’s physical or psychological, and they just want to make the pain stop. Suicide seems so reasonable.
To those who would say that suicide is “selfish,” I can tell you that the whole time you are making your plans, you are thinking of how much better everyone will be without you. Of how your being “out of the way” and “no longer a bother” will benefit everyone. If your problems are compounded by financial stresses, you may even think “when they get the insurance money, everything will be okay for them.” So in the mind of the suicide, it’s the ultimate altruism.
And while my own attempt was fueled by what I can now see as utterly trivial adolescent foolishness — though it has value, as it has fueled my attempts to protect my own children from bullying — the fact is that my pain was excruciating to me. I hurt so bad, and I could see no way out. (How do you escape when the problem is that you are completely unlikeable and socially worthless? If people hate you that much, wouldn’t the world be a better place without you?) Had that pain been combined with financial stresses, job stresses, family worries, or any of the myriad other concerns that an adult faces … well, had it been compounded by any of that, I probably would have made sure I succeeded.
The suicide of my “second mother” showed me the cruel pain inflicted on even the most distant acquaintance by the loss of a friend. Last year’s suicide of an online friend, a young man who was just at the beginning of his life, reinforced my understanding of the hurt suffered by those left behind. And the more recent suicide of my co-worker reminds me yet again.The real victims of suicide are those left behind by the person who takes his own life.
Today, I read that Rick Warren’s son committed suicide. I weep for that family. Because their path over the next several years is going to be an extremely difficult and painful one. They have lost someone they loved. And the “why,” even if you are privileged to have it shared with you, is never enough.
Being a poet, I wrote a poem as I processed all the difficult emotions of this week — and all of the emotions from the past that this week dredged up. It is a sonnet about suicide and what drives those who commit it.
Surrounded by the tragedies of life
And sinking underneath the painful load
Of death and pain, frustration, fear, and strife
Sometimes it seems a weary, lonely road.
And some there are who cannot bear the strain,
Whose hearts and minds are broken by their cares;
Consumed by burdens they cannot sustain,
Their courage withers and their soul despairs.
Succumbing to temptation, they give in
To death’s false promises of easy peace
They seek their own destruction as an end
A way to make their agony to cease.
But suicide is not an easy end;
As mourners, left behind, will comprehend.
May God bless and keep us all. And may we remember to share each other’s burdens.
It seemed a simple task, really. Spend $50 or thereabouts at a couple of local small businesses on November 24 — Small Business Saturday. I’d won a $25 American Express gift card for the purpose from FedEx, and I’d registered my own American Express card as well, so that I could receive the $25 reward credit that they offer for supporting small, local businesses on the day after Black Friday.
I’d checked my list of “stuff to get” both for home and on family members’ Christmas lists, and I’d checked the stores I thought would be eligible on the Shop Small website‘s map of participating stores.
I was disappointed that some of the ones I’d especially hoped to find didn’t show up on the map, but happily surprised to find others that I hadn’t expected.
My first stop was my favourite little liquor store. I wanted a bottle of red and a bottle of white for making my favourite lamb stew and the kids’ favourite chicken dish. As I was checking out, I mentioned to the clerk that I was there because it was Small Business Saturday and I was happy to see that they were participating in the promotion. He looked confused, and said that he didn’t even know what that was.
I was a little worried as I walked back to the car. According to the Shop Small website, you get the $25 credit on your card once the merchant reports to AmEx that you made a qualifying purchase on the appropriate shopping day. But I figured I still had three or four more stops I’d planned to make, so if that one didn’t pan out, I had backup.
My next stop was to one of my favourite little used book places. While I was actually looking for a couple of specific things, I always love to browse through this shop. While I often come up empty-handed, I occasionally find a treasure. Today, I found five! A couple of first editions by one of my favourite authors (John Hersey), a couple of Dame Frevisse mysteries by Margaret Frazer, and a Chaim Potok that I didn’t have in my collection. Along with a couple of fun little things that looked interesting. Again, while chatting with the clerk, I mentioned that I didn’t usually venture out on Thanksgiving weekend, but that since I would get $25 as a gift from AmEx for supporting small business, and since I’d seen that they were participating, I’d made a special trip. The clerk says, “That’s really nice that you get $25 … but do you have to use your American Express card? Because we don’t take AmEx here.” (Yes, I bought the books anyway.)
As it was now suppertime and one of my favourite little local sushi places was both on the way home and on the Shop Small map, I stopped off for dinner. Everything went smoothly there, so I feel fairly certain that that transaction, at least, will earn me the $25 credit on my AmEx.
