For most people, that date doesn’t mean much. But for some reason, it remains significant to me. It is not a birthday or an anniversary.
It marks the day I graduated from high school 29 years ago, and I’ve remembered it for the past 28 years.
Remembering always makes me smile.
Day 334: Significant Dates in Our Lives
Day 333: Rocking Chairs Day 332: Lemonade from Fresh Lemons Day 331: Feeling at Peace Day 330: Not Letting Age Slow You Down Day 329: Raindrops on Roses Day 328: Old Newspapers Day 327: When My Pets Get Attention Day 326: Odd Little Distractions from Every Day Life Day 325: Wearing White before Memorial Day Day 324: Avoiding a Poison Ivy Rash Day 323: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Day 322: Breezes Blowing Through my Kitchen Window Day 321: Iris Gardens Day 320: Ginger’s Ridiculous Wardrobe Day 319: Wildlife in My Midst Day 318: Teamwork Day 317: The Golden Rule Day 316: When Weather Cooperates Day 315: When Humans Respect Nature Day 314: Books We Pass on to Our Children Day 313: Wildflowers Day 312: The Right to Vote Day 311: Staying True to Your Beliefs Day 310: Doris Day and “Que Sera Sera” Day 309: Lessons Learned from Motherhood Day 308: When a Difficult Problem is Solved Day 307: Living Near Hills and Mountains Day 306: Recognizing How Far Women Have Come Day 305: Creative House and Yard Decorations Day 304: The Power to Forgive Day 303: Marrying Someone Who Always Knows How to Make Me Smile Day 302: People Who Sport the Breaking Bad Car Magnet Day 301: The song of the whippoorwill Day 300: Coming Home Day 299: Clean Water Day 298: Blue Bells Day 297: Listening to Books When Driving Long Distances Day 296: Walking in the Woods Day 295: The Warm Sun on My Face Day 294: Turning Loud Shoes into a Conversation Item Day 293: Seeing Something New in the Every Day Day 292: Dreams Day 291: “What a Wonderful World” Day 290: Softly Falling Petals During Spring Day 289: Home king with Love Day 288: Coloring Easter Eggs Day 287: The View From Above Day 286: The Wisdom of Mr. Rogers Day 285: The Princess Bride Day 284: All Creatures Great and Small Day 283: The Legend of the Dogwood Day 282: Sleeping with the Windows Open Day 281: Four Significant Birthdays in One Year Day 280: Discovering Great Music Day 279: Funny Names for Wi-Fi connections Day 278: Sad Cat Diary Day 277: The Smiling Cow Day 276: Celebrating 16 years of motherhood Day 275: Seeing Potential in Our Children Day 274: Stained Glass Day 273: Naturalization Ceremonies Day 272: “Let It Be” by the Beatles Day 271: Sharing Meals with Great Friends Day 270: Daffodils Day 269: April Fool’s Day Day 268: Acoustic Music Day 267: Country Roads Day 266: Sunsets on Pamlico Sound Day 265: The Sound and Smell of the Ocean Day 264: Crossing the Bonner Bridge Day 263: Mark Twain Quotes Day 262: Old-fashion Fun Day 261: The Far Side Cartoons by Gary Larson Day 260: Nostalgic Theme Songs Day 259: Appreciating Life’s Rewards Day 258: Awkward Conversations With Strangers Day 257: The arrival of Spring Day 256: Being Saved by Buffy the Vampire Slayer Day 255: Thoughtful Husbands Day 254: The Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow Day 253: When Kids Want to Clean Day 252: Conversations in Cars Day 251: Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day Day 250: Bonnie Bell Over-sized LipSmackers versus Egg-Shaped Eos Lip Balm Day 249: Watching Those I Cherish Sleep Day 248: Getting Back on My Bike after the Longest Winter ay 247: “Don’t Worry. Be Happy.” Day 246: Multiple Reminders of Beauty Day 245: Being Nice to Total Strangers Day 244: The Perfect Phrase Day 243: Little Girls With AttitudeDay 242: The Soup Nazi Day 241: Contagious Smiles Day 240: Oklahoma Day 239: Dr. Seuss’ Persistence Day 238: Over-Dependence on Spell Check Day 237: Only 28 days in February Day 236: Genuine Signatures Day 235: Television Personalities Who Don’t Take Themselves Too Seriously Day 234: The Words “Happy Birthday” Day 233: Teenagers Who Care about Their Grandparents Day 232: “Morning Has Broken”Day 231: Avoiding Jury Duty Day 230: Melting Snow after a Long Winter Day 229: Hungry Teenage Boys Day 228: Having a DreamDay 227: Mispronunciations Day 226: Awkward Animal MomentsDay 225: Shaking Hands With Scott HamiltonDay 224: Having an Office With Windows Day 223: Watching