You might have an inkling that I’m going to write about the beauty of the Christmas lights lining the streets around our city…or perhaps you think I’m going to write about the street cleaner doing one heck-of-a-job lately…or maybe the ice glistening on the roads early in the morning. But, no…these are streets of a different variety…the kind that map the inside of a person’s soul…the kind that only the person herself or himself can clean or decorate.
Last week, on Monday night, my dear ol’ dad was visiting us for a little early Christmas exchange. We had gone out to dinner at a great local steakhouse, only about five miles into town from the Yellow Submarine. We enjoyed a hearty meal of tri-tip, shrimp, and the ohsocan’tdowithout chicken fingers, and with bellies full, it was time to head home for some presents to be unwrapped and perhaps a cup of warm tea.
There are only two ways to easily get back up the hill to where we live. Both are a bit scary and require diligent driving and a keen sense of awareness. This night, this trip, my dear ol’ dad driving his black Ford Freestyle, we slowly curved in and out and around only to be confronted head-on by a semi-truck-passing the blindest curve of all, driving into our lane. My dad stayed steady, swerved to the right near the guard rail, but stated, “Where do I go?” As he honked the horn alerting the other driver to what seemed to be a no-way-out situation, the road opened up, and the semi-truck veered left, back into his lane, and continued winding down the hill as we realized we were still alive. Maycee shouted, “He almost hit our license plate! We almost died!” She was right, and my dad and I were speechless.
Once safe at home, only a few more comments were made, but not by my father, and just some “uh-huh’s” by me, as I tried to keep Maycee focused on the fun about to occur with opening Grandpa’s gifts. Easily swayed, into the living room we ventured and had a terrific time watching our little girl unwrap the prized American Girl doll bed she’d wanted for over a year. Whew…I’m so grateful we had that distraction.
However, as the sun came up next morning, and Dad departed on his way, the event of the night before seated heavily on my heart. How did we avoid that truck? How did the road seem to widen like that and we survived? How many lives do we really have? The answers differ for every situation, for every person…How does this relate with sparkling streets you ask?
There is a motto in twelve-step recovery, at least back where I got sober, and the motto is this: Keep your own side of the street clean. I have this listed on my Facebook profile, and I try to live by it, sometimes to the point of obsession. But here’s the deal, street cleaning is constant. Streets never stay clean for very long. They require upkeep, sweeping, cleaning the gutters, and re-paving when they get really bad. I can’t clean another person’s street for them-at least not without wearing myself out-before the brush and muck build up again and again…I must focus on my side, with or without twinkling lights shining bright.
I have sent out most of my Christmas cards. One remains in the box, and it awaits a little letter, a simple apology, that on my account is necessary from me to another person. The other night my family almost left Mother Earth. I wasn’t ready to go, and what I know is that when my time comes, I want to have sparkling streets surrounding Kasey Lane. Street cleaning isn’t about who’s right, who’s wrong, who did what to whom, or getting anything back. It’s about simply doing it because I should, because there is no healthy benefit to letting the dirt sit. I can safely say that by living this way, re-paving is a rarity. So, tomorrow, I’m going to send my Christmas apology letter to the deserving person. That’s it. No more waiting.
There are signs all around us shouting: YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOUR TIME IS UP! YOU NEVER KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not every sign is as blatant or frightening as the one I received last Monday, but they are there. I’ve never done well holding grudges or harboring anger, so maybe street cleaning hasn’t been so difficult to come by. And, every once in while I swish around in some justifiable resentment that ultimately stares me in the face and says, “Really? Do you want to keep me around?” The answer: NO…I want clean streets for all to enjoy, and most certainly during Santa’s season, I want the bling bling to stand out.
So, Readers, it’s going to be a new day soon (for some of us sooner than others). Today, if there’s some debris piling up in your street gutter, well, just get out that push broom and get rid of it! Life is short. Be happy, and take time to give a chuckle.