But I still had the FedEx card to spend. I stopped by the house to drop off the books and the wine, and I checked the Shop Small map again to see if my second-favourite local independent bookseller was on it. (I’d already checked for my first, which wasn’t there. Big disappointment.)
I was glad to find that the second-favourite shop was participating and headed out again to see if I could pick up some Christmas list items and a couple of things on my list. Alas, only one of the things I wanted was in. But I did find the sequel to a favourite humour compilation (I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar — the sequel is More Badder Grammar! ), so I picked that up. The kids and I will have fun with it; I think they’ve read the first one three or four times, laughing hilariously all the way through every time.
So it was a strangely frustrating but also satisfying Shop Small day for me. You see, while I do appreciate what the big retailers can do for the community (and my community benefits immensely from several of them), I also have great affection and loyalty for the local businesses. And I’ve watched far too many of them close their doors in recent years. I found myself remembering two of them, Mantia’s and Crema, while I was out today, and wishing that I could spend some money with them today. I know that the little I did today probably isn’t a drop in the bucket for the shops I went to. But I feel like I did something useful today. And I did get a nice dinner, a few good books, and a couple of nice bottles of wine out of it.
This year, the boys and I are trying out what may become a new Thanksgiving tradition for our family. The “big family” — my grandmother, my parents, me and my brothers, their wives, and all of our kids — got together for Thanksgiving dinner last weekend at Mom and Dad’s. I spent Saturday acting as Mom’s sous chef, and we all spent Sunday eating lunch, playing games, and enjoying the family.
So today it’s just me and the kids. We decided to have a “little Thanksgiving.” We slept in this morning and then had French toast and sausages for breakfast. Now we’ve got a semi-traditional Thanksgiving meal in the works. There’s an 8-pound turkey roasting in the oven, but no stuffing. The kids wanted wild rice pilaf instead. So we’re having wild rice pilaf, fried kale, and pan-fried brussels sprouts with parmesan cheese for lunch, with peach cobbler for dessert. And for supper, we’ll have my special “poor man’s steak” with onion gravy, kohlrabi and mushrooms, roast beets and carrots.
The rest of the day, chores, i-devices, and single-person computer games are banned. (I’m writing this on my computer while we watch Disney’s “The Swiss Family Robinson.”) We’ll play board games, watch DVDs, and generally goof off until their dad picks them up tonight to spend the rest of the weekend with him.
Food, fun, family, and no chores or distractions. If we decide we like it, I don’t think it’s a bad tradition to start.
Dear Restaurants: I like to eat out. I’m told that I have a sophisticated, well-trained palate. And rather high standards. Many of my friends consider me the go-to girl for eatery recommendations. So I’m going to tell you what I like to see, just so you know.
- Fresh, high-quality ingredients. Preferably seasonal, local, and organic. But at least the first two. Brown, wilted lettuce, gristly steak, and tasteless, sponge-like tomatoes are a BIG turn-off.
- Consistent menu. I’ll give you a pass on this one only if your menu changes with the seasons. Otherwise, don’t constantly change what is on the menu so that I never know what to expect. And don’t disappoint me when I come in for my favourite dish by telling me it’s no longer on the menu.
- Attentive service. I need to have confidence that I’m going to get what I ordered and that it’s going to be delivered with a smile. I should never have to request a drink refill. And I should never wait more than ten minutes for the check once I’ve asked for it.
- Choice. PLEASE have more sides than potatoes prepared six different ways. Some of us can’t eat potatoes. Or bread. Let me choose among some green things, some starchy things, and some other colourful vegetable things. There’s a lot out there to choose from. And please allow me to substitute one thing for another without excessive upcharges.
- Transparency. I’m not asking for a cookbook with all your recipes, and since you’re not a fast-food joint, I don’t even expect nutritional information. But disclosure of known allergens would be nice. It would also be nice if servers could answer basic questions like “Is there sugar in that?” and “What kind of oil do you use in this dish?” (Just for the record … some of us are allergic to canola oil. I want to know so I can avoid it. Thanks.)
- Cleanliness. You would think that clean dishes and tables would be obvious, but you’ve no idea how many times I’ve sat down to a meal and had to ask for a clean fork, or sent my water back because there is dirt on the outside of the glass — or, worse, flotsam in the water. Ugh. But it’s not just those obvious things. I also look for clean, uncluttered tables and clean, sanitary bathrooms. Oh, and if I want my feet to stick to the floor (or make crunchy noises when I walk), I’ll go eat dinner at the movie theatre.