Our Children Mature Day 222: Getting the Upper Hand Over Life’s Challenges Day 221: St. Teresa’s Prayer Day 220: Children Who Are True to Self Day 219: Frosted Sugar Cookies Day 218: Children with a Global Perspective Day 217: Enchanted Day 216: Having a “secret weapon” Day 215: Jack and Diane Day 214: The Volkswagen Beetle Day 213: Moments that Can’t Be Recreated Day 212: “The Soul” Quote Day 211: Rubber Ducky Day 210: Tracks in the Snow Day 209: Finding a Penny on the Ground Day 208: Kids who Use Their Manners Day 207: Reminders of Warm Sunny Days Day 206: Dogs Playing in the Snow Day 205: Descriptive Phrases Day 204: Arsenic and Old Lace Day 203: Reminders of Resiliency Day 102: Stephanie’s Ponytail Day 201: Being Asked to Help Day 200: Boys and Their Toys Day 199: The Most Important Person Day 198: People With Courage to Do What is Right Day 197: Being Pleasantly Surprised by My Children Day 196: Being Told I’m Young Day 195: Good News Day 194: Meaningful Eye Contact Day 193: A Sense of Accomplishment Day 192: Growing Into the Person I’ll Someday Be Day 191: Matt Groening Day 190: Tuning Out Bad News and Tuning In to What We Enjoy Day 189: Parents Who Encourage Independence Day 188: Watching Young Minds at Work Day 187: Funny Phone Calls Day 186: Healthy Lungs Day 185: Reality Checks Day 184: Coincidence Day 183: Lame Attempts to Go Retro Day 182: Learning From Our Mistakes Day 181: Goofy Childhood Memories Day 180: A soak in a bathtub Day 179: Optimism Day 178: The Year’s Top Baby Names Day 177: Reading on a Rainy Day Day 176: “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey Day 175: Watching the Torch Pass Day 174: Converse Tennis Shoes Day 173: Family Acceptance Day 172: Christmas Day 171: The Mr. Grinch Song Day 170: Positive People Day 169: Watching Movies From my Childhood With My Kids Day 168: Jealous Pets Day 167: Family Christmas Recipes Day 166: Church BellsDay 165: School Holiday 164: Unexpected Grace Day 163: Letting Go of Things We Can’t Control Day 162: Anticipating a good story Day 161: Hope Day 160: When Dogs Try to Avoid Embarrassment Day 159: Surprises in the Mail Day 158: Kids who aren’t superficial Day 157: A Garage on Winter Days Day 156: Real Christmas Trees Day 155: Being a Parent Day 154: Selfless People Day 153: Nelson Mandela Day 152: Memorable Road Trips Day 151: Great Neighbors Day 150: Oscar Wilde’s quote about being yourself Day 149: Love Letters Day 148: The first day of Advent Day 147: The Breakfast Club Day 146: Marriage and Shared Anniversaries 145: JFK’s quote about gratitude Day 144: Watching My Dog Play Day 143: Having my Family’s Basic Needs Met Day 142: When Our Children Become Role Models Day 141: Random Acts of Kindness Day 140; People Watching Day 139: Sharing Interests with My Children Day 138: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Best Advice Day 137: Weird Human Behavior about Garbage Day 136: Postcards from Heaven Day 135: Mickey Mouse Day 134: Generous Souls Day 133: I’m Moving On Day 132: A Family That is Really Family Day 131: A Personal Motto Day 130: Mork and Mindy Day 129: The Bears’ House Day 128: Veterans Day 127: Doppelgangers Day 126: Letting Life Unfold as It Should Day 125: The Constantly Changing Sky Day 124: When History Repeats Itself Day 123: The Love Scene in The Sound of Music Day 122: Helen Keller Day 121: The Welcome Back Kotter Theme Song Day 120: Sheldon Cooper Day 119: Having Permission to Make Mistakes Day 118: A Diverse Group of Friends Day 117: Family Traditions Day 116: The Haunting Season Day 115; Life Experience Day 114: Changes Day 113: The Wooly Bear Caterpillar Day 112: The National Anthem Day 111: Parents Who Care Day 110: Good Friends Day 109: My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss Day 108: A.A. Milne QuotesDay 107: Spending Time Wisely Day 106: Parades Day 105: The Peanuts Gang Dancing Day 104: Sharing a Secret Language Day 103: The Electric Company Day 102: Doing the Right Thing Day 101: When Siblings Agree Day 100: Being Optimistic Day 99: Trying Something New Day 98: The Sound of Children on a Playground Day97: Good Advice Day 96: Red and white peppermint candy Day 95: The Soundtrack from the Movie Shrek Day 94: Accepting Change Day 93: True Love Day 92: Camera Phones Day 91: Bicycle Brakes Day 90: HeroesDay 89: