Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lost on the mountaintop

So my Dad, being the bright-idea kind of guy that he is, decided he wanted to take me on a ride on his Honda Goldwing last week while I was at campmeeting. I said sure, thinking that it'd be a 30 minute little fun ride/excursion. Boy was I wrong! Now, I know he had the best of intentions when he said he wanted to show me the Blue Ridge Parkway, but I knew right off the bat when we started up this squirrelly back-road before we even got to the parkway, that it wasn't gonna be quite of a blast as I'd hoped. First off, it was raining. Not a hard down-pour, but a steady drizzle, which made these hair-pin curves kind of tricky on a 2 wheeled bike. Fortunately, Dad made me wear Mom's Frogg Togg's, which are a matching bright orange waterproof pants and jacket set (a totally hilarious scene in itself, I'm sure), so we really stayed relatively dry throughout the whole ordeal.

Anyway, we finally get up to the parkway, and after driving on it a ways, the elevation becomes increasingly higher, so along with it comes fog. Put this together with a rain combo = not so fun on a bike. Add in several dark, damp tunnels, and we've got a lovely afternoon. lol

So we drive and drive, stop at a scenic overlook to take some pics (managed to dodge some of the fog here), and drive some more, until we come up on this little black blob in the middle of our lane. So Dad slows down until we realize's a bear! Yes, a BEAR!!! Ahhhh....My first thought was "Oh, it's only a teenager, she can't hurt us," but then I realize, I'm not in a protective metal car like usual. I'm on a bike, with all of my extremities exposed, and saying "Come get me. I know you're hungry." Then we think (because we can talk to each other via speakers in our helmets), Crap! There's got to be a mama bear somewhere! Fortunately, the cub starts running along side the road and eventually down the side of the mountain before we could be deemed its supper that night, but boy was my adrenaline going!

After this fun extravaganza and driving probably another 30 min, we come to this fork in the road. It says Canton 24 miles, Rosman 19 miles (or something). Do you think Dad took my advice when I suggested the Canton route, seeing as how I know where that is (or had at least heard of it, as opposed to this other city only Jim Bob knows of)?? Nada. So, we take off down this new road.

This time we're head back down the mountain. Dad now decides to pull Carmen out - his beloved GPS. Don't ask me WHERE this much-needed device had been this whole time! I was kind of worried that she would get wet in the rain, but not caring much at this point and just wanting to get back, we thought we'd give her a shot. She started taking us on little side roads, but when one of them we turned on was a gravel road that brought us back out on the SAME road we had started on, I started rethinking the idea of getting her wet (must be messing with her brains). To top things off, Dad starts telling me about the movie "Deliverance," where 4 business men take a camping trip out in the woods and end up getting shot and killed or something. Great,'s the perfect time to be scaring me! Geez....

SO, after we started seeing the same landmarks we'd already passed before, we decide to turn back around and go until we find someone that might know how to get back. ha! The next gas station in this backwoods hicktown was where we stopped. After snarfing down a snickers bar cause I hadn't eaten since my small bowl of cereal that morning, we find these 2 gentlemen sitting on the bench out front to ask directions. Assuming by their accents that they'd lived there all their life, we listen as they proceed to tell us "Well, you c'n go this way, or you c'n go this a way," and ramble on about this side road or that landmark. Gosh, this is no help at ALL! The one thing I did catch in all of that mumbo jumbo was the name of a town called Sylva. Yes, I know that one! So, after convincing Dad that I know what I'm talking about (and not really giving him much choice in the matter), we continue on that road for another 30 miles.