- Originality. If I can make it at home, why should I pay you $25 a plate for it? If every steak house in town serves garlic mash, maybe you should offer something different?
There are other things, of course, that will get you a recommendation from me — absolute first being well-prepared, tasty food. But if you pay attention to these things, you’ll have a good start at being on my recommendations list.
God has a funny sense of humour. And a sweet way of hugging me when I need it most.
My sons are headed off this weekend, the younger for Boy Scout camp, the older to work for a week with Appalachia Service Project — he will be working in Kentucky this year.
So after taking the older son to his lawn care client’s house, we stopped by Home Depot to pick up a couple of things that he found he needed for his trip.
While we were looking for the tool belts (our local store is reorganizing, and nothing is where it used to be or where the aisle signs say it is), my son says, “Hey, Mom, I think you should know that there’s a hole in the seat of your pants.” Great. My favourite work pants, great for everything from weeding the flowerbeds to crawling around in the attic, are shot. And I’m walking around Home Depot with my underwear showing. “Give me the cart! You walk behind me!”
We finally find the tool belts, and my very skinny son is looking for a pouch with an attached belt that we can afford, and that fits him. The first couple that he likes have belts so big they’d fit me and him. Together. We’re laughing and talking and hugging each other and doing the typical mom-teenager thing as he tries on these belts. I’m asking if he has everything he needs for his trip.
And this guy walks up. “Where’s he going?” The guy looks nice and non-threatening, so I said, “Well, he’s going on a mission trip into Appalachia…” and I proceeded to explain what ASP is all about. He asks if they share the gospel and I say that they do, but that my understanding is that it’s not the main focus. That the idea is that it doesn’t do a lot of good to get somebody saved if they are starving or living in dangerous conditions. But they do talk about the Lord and they have devotions for the kids each day.
The man is smiling as we’re talking, and my son has wandered off to find a couple of carpenter’s pencils. The man asks me which tool belt my son picked out. I tell him I’m not sure, because we tried on so many trying to find one small enough for him, but I think it’s the $20 one made of dark brown leather. The man reaches in his pocket and hands me a $20, saying, “Let me buy it for him. That’s a good thing that he’s doing.”
I was stunned. Grateful. I stammered some kind of thanks. Blessed him. Went to find my son and sent him to thank the man. Cried a little. Thanked God for good people.
And came home to share the proof that there are angels among us.
I get a lot of flak about my diet. I eat low-carb most of the time. Not super-strict, like Atkins — though I’ve done the Atkins Diet and liked it pretty well — but more a “careful carb choice” approach.
I eat far less bread and fewer grain products than most people I know. I avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn, as well as sweet vegetables like carrots and peas. I don’t eat beans. My vegetables tend toward the green, leafy kind. Or the bright, crunchy kind. Kale, spinach, bell peppers, tomatoes, all kinds of lettuce ….
I eat lots of meat. And more fat than most people. Olive oil, coconut oil, butter, nut oils, and sesame oils are “frequent flyers” in my cooking pans.
I eat very little sugar. Fruit, especially berries, pomegranate, mango, or melon, is my dessert. Some peanut M&Ms once in a while. A Cappuccino Blast as an occasional treat. A slab of high-quality dark chocolate is my “naughty” pleasure. But no soda, no candy (except the M&Ms), none of that stuff. I make sugar-free desserts occasionally, when I want something sweet for after dinner.
I don’t count calories. I don’t count fat grams. I consider carb grams.
And I eat a topsy-turvy meal plan compared to most Americans. Breakfast is my biggest, most calorie-dense meal, with lunch a close second. Both of those meals may be as much as 1000 calories apiece. Supper is small and frugal, often only 500 calories or so. I seldom snack between meals — I don’t need to. The fat in my meals keeps me satiated until the next one. Since the typical American eats a small breakfast and lunch, and a large dinner, my meal plan puts me in the “odd” category.
So I get a lot of flak, especially from people who don’t know that most of my excess weight is due to several rounds of steroids that I had to take in the last few years. Steroid weight is second only to baby weight when it comes to being hard to get the pounds off. And since I’m 100 pounds overweight, well, I get a lot of flak.
A lot of people also assume that I’m terribly unhealthy. I’m not. Besides the avoirdupois and some serious allergies that cause a constant, chronic cough, I’m actually quite fit. And I can prove it, thanks to my doctor’s recent decision to do a complete blood workup and lipid profile on me.
Most people who are very overweight, like me, have high blood pressure. My blood pressure stays pretty steadily around 120 over 70, which is what it was when I was 16, weighed 100 pounds, and ran ten miles a day.