The Cricket in Times Square Day 88: The Grand Canyon Day 87: Unanswered Prayers Day 86: Apples Fresh from the Orchard Day 85: Being Human Day 84: Captain Underpants Day 83: The Diary of Anne Frank Day 82: In Cold Blood Day 81: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Day 80: The Outsiders Day 79: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Day 78: The First Amendment Day77: People Who Touch Our Lives Day 76: The Rewards of Parenting Day 75: Improvements Day 74: Family Traditions Day 73: Learning From Our Mistakes Day 72: Live Music Day 71: Sleeping In Day 70: Grover Day 69: A Good Hair Day Day 68: A Sense of Community Day 67: Kindness Day 66: Living in a Place You Love Day 65: Gifts from the Heart Day 64: The Arrival of Fall Day 63: To Kill a Mockingbird Day 62: Green LightsDay 61: My Canine Friends Day 60: Differences Day 59: A New Box of Crayons Day 58: Bookworms Day 57: Being Oblivious Day 56: Three-day Weekends Day 55: A Cat Purring Day 54: Being a Unique Individual Day 53: Children’s Artwork Day 52: Lefties Day 51: The Neighborhood Deer Day 50: Campfires Day 49: Childhood Crushes Day 48: The Words “Miss You” Day 47: Birthday Stories Day 46: Nature’s Hold on Us Day 45: Play-Doh Day 44: First Day of School Pictures Day 43: Calvin and Hobbes Day 42: Appreciative Readers Day 41: Marilyn Monroe’s Best Quote Day 40: Being Silly Day 39: Being Happy Exactly Where You Are Day 38: Proud Grandparents Day 37: Chocolate Chip Cookies Day 36: Challenging Experiences that Make Great Stories Day 35: You Can’t Always Get What You Want Day 34: Accepting the Fog Day 33: I See the Moon Day 32: The Stonehenge Scene from This is Spinal Tap Day 31: Perspective Day 30: Unlikely Friendships Day 29: Good Samaritans Day 28: Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet? Day 27: Shadows Day 26: Bike Riding on Country Roads Day 25: When Harry Met Sally Day 24: Hibiscus Day 23: The Ice Cream Truck Day 22: The Wonderful World of Disney Day 21: Puppy love Day 20 Personal Theme Songs Day 19: Summer Clouds Day 18: Bartholomew Cubbin’s VictoryDay 17: A Royal Birth Day 16: Creative Kids Day 15: The Scent of Honeysuckle Day 14: Clip of Kevin Kline Exploring His MasculinityDay 13: Random Text Messages from My Daughter Day 12: Round Bales of HayDay 11: Water Fountains for Dogs Day 10: The Rainier Beer Motorcycle Commercial Day 9: Four-Leaf Clovers Day 8: Great Teachers We Still RememberDay 7: Finding the missing sock Day 6: Children’s books that teach life-long lessonsDay 5: The Perfect Photo at the Perfect Moment Day 4: Jumping in Puddles Day 3: The Ride Downhill after the Struggle Uphill Day 2: Old Photographs Day 1: The Martians on Sesame Street
Some are significant, and some aren’t. Some have a long-lasting impact on us, and some don’t. And some are memorable, and some are easily forgotten.
The moments that make headlines either tell us about events that will affect us or are intended to engage or entertain us.
But the moments that help shape who we are and who we are becoming are often less dramatic or public. But sometimes they are, and in those rare occasions, they might get a brief nod in the back pages of a newspaper.
Such were the events of last Friday night.
Anyone who attended the Spring Mills High School football on Friday night probably recognized the events had everything a good Hollywood script requires, including an ordinary beginning.
Students, parents and community members trickled into the stadium to the sounds of rock music. The football team, cheerleaders and band warmed up. And the announcers checked the sound system.
The only thing outwardly unusual about this Friday night was the biting cold and the students who came dressed in costumes.
“It’s the last football game before Halloween,’ the younger sibling of one student told me. “Of course they are going to dress in costume.” She then puffed up a bit. “My sister is the one in the poodle skirt.”
Almost on cue, the night became magical.
When the band played the national anthem, the whole stadium was unusually silent. Even the younger students who are generally unruly, paid tribute. Later, when a boy didn’t have enough money to buy a hot chocolate at the concession stand, an adult offered him change. The boy looked at him in awe and said, “thank you, sir,” at least three times.
