CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter… ©
I have known Pat since high school. She is, however, much older than I, [a whole semester], so it is no surprise that she is pushing 80, pushing it hard. She also recently pushed her face hard, into the pavement.
She has been a runner for 50 years, give or take a decade. She still runs every day, traipsing her 90 pounds, assuming she is wearing lots of heavy clothes, all around the town. Recently, however, as pale old people do in winter, she decided she and Roy should go to FL for a while, using the excuse that they have a son who lives there, relatives being the excuse most northerners use to go to FL in winter, since we don’t want to admit we would want to live there any other time. She was not familiar with the running terrain. She was looking up at strange green winged creatures in the air and wondering what the big orange ball in the sky was. She tripped, and down she went. She looked like she had been in a gang fight, which, come to think of it, is the way I remember her from her days as a grade school teacher.
Pat has always been a lithe and adroit runner. Once while running home from the track at the university, a dog began to chase her. It was a big dog, and it had bad intentions. Pat thought fast. She changed her course to run by the police station. Just as the dog caught up and was ready to pounce, she grabbed the door of the station and pulled it open, standing behind it. The dog could not stop in time, so skidded in the only open direction, into the station. Pat just closed the door and jogged nonchalantly on.
We always wondered what the police did with that dog, since it probably could not fill out any paper work explaining why it was there. If it had been Eugene “Shammy” Shambarger on duty that day, he would have arrested it.
Shammy was a great auto mechanic, and delightful country singer, and an auxiliary cop in another, smaller, town where we once lived. One night all the other officers were gone and Shammy was on duty. People called in complaining that a dog was barking incessantly and keeping them awake. Shammy investigated. The dog was tied in the back yard, and had run out of water, and his people were gone. So Shammy arrested the dog and took it to the jail. Everyone was happy. The neighbors could sleep, and the dog had water and food and a nice warm jail cell in which to sleep. When its case came up, it was released for time served.
The point though [You were wondering about that, weren’t you?] is that bad stuff, like falling on your face, when you are doing a good thing--trying to stay healthy, and visiting your children--should not happen to old people. We have been around long enough that lots of bad stuff has already happened to us. All that former bad stuff should act as a vaccination, inoculating us against current bad stuff. Unfortunately, life does not work that way. The only solution is to stay out of FL, because that is the place where bad stuff happens to old people.
John Robert McFarland
The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP], where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.]
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