A Single Roll of Toilet Paper

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My son-in-law went on a toilet paper run yesterday.

That’s nothing out of the ordinary for a brisk spring day in the year of COVID-19

He texted me a photo of the parking lot where he was sitting in his truck before dawn.

Empty grocery store

The supermarket didn’t open until 8 a.m. but he was there before 7.  The parking lot was looking pretty empty, so the chances were good he’d score some rolls and maybe a few extra.  He was psyched and focused on his mission, sure that he’d be successful.

Jason's message

That’s what he wrote to me as he sat in the cold and waited for the store to open.I didn’t hear from him until an hour and fifteen minutes later – fifteen minutes after the official opening of the store.

Question Jason

I wasn’t surprised by his answer.

Nope

I didn’t have time to ask him what happened.  He sent me this photo right away:

People in Line

The size of the crowd didn’t surprise me, but what I questioned was his position in that line. How did a guy who came to the store first end up getting aced out by all those people?  And where did all those people come from, if Jason was there first?  My son-in-law is 6’ 5” and a talented athlete, a consummate competitor.  How did this swarm of old folks (judging by a lot of greying hair there in the photo)  get the top position over my son-in-law?  How come he ended up at the end of the line?

I Let the people go ahead of me

Tears don’t normally fill my eyes when I read texts, but they did now.

Mostly older

More tears. 

I couldn’t write a word to him. 

I was so paralyzed by the abundance of his kindness.

Jason is the original Mr. Good Guy, an educator, a champion for all, with a heart of amazing dimensions, a guy who is loyal, honest, and filled with soul.  In one word, the man is my hero. His superhero powers were at work again and I was stunned into silence.

But what he wrote next gave me pause.

All the people looked like they couldn't do anything

#humanity

My heart hurt for Jason.  Yes, it’s a blow not to be able to get what you need right now, and certainly toilet paper has taken on a whole new importance in our life.  But to lose your hope, your faith in humanity is a loss we cannot afford right now.  We especially can’t have our heros lose it.  Not just Jason, but every health care person who is on the front lines, every grocery store and big box retail worker, every policeman, fire fighter, and yes, every government official, who is still on the job when the rest of us are safely within our sanctuaries known as home; they all have to continue doing what all heroes do, and not lose hope.

This is a reminder for all the Jasons, and everyone doing their best right now, making sacrifices, and still reaching out to help, not only to their families, but to strangers who have never meant anything to them, strangers who stopped being strangers once we saw the hurt, the fear, and the need in their faces that we recognized as our own.  When someone shows you kindness, don’t just pay it forward.  Pay it back to the person who started it.  We need all the heros we can find right now.  And yes, that #humanity should stand for that.  For remembering that we must all be heros right now. 

Even if it means offering a single roll of toilet paper.

And saying thanks to the one who let us go first.

 

 

When Life Gets In The Way Of Blogging

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My mom fell last Friday and life has been crazy ever since.

She’s going to be fine (Thank God). Two days in the hospital, a C-Scan, one MRI, and numerous blood tests later, she’s back at home and eager to be living independently again. I won’t tell you her age; let’s just say she’s definitely a card carrying member of the Greatest (and toughest)Generation. She’s still sore, cranky as hell, and stiff (damn arthritis!), and so she’s still healing, meaning 24 hour surveillance for awhile. Not that she’s happy about it, but she’s agreeing to it for her kids peace of mind, and we appreciate her motherly sacrifice.

Needless to say, my days aren’t my own at the moment, and this blog will have to sit here quietly while I focus on my mom. I figured I should let all of you know since I’ve already had a couple of emails from people telling me they miss this blog and wondered if everything was fine. Well, things are getting fine. But there’s not much time for writing anything except grocery lists, caregiver schedules, and to-do lists. So please bear with me until life quiets down enough for me to find my way back to the keyboard again.

This week made me realize, by the way, that sometimes you can take for granted that which you love the most. I’m not talking about my mom, although there are times when maybe I might take her a wee bit for granted. She’s one strong lady and I’ve gotten used to that vitality and tenacity of hers, always assuming she’ll bounce back from whatever troubles come her way. She’s proving me right in this latest challenge that’s been thrown in her direction, and it doesn’t surprise me at all. But the one thing I never realized before was how much I’ve taken for granted my writing.

Every day I wake up and writing is always there for me. When I get an idea I reach for a pen or click on my computer and the words flow – sometimes effortlessly and sometimes after a little prodding. But this week there’s been no time to write and no way of predicting when I’d find the time to even think about writing.

That was a first for me.

I’ve always found the time. As a professional screenwriter with a paycheck waiting for my words to fill the paper, it was my job to make the time to write. Even when my two babies came along while I was in the middle of of screenwriting assignments, I’d write the scenes in my head while breast feeding. And after putting the little darlings back into the crib, I’d scribble down those scenes in the middle of the night and write them up the next morning.

Somehow I always found time to write.

But this last week was way beyond hectic, and juggling my own needs (my husband, my kids, my house, my dog) with what my mom needed was more hours and energy than this writer could barely manage. Through all of these busy days and nights I realized just how full my life feels when I’m writing. And how empty and lonely it can be when I’m not.

It might be a little quiet around here for awhile. So please, leave a comment just to let me know you’re still out there. It’ll give me a chance to write you back, and it’ll probably be the only writing I’ll be able to do for awhile.