And then there was the game itself.
Spring Mills High School, which has no senior class and, until Friday, had never won a football game, scored 14 points in the first half.
The other team didn’t score anything.
For the first time since August, our team had hope.
During the third quarter, the other team tied the score, and that hope began to diminish until Spring Mills scored another touchdown.
As the final seconds of the game ticked down, the energy in the frigid stadium went up. When the final buzzer sounded, the student body rushed the football field and celebrated for a long, long time.
Some students may have been celebrating a win for the sake of winning. Others may have been celebrating the football team’s history making moment. And others were celebrating the individual successes of all the young men who had persevered.
One by one, the students left the field. Then the football team left the field. And then, finally, the band members left the field.
The band, like the football team, is new this year, and it, like the football team, is smaller than those of other high schools.
But, for the first time ever, as it marched off the field after a football game, the band played in celebration. The band parents in the concession stand stopped what we were doing and started clapping and cheering and crying.
The moment was movie perfect until the young girl, who hours before had bragged her sister was wearing a poodle skirt, came back. In child-like innocence she said, “Did you see the other team? The looked so sad when they left the field, Their heads were hanging down.”
For an instance, I felt guilty about all the jubilation.
But then, I realized we weren’t really celebrating our defeat of another team or the points on the scoreboard. We were celebrating the community we are becoming. For the first time, we had collectively experienced a memory that will stay with us the rest of our lives.
There were no reporters and television crews at the game, and the victory received only a brief mention in the local newspaper.
But for those of us who were there, the script for that evening unfolded in a way usually reserved only for movies, and we will all carry that perfect movie moment with us forever.
On Saturday, I was the local grocery store when I thought I passed someone I knew. Instead of turning around, I glanced into the side view mirror of my shopping cart.
I know . . . shopping carts don’t have side view mirrors, rear view mirrors or any other mirrors. But, I’ve been spending a lot of time on my bike recently, and I’m constantly checking for cars in the side mirror attached to my handlebars. Apparently, the muscle memory of steering a bike is similar to pushing a grocery cart.
My action was ridiculous, and even though no one else would have even noticed the quick glance into nothing, my behavior kept me from actually turning around to see the person. Instead, I put my head down and hurriedly pushed the cart forward.
Saturday’s reminder: Never be so focused on moving away from our mistakes or missteps that we fail to turn around and face the current situation.
Sunday during church, the choir sang a particularly uplifting song, and as members finished singing, a little boy in the pew behind us started clapping. This was followed by his father’s hushed but angry voice saying “you don’t clap in church!”
The father’s reaction to his son’s joy and celebration reminded me how often we let society dictate how we express our feelings. I wish I had turned around and said, “What better place is there to clap than in church?” But I didn’t.
Sunday’s reminder: Don’t let anyone prevent you from expressing joy and happiness.
I was sitting at my desk at work on Monday, when my cell phone rang. Even though I didn’t recognize the number, I answered anyway. The call was from a former neighbor currently living in the Ukraine. As she recited all the countries her children have visited as part of their education and all the trips she is constantly making, I started feeling as though my life is dull and unremarkable. Then she told me her family is coming home after two years, and she was looking for advice regarding schools.
Since I rarely go through a day when someone doesn’t ask me for advice, I didn’t initially think much about her questions. But later, I realized she had given me a compliment.
Monday’s reminder: Being asked for an opinion is a sign of trust, and having someone’s trust is a remarkable gift.
Last month, my colleagues and I moved from our offices to a building that had previously served as a doctors’ office. Despite the large sign out front that says “research center” and the paper sign we put on the front door with the doctors’ new address, patients still come through our doors.
On Tuesday, a woman came walking down the hall yelling loudly, “Where’s my cancer doctor?” I politely told her the doctor had moved and that the address was posted on our front door. The look she gave me indicated she needed more instruction, so I walked her to the door and read her the sign. She repeated the address as she walked to her car.
Tuesday’s reminder: Being able to read is something many of us take for granted, and making assumptions that everyone can get the message through the written word is presumptuous.
My daughter just got braces, and she isn’t bothered at all by them. In fact, she loves the color (aqua) and the attention she’s getting. On Wednesday, she took her customary place in the passenger seat of my Jeep, pulled down the visor, flipped open the mirror and admired her mouth. Then she turned to me and said, “You know, I’m not the one who has to get used to the braces, since I don’t look at myself all the time. Everyone else has to get used to them.”
Wednesdays reminder: Perspective really is everything.