Most people who are morbidly obese, like me, have high cholesterol. My doctor did a lipid profile and my results are excellent:
- Overall cholesterol 143 ….. (good is less than 200)
- HDL (good) cholesterol 46 ….. (good is anything above 40)
- LDL (bad) cholesterol 74 ….. (good is less than 130)
- Triglycerides 115 ….. (good is less than 150)
The average coronary risk for women in my age group is 4.44.
Mine is 3.11.
Most people who are as overweight as I am are also diabetic. I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2008. But I do not take insulin or any diabetic medication at all. My diet keeps the diabetes well under control. The proof is in my A1C test, which came back with a 5.7. Diabetics are doing well if they keep their A1C under 7.0.
AND my estimated average blood glucose came back at 116.9. Since I test it only once a week and it invariably shows between 85 and 90, my doctor tells me that I’m to keep on doing whatever I am doing, because it’s working.
Oh, and for those who keep telling me that I’m going to kill my kidneys with my high-protein diet: my BUN is 19 (normal is between 7 and 25), and my creatinine is .98 (normal is .6 to 1.3). My kidneys are very happy — probably in part because I don’t tax them with coffee and soda, but instead give them at least three-quarters of a gallon of water a day.
Obviously, my diet works for me. I am slowly losing the steroid weight and all of my important health indicators are outrageously excellent. And that’s the only confirmation I need. Low-carb keeps me healthy.
I don’t know whether to laugh or be offended.
I am a freelance editor with accounts on several online job-locator service boards that seek skilled service providers all over the world. I usually skim past all the low-paying jobs and bid only on the plum assignments. I’m not interested in writing fifty (low-quality) articles a day for ten cents an article. And my profile clearly states my rates as $50/hour.
So I was pretty excited when I got an e-mail saying that someone wanted to hire me for a private project. Awesome, because a little extra money would be nice.
I went to the site to check out the project. The guy has sixty-five 500-word articles and sixteen 1000-word articles written by non-native English speakers. He wants them edited for correct grammar, proofread, and put into a specific format — within two days. He will pay up to AU$40 (which is about $38 USD).
In other words: He wants me to proof/edit nearly 50K words in 48 hours for $33. (I have to pay $5 to the job-finder site.)
The average novel these days is around 60K to 90K words. So we’re talking the equivalent of a book, here. I can do a simple edit on the average novel in three or four 8-hour days. He wants it in two days, so that makes it a rush job. I usually charge $40/hour for this kind of editing, and I upcharge 25% for rush work. So my quote for a project like this one would usually be around $1000.
Yeah, I turned down that job. And I’m totally disgusted at the slave wages that people think an expert like me, with more than 25 years of experience in the field, will work for. But I can only laugh. Did this person REALLY think I would work for less than $2/hour? REALLY?!
As we’re on the way home from the movie tonight, I learn that #1 Son drank all the milk with his supper tonight. I was planning to use that milk to make pancakes tomorrow, so we need to stop and get some on our way home. I pull into the CashSaver near our house and give #1 Son five dollars, telling him that should be plenty to cover it. #1 Son runs inside and comes out a few minutes later with a gallon of milk and a receipt.
“It was $5.14!” he says as he climbs into the car. I give him fourteen cents and send him back into the store, while I try to figure out how I’m saving at this place when I can get Great Value (GV) milk (the store brand) for $2.94 a gallon at Wal-Mart. Then I see that #1 Son has bought Turner Quality Checked (TQC) milk, which is about $4 a gallon at Wal-Mart … the same price as this so-called CashSaver place. (So the only thing I saved is the gas it takes to get to the Wal-Mart, which is 10 minutes from home, while CashSaver is three minutes from home.)
#1 Son returns to the car and we head for home. I ask if they had any other brand of milk.
“Yeah, but I don’t trust those off brands. They aren’t as good.”
So, knowing that we’ve been drinking GV brand for more than a year now, I asked him what was the difference (besides a couple bucks a gallon).
“Turner is fresher, so it tastes better.”
“Oh,” I said, “Wanna bet?” He should know that when I say those words, he’s about to get a life lesson.
When we got home, I set up a blind taste test for both boys. I sent them off to put on their pajamas while I set everything up, so they couldn’t see what I was up to.
I had a quart of GV milk I bought last weekend, and the gallon of TQC that we’d just bought. (RISKY! Week-old store-brand milk vs. fresh-bought name brand!) I put a quarter of a cup of GV milk in each of two clear glasses. I put a quarter of a cup of TQC milk in each of two fancy coffee cups. Then I called the boys.
