Sam exited his office and hailed a cab. He was in the heart of New York City and cabs were everywhere. Most taxi drivers had a familiar route, and would drive around the same conglomeration of city blocks. A taxi driver spotted him and pulled over to the curb. Sam hopped in, and gave him the address. A meeting was scheduled at a satellite office of the insurance company where he worked. He and his boss headed a huge project, involving thousands of acres of farmland. It would mean a good bonus for them, if they were successful. He got busy reviewing his report, while balancing the many papers on his lap. At one point, the cab lurched forward, and some of them slipped onto the floor. Since he was nearing his destination, he very quickly reached down to pick up the papers. Unbeknownst to Sam, the tiny blue box slipped out of his pocket, and lay hidden in a crevice. Lilly was running late for her next appointment. It was raining, so she decided to take a taxi. Working in downtown New York, she often found it easier to walk, but not today. She opened the door of the taxi, and settled into her seat. Her mind was racing a mile a minute, trying to ready herself for this next appointment. Looking out the window, she watched all the activity around her. New York City, at times was overwhelming, but she really loved the hustle and bustle it provided.
Deep in thought, her arm inadvertently brushed past her purse, causing it to fall onto the floor of the cab, spilling all of its contents. With a sigh, she reached down and began scooping up all the items. With one last sweep of her hand, she was satisfied she had found everything. Earlier, Sam and Lilly had agreed to meet at their favourite restaurant that evening. Even though they worked in the same district, they never saw each other during the day. Tonight they looked forward to eating a nice dinner and spending time together. Unfortunately, the evening did not go as well as Sam had planned, but he kept his disappointment to himself. Very early the next day, he called the taxi company The owner asked him some details, and said he would make every attempt to find the box. Two hours later, he told Sam the bad news. The driver had searched high and low, and did not find anything. As well, no passengers had reported finding the box. Sam was not surprised upon hearing this, as New York City was definitely not a place to lose anything. Chances of anything being returned were next to impossible. Feeling devastated, he wondered what to do next. The weekend arrived, and the couple planned to go hiking outside the city. Out on the hillside, they enjoyed the sun and fresh air. After a good hike, they headed to a deli and ate smoked meat sandwiches. It felt good to physically work out and be surrounded in nature. Lilly and Sam spent Sunday relaxing, reading, and slowing down from the hectic pace of the week. Late in the afternoon, as usual, Lilly enjoyed a long hot bath. She always took time to prepare for the coming week. She liked being organized, and began planning her outfits. This meant having shoes and purses to match. Having decided on which clothing, she would wear, she emptied the purse contents onto the bed. Such an array of things, she mumbled to herself. Her wallet, lipstick, comb, glasses, and tissue lay among other items.
As she began going through them, she spotted it! “Sam, Sam”, she called excitedly, “come here, quickly. Did you put this in my purse?” she said, pointing to the tiny blue box. As his eyes focused, he stared in great disbelief. “No, I didn’t Lilly. H-h-how did this happen? W-w-where did it come from?” he stammered. “I don’t know, Sam I honestly don’t know.” With tears streaming down both their cheeks, Sam bent down on one knee, and asked Lilly if she would marry him. She answered with the biggest grin you could ever imagine. “Yes, yes, Sam I will marry you.” They sat down and described in painstaking detail, their comings and goings of the past week. Little by little, the pieces of the puzzle all gradually fell into place. You see, sometimes miracles do happen, even in New York City!
Life in our Backyard
Several handfuls of seeds will be all that it takes
Then Nature will abound with all she can create
How do the birds always know it is time to feed?
Are they silently watching from high in the trees?
Cardinals sport the finest red, Chickadees come to
Wrens, Sparrows, Woodpeckers, Jays wearing blue
Juveniles with their cries, and mouths opened wide
Searching for morsels, stay near their mothers’ side
Black and grey squirrels, and chipmunks soon arrive
Under the feeder, where the newly scattered seeds lie
Snatching them up, they nibble contentedly on them
Jumping at the slightest sound, to settle down again
There is one squirrel who stands out as the bossy one
He’s red and constantly keeps all the others on the run
As the food supply lessens and the frenzy winds down
A pair of doves land with their soft murmuring sound
Hours have passed and the bird feeder now sits empty
Cover of darkness brings an end to all former activity
The birds and the squirrels begin settling in their nests
Looking forward to tomorrow’s show, we too will rest
BILLY AND I STARED AT EACH OTHER FOR THE LONGEST TIME. NEITHER OF US WANTED TO MAKE THE WRONG DECISION. I SAID, “MAYBE WE SHOULD MAKE OUR WAY OVER TO THOSE HILLS ON THE LEFT? AT THE TOP, WE COULD EASILY SEE AFAR.” “I DON’T THINK SO,” JOHN ANSWERED. “WHAT WE SHOULD DO, IS GO THROUGH THE FOREST TO OUR RIGHT. IT COULD BE A BETTER LOCATION TO FIND SOME PEOPLE LIVING IN CABINS, DON’T YOU THINK?” ONCE AGAIN, WE STOOD EYE TO EYE, TRYING TO AGREE ON SOMETHING. BOTH IDEAS WERE APPEALING.
A FEW MINUTES PASSED BEFORE ONE OF US SPOKE. “HERE’S AN IDEA,” I SAID. “LET’S TOSS A COIN. HEADS, WE GO TOWARD THE HILLS, AND TAILS WE GO THROUGH THE FOREST.” WE SECRETLY PONDERED THE OUTCOME, KNOWING ONE OF US WOULD EVENTUALLY BEAR THE RESPONSIBILITY. I TOOK A COIN FROM MY POCKET, NERVOUSLY FLIPPED IT INTO THE AIR, AND HONESTLY HOPED IT WOULDN’T BE HEADS. WHEN IT LANDED, SURE ENOUGH IT WAS.
