I have referenced my nearly religious routine of daily dog walks several times before on this blog. These last few weeks more than ever, I have found it to be a time for me to clear my mind, my lungs, and often…. prevent me from saying something to those around me that I would come to regret later. Mainly those walks are an opportunity to connect my air pod earbuds, and listen to either books on tape, music, meditation, or sometimes, place a call to friends, family, and clients.
Due to the coronavirus social isolation, two things have affected my daily dog walks. First, I need them more than ever because my family are all home. As much as I enjoy having my older children home, two of them are returned home under less than ideal circumstances. One is on furlough from her job. The other is a senior in college, spending her last joyful semester at home, logging onto classes online from her old bedroom. She is also in the process of interviewing and hopefully solidifying her employment plans,… and life. This was not how she envisioned her final semester at Penn State. My youngest, a junior in high school, was all set for spring lacrosse, March madness, and ANYTHING but staying at home with his miserable sisters watching me knit. Thus, each we all need our own personal space, and the dog walks have been a welcome time away from quarantine, with the weather here on the east coast being quite cooperative. Longer daily walks, and more of them, have been welcome by all.
Secondly, most days, a friend and her dog or dogs have been joining us… walking a safe distance adjacent to us. That is exactly what I did this Sunday, which was a particularly beautiful sunny, unseasonably warm day. Perfect for a long walk, which began with me listening to music and then meeting her at the entrance to a nearby park. After an hour and a half, we parted ways, as I headed home, only to realize that one air pod was missing! This happened to be the first day I had EVER neglected to bring the AirPod case – which would have safely held both tiny pods. On top of all the stress and unknowns, it was an unfortunate time for me to lose them, to say the lease. I was so very disappointed in myself, and progressed to retrace my steps. Ultimately, after, zigging and zagging the 1.5 mile again, but much slower, I came up with no AirPods. During this second two hours of the epically long, 15,000+ step walk, I phoned my mother. It was then that I learned that I had been praying to the wrong saint the entire zig-zagging time! Being Catholic, I should have known better. I had been praying to St. Christopher, when I, as pointed out by my mother, should have been praying to St Anthony! She assured me that “He was really good at finding stuff. It’s like he sits and waits for someone to pray to him to help find a lost item!” I envisioned a man, dressed in a robe, sitting by a phone, eagerly awaiting my call/prayer, and responding at his earliest convenience. But, that day I went home, dejected, but not without faith. My dog, after 3.5 hours of this trek, arrived along with me, a bit confused about the day, albeit happy, and a little tired. I shared my story with a few strangers on the walk, and two friends.
The next day, while still annoyed with myself, I remained hopeful. My mother offered to purchase new AirPods, but I refused her kind offer. And, I resumed praying to St Anthony.
And then… just when I thought the bleakness would never end… I got a call from one of the friends with whom I shared my story the night before. She had been checking into a social media service called Next Door – to find recommendations for a home service that she was interested in. On Next Door, someone posted that they had found my AirPods, in pristine condition, at the entrance to the park! Unbelievable! We connected and arranged for me to pick it up in her mailbox.
My faith in life was restored. I was so grateful that I decided I wanted to put a little thank you note and gift in her mailbox, in exchange for her help. I realized that I didn’t know her, nor did I have any baked goods to share. I didn’t know if she drank wine or beer. And then it came to me. What does everyone use at this unique time in our collective lives need?
You may have guessed it. I gift-wrapped a roll of toilet paper and left in her mailbox in exchange for the AirPods, along with a note of much appreciation.
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