Right off, #1 Son points out that they each need a glass of water to rinse their mouths between samples, or it won’t be a fair test. So we get glasses of water for each of them.
I tell them to drink from each cup, and then tell me which one they like best, and which one they think is the TQC milk.
#1 Son goes first. He drinks, rinses, drinks. Considers. Tells me his choice and which cup has TQC in it. #2 Son follows suit.
Both boys tell me that the clear glass is the best-tasting, and that it is obviously the TQC milk. I tell them they are wrong! The TQC was in the fancy cup, and the plain old Wal-Mart milk was in the plain old glass. #1 Son practically accuses me of lying.
I look him straight in the eye and say, “When have I EVER lied to you? About ANYTHING?”
“Well … never. But you might have forgotten. Or gotten mixed up.”
“Nope. I wrote it down, on this piece of paper. See?” And I show them the piece of paper where I had written “glass: GV; mug: TQC.”
#1 Son mumbles something about it not being fair that I’m always right, and wanders off, shaking his head. #2 Son asks how I know all this stuff. I tell him that I experiment, all the time, to make sure I’m spending my money wisely. There’s no point in paying an extra $2 a gallon if I’m not going to be able to taste the difference.
There are very few things that I pay extra for the name brand for. Campbell’s condensed cream soups (for making casseroles), yes. BP gasoline, yes. One or two prescription drugs. But other than that, I’m content with store brands or generics. Once I’ve tested them and they’ve proven to work, taste, and/or perform just as well as the name brand, then they’ve got me. Because I don’t have a penny to waste. Not even on something as trivial as milk. Although, come to think of it, at $4/gallon, milk’s not trivial anymore. It’s right up there with the petrol I put in my car.
So I went out shopping today. Silly thing to do, a week before Christmas, but I had stuff to get. So. I left home at noon.
At 7 p.m., I came out of Target to find that someone had parked an extended-cab pickup truck next to my CRV in such a way that there was no way I could ever back my car out of the space. I am not “the world’s best back-wards driver” and this person was angled over the line into my space a good 12 inches, with his back bumper less than three inches from mine. (My car was in the exact center of the parking space — which was probably a good thing.)
I got in the car and sat for a minute, setting my purse in its spot, putting my packages away, and trying to think. My kids were coming home in about an hour, and I didn’t want to sit and wait for whoever had done this ridiculously bad parking job to finish their shopping and come out of the store. I wanted to get home and hide the gifts I’d just bought.
I got out of the car and walked to the back. I looked. Yep. Three inches between his bumper and mine. No way was I gonna try to back that sucker out. Shaking my head and fighting back tears of frustration, I turned to go back and settle into my seat.
I had parked next to the cart corral, and from the other side of it, a man suddenly called to me, “Great parking job, wasn’t it?” I looked up, and there was a man leaning out of his car’s window. He gestured to his wife, who was sitting in the passenger seat. “We saw it. The guy was either drunk or crazy. Can you get out? Do you need help?”
I shook my head. “No way I can get out. He’s too close.”
The man said, “I could get you out. Will you let me?”
I looked back at him doubtfully. I did not need a wreck. But his wife was nodding encouragingly and he seemed pretty confident. So I said, “Are you sure?”
“Sure, I know I can. And you stand right there in that empty spot in the cart thing and watch, and next time you’ll know what to do.”
So the man got out of his car and I handed him my key. He got in, started my car, slowly rolled it back an inch or two, then cut the wheel hard toward the truck and pulled forward really slowly. The he put it back in reverse, turned the wheel again, and backed out slowly.
As he pulled my car to a safe place, his wife leaned over and said, “I’m glad you let him do that for you. He’s a pilot, and does that with the really big airplanes all the time. I knew he could do it.” And she smiled happily and settled back into her seat.
I walked to my car, took my key from the man, thanked him, shook his hand … hugged him. Blessed him. My tears of frustration had turned to tears of gratefulness and joy.
I don’t run across a lot of knights in shining armour. I’m sure they are out there. But it seems that usually, when they’ve found their fair lady — the one who cheers them on and who they rescue from the evil dragon — they doff their armour, hang up their sword, and sit on their laurels. This guy hadn’t. He still had his armour on, his sword burnished and ready for action, and his eyes looking for the next quest. And his fair lady was there, urging him on, praising him and encouraging him.
I don’t know who they were, but God does. And my prayer is that He will bless them both in a very special way, because they very much blessed me.