While it was refreshingly beautiful once the sun came out as we curved around the bend of the mountain with a river running with us, I still couldn't get over the fact that I was missing out seeing people at campmeeting seeing as how I was only there a few short days. But then, I realized that although we'd fought off the fog, rain, hunger, bears, hicks, and the possibility of becoming the next "Deliverance" movie all in one afternoon, this all didn't seem to phase Dad. He was enjoying my company and it didn't bother him that an hour cruise turned into over 5 hours. I tried my hardest to relax and soak in the beauty, although my butt was sore and I had to pee like a race horse! :) Again, like my last post, I reiterate, it's the little things in life that matter!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Little Things

I find it very interesting observing ordinary people at various places. For example, yesterday at a J&S Cafeteria, as we were in line waiting to pay, I subconsciously kept seeing this fast movement out of the corner of my eye. After a few moments of this, I consciously became aware of these speedy distractions and saw this young guy, probably a bus boy, zooming back and forth past everyone, clearing away the plates and silverware off of tables, running (not fast walking, running) them to the kitchen, and back to do the same thing over again. I watched him as he was in the zone – totally in focus of getting the job done. I thought to myself that this young man, probably not even 18, was dedicated to his work, co-workers, and job. Now it may be that he just has an extra load of energy ready to expend, but unfortunately, I don’t think his quickness will be awarded. He will not have more tips because of this, nor will it increase his hourly pay, but did this stop him? No. He was going to be prompt anyway, even if he did not gain anything in doing so. I thought this to be very neat.

It kind of reminded me of Pastor Hector Gonzalez’s sermon on Sabbath for the graduates at MPA. His main point was that it’s not the big things in life, but the little things that matter. This led me to ponder on the fact that not everyone can be in the spotlight, the star of the show. Not everyone is a good leader, or outgoing. The people behind the scenes are often the backbones of the whole performance. Many times in my life I’ve felt like I’ve faded into the crowd, or not been acknowledged for my efforts, but really, ultimately all that matters is my reward in the end for my good deeds. It doesn’t matter if I was given the Leadership scholarship, or if my name was on a plaque at school. Those accomplishments will not mean much when I get to the pearly gates. It’s the little things that matter - the little things like being speedy. Bless that poor bus boy. I do hope he will not go unnoticed in the end.

Scary man

There’s this man at work I’ve been wanting to write a blog about for quite some time. He works in the cafeteria, serving the main dish everyday for lunch. Most of the nurses, or any of the female workers in the hospital for that matter, refer to him as “Scary man.” They refuse to go to the line he serves from and will go without eating even if he’s serving the best dish of the day. Now this man, whom I’m sad to say I don’t even know his name, is an older gentleman, maybe pushing 60. His face is obviously ahead of his time, with a wind-blown appearance and pock markings on his face. His nose is rather large, and most, particularly females, are repulsed by him. I’ve observed that it’s not only his appearance that scares them, but also the way he addresses them as “Hey, darlin’,” or “What can I get for you, sweetie?” or “Hey, how you doin today?” – as if he’s known them for a lifetime.

At first, and I’m ashamed to admit it, I myself was also a little put-off by this, wondering if this old creepy man was hitting on me or not. But then one day, instead of choosing to bypass his line of what looked to be a delicious tofu stir-fry, I decided to go ahead and get it and risk an uncomfortable pass from him. As I was the only one in his line, I didn’t have much choice not to respond to his usual, “Hey sugar, how’s your day goin?” So I proceeded to tell him it was going fine, but that I was ready for the weekend since my sister was graduating. His eyes lit up when I told him this, as it paved the way for him to tell me that HIS daughter was also going to be graduating, with a Respiratory Therapy degree. He went on to tell me that he was very proud of her, and how much he looked forward to watching her achieve this goal. My heart felt a mixture of feelings after I left his line. Guilt mostly, that I’d even followed everyone’s assumptions of him in the first place. He’s just an older lonely man that gleans joy from talking to the people in his lines. I came to the conclusion that he’s not hitting on them, but merely striking conversations to perhaps make his day less monotonous. Though it made me sad and a little mad at myself for skipping his lines in the past, I am no longer going to do so and will stand up for him in the future on the floor when he comes up in conversations as “Scary man.”