PRIOR TO HAVING THIS CONVERSATION, WE HAD BEEN DRIVING THROUGH REMOTE AREAS OF COLORADO FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS, ENJOYING THE FINAL LEG OF OUR ADVENTURE. THEN THE ENGINE LIGHT CAME ON AND THE CAR SHUDDERED TO A COMPLETE STOP. OPENING THE HOOD, WE SAW SOME BURNED OUT WIRES AND SMOKE COMING FROM THE ENGINE. WE DID ALL WE COULD TO GET THE CAR STARTED AGAIN, BUT TO NO AVAIL.
“WHAT DO WE DO NOW?” BILLY HAD MUTTERED OUT LOUD. “I GUESS WE WALK AND TRY TO GET SOME HELP,” I HAD ANSWERED. “WE HAVE SOME WATER AND LEFTOVER FRUIT IN THE CAR. LET’S PACK IT UP AND HOPE WE MEET SOMEONE WHO CAN HELP US OUT.” BILLY SHOOK HIS HEAD. “I THINK, WE WOULD HAVE BETTER LUCK, IF WE JUST WAIT HERE IN THE CAR.” SO WE WAITED AND WE WAITED.
TWO HOURS LATER, NOT ONE CAR HAD APPEARED. WE WERE DEFINITELY IN A DESERTED AREA, AND IT COULD BE A DAY OR TWO BEFORE WE SAW ANYONE. THAT’S WHEN WE BOTH AGREED TO LEAVE THE CAR AND SEEK HELP ELSEWHERE. IT WAS NOW TWO O’CLOCK IN THE AFTERNOON. AS WE HEADED FOR THE HILLS, WE HAD SEVEN HOURS OF DAYLIGHT LEFT. WE TRUDGED ALONG, HOPEFUL WE WOULD COME TO A TOWN OR SOME CAMP. MORE THAN THREE HOURS LATER, BILLY SAID, “IT’S NOT LOOKING GOOD, JOHN. LET’S REST FOR A WHILE AND THINK ABOUT THIS.” WE SAT AND DISCUSSED THE PROS AND CONS OF RETURNING TO THE CAR, OR CONTINUING ON THIS PATH. ANOTHER DIFFICULT DECISION YET TO BE MADE. WE BOTH THOUGHT LONG AND HARD. I MUST ADMIT, I WAS FEELING INCAPABLE OF SUGGESTING ANYTHING. “I’M SORRY,” I SAID APOLOGETICALLY. MAYBE YOU WERE RIGHT ABOUT GOING THE OTHER WAY.” BILLY SHOOK HIS HEAD. “NO, I THINK WE SHOULD CONTINUE THIS WAY, JOHN, AND HOPE FOR THE BEST. BY THIS TIME, WE HAD A LITTLE LESS THAN FOUR HOURS OF DAYLIGHT.
SO WE STARTED WALKING AGAIN, SILENTLY HOPING AND PRAYING THINGS WOULD TURN OUT ALL RIGHT. SOON WE WERE FEELING TIRED AND SOMEWHAT CRANKY. TO BOLSTER OUR SPIRITS, I SAID TO BILLY, “WHY DON’T WE SING SONGS WE KNOW, JUST TO KEEP OUR MINDS BUSY ON SOMETHING ELSE?” IN OUR EARLIER YEARS, WE HAD PLAYED IN A BAND, HE ON GUITAR AND I ON PIANO. WE WERE CONFIDENT WE COULD CARRY A TUNE.
ONE OF MY FAVOURITE SONGS, “LIKE A ROLLING STONE” BY BOB DYLAN IMMEDIATELY CAME TO MIND. I BEGAN SINGING FIRST, BUT STRANGELY ENOUGH, IT WASN’T ONLY MY VOICE I HEARD, BUT BOB DYLAN’S TOO. “WHAT? THIS DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE. WHAT’S GOING ON?” I THOUGHT. “MAYBE IT’S JUST THE HEAT OF THE DAY MAKING ME FEEL CONFUSED.”
AT THIS POINT, I WAS HAVING TROUBLE SEEING ANYTHING AND REALIZED MY EYES WERE SHUT TIGHT. SLOWLY OPENING THEM, I WAS AWARE OF THIS DRUMMING SOUND NEARBY. I TURNED IN THE DIRECTION FROM WHERE IT CAME. THERE TO MY SURPRISE WAS BILLY LYING ACROSS THE BACK SEAT OF THE CAR, DEEP IN SLEEP AND SNORING AWAY. “HOW CAN WE BE STILL IN THE CAR?” NOW I WAS TOTALLY PERPLEXED. I TOOK SOME VERY DEEP BREATHS IN ORDER TO CALM MYSELF.
GATHERING MY THOUGHTS SLOWLY TOGETHER, I BEGAN REMEMBERING WE HAD STOPPED ALONG THE ROADSIDE TO TAKE A MUCH NEEDED BREAK FROM DRIVING. I HAD BEEN LISTENING TO THE RADIO, WHEN I GUESS WE BOTH DRIFTED OFF TO SLEEP. NOW FULLY AWAKE, I REALIZED IT WAS ONLY A DREAM I HAD HAD, ABOUT US GETTING LOST AND HAVING CAR TROUBLE. FEELING RELIEVED, I REACHED OVER AND TURNED THE SOUND UP AND BEGAN HAPPILY SINGING ALONG TO “LIKE A ROLLING STONE.” SOON, BILLY WOKE UP AND JOINED ME. TO THIS VERY DAY, WHENEVER I HEAR THAT SONG, I THINK ABOUT THE TWO TRIPS BILLY AND I TOOK THAT SUMMER, AND HAVE A GOOD LAUGH.