Thursday after work I hurried home so I could get in a bike ride before I had to transport my daughter to evening activities. One of my older neighbors was outside with her dog, so I stopped to talk. Oak catkins were spread all over her lawn and driveway, and she apologized for the mess. Since I was focused on her and her dog, I hadn’t even noticed until she drew attention to them.
Thursday’s reminder: Don’t apologize to others for living your life the way you want. If people judge how you spend your time, they aren’t worth making time for.
On Friday, I was riding my bike on the bridge over the interstate near my house. I could see that traffic on the exit was backed up almost to the highway, and my first reaction was that there must have been another accident on Interstate 81. (Such accidents have become almost daily events.) But traffic on the interstate was moving smoothly.
As I rode through the light at the exit, I noticed the first vehicle in line was about a car’s length back from the white line that distinguishes the exit from the road. It also marks a trigger linked to the stop light. Despite the long line of cars and the red light that wasn’t changing, the first vehicle didn’t move. I imagine eventually something prompted the driver to move forward, but I was glad I wasn’t stuck behind him.
Friday’s reminder: Sometimes we can’t wait for something to happen, we have to make it happen ourselves.
This may not have been a week of earth shattering events or life-changing moments, but it was definitely a week to remember.
But I didn’t and I probably never will, so my friends and family are forced to deal with my habitual need to ask questions. Lots and lots of questions. About anything and everything.
My husband and kids call me “The Interrogator.”
I’d like to think that means they consider me a superhero who unveils misdeeds, liars and unacceptable behavior by eventually asking so many questions the truth is revealed.
Unfortunately, they aren’t paying me a compliment and instead are simply letting me know they find my all questions annoying. I’ve also been told that people who ask a lot of questions are subconsciously trying to take control of a situation.
There’s probably some truth to that, but I’d rather be annoying than to sit back and just allow people and organizations to get away with actions that affect and sometimes hurt others.
I also like to think that, as an inquisitor, I’m in good company.
This week, at her first Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing, Senator Elizabeth Warren questioned bank regulators about why they hadn’t prosecuted a bank since the financial crisis. Her question seemed simple enough, “Tell me,” she requested “about the last few times you’ve taken the biggest financial institutions on Wall Street to trial. Anybody?”
Instead of simply responding “never,” the regulators tried to explain why there was no need to prosecute.
As with anything political, there are those who agree with Senator Warren and those who don’t.
But her actions, to me, were bigger than pointing out the double standard for big corporations versus average citizens or about ensuring that bank executives don’t continue to pass the repercussions of their behaviors onto the general public. Her actions were about her willingness to ask the tough questions and to not back down. Her actions were about repeating the same question over and over again until someone is forced to answer. And, to be honest, her actions were about validating my own behavior.
I’m not even close to being in Elizabeth Warren’s league much the less in the Justice League, but I do believe heroes have to ask the hard questions. If they don’t, silence persists, and nothing ever changes.
So even though my family insists on calling me “The Interrogator” to try to shut me up, it’s not working. Instead, I’m thinking of getting one of those t-shirts with a big question mark on the front. It may not be the fashion statement superheroes make when wearing their capes, but it just might be a start.
Because if no one questions the status quo, then nothing ever changes or improves. So, far all the
Despite all the hype, I have absolutely no expectation that anything either candidate says will sway my opinion. They will both be so scripted, so practiced and so focused on performing that their potential to impact my life will seem irrelevant. And even after they stop talking, the pundits will step in to add their spin.
The debates, like so many other events that used to be newsworthy, have become staged productions with limited genuine content.
What I need is honesty. I don’t need platitudes or great sound bites. I need heartfelt discussion and genuine opinions.
If only I were in charge of the debates.
If I were, both candidates would be injected with truth serum before they could answer even one question. I’d also be asking my own questions. I already have a list:
1. If your household income were $50,502 (the median household income in the United States in 2011), describe how you would budget your money to pay for housing and health care, ensure your children received an excellence education and save for emergencies.
2. Describe a situation when you “pulled yourself up by your bootstraps” when the odds were against you, if anyone helped you and what resources you used.
3. Who really influences your political decisions?
4. Do you think there are deserving and undeserving people? If you think there are undeserving people, who are they?
5. What is the biggest lie you or your party has told about the other candidate?
6. What do you think are the biggest differences between men and women? (The ability to give birth doesn’t count.)
7. How would you ensure that every child in America actually received a comparable education?
8. Describe what’s wrong with Congress and how you would attempt to fix it.
9. Describe your understanding of a typical week for an average American.
10. Why do you really want to be President of the United States?
I realize that my questions aren’t particularly politically savvy or intellectually stimulating, but when answered truthfully, they would definitely shine light on which candidate could best lead America.