Monthly Archives: August 2012

Broken Toes and Good Luck


“I’ve always been pretty lucky.”

That’s what I said just this morning. I say it a lot. I always mean it.

Sometimes I’m lucky without even knowing it.

Take the time and place that I grew up. I’ve mentioned before that I grew up in Southside Virginia, in a little town called South Boston. Well, to be truthful, I grew up in Cluster Springs. In the 1960s. I was 12 years old in 1969.

I tell my children a lot: Everything in the world that ever happened happened in 1968 or 1969. People my age had a ringside seat for a lot of it. My kids can’t understand when I tell them what a big deal space flight was and how everyone watched and celebrated. We all watched the Olympics together. We all watched everything together.

One of the things I was “lucky” enough – stay with me on this because it’ll just sound terrible at first (because it was) – to see was the last vestiges of segregation. I can remember “whites only” water fountains and bathrooms in stores. I can remember separate nights for the races at the county fair, and I can remember how only whites could sit downstairs at the movie theater in town.

Why do I say I was “lucky” to experience these things? Because I remember how damn cruel and stupid and wrong they were. And I can use those memories to refuse to be quiet when I see injustices going on today.

The debate over same-sex marriage has been bitter. I understand that everyone isn’t going to believe the same way that I do, and I try to respect alternate opinions. What I don’t respect is hate. What I don’t respect is using the law to back up religious views that not everyone may hold.

I see people bragging about their support for Chjck Fil-A, and I think, are you really supporting Chick-Fil-A or are you just hating on gays and lesbians? And why?

I see so much hate in this debate, and I just truly don’t understand it. I hate hate. I don’t hate much else (except, of course, bananas).

It’s just such a vile, corrupt word. Hate. I even sounds mean. Nothing good comes of it.

Someone I know posted a set of photos this a.m. on Facebook of signs at McDonalds, KFC and Wendy’s with messages backing Chick Fil-A. The caption talked about how amazing the support was from the companies.

Here’s the thing: According to Snopes, the messages on the McDonalds and KFC signs were definitely photoshopped. It said some Wendy’s franchises may have put signs of support up. Before being ordered to take them down by Wendy’s corporate. So all that support was phony. Just think about that a bit.

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This morning, I woke up hungry for a good bagel.

It was because of something else lucky that happen last week while we were in the Greater Topsail Island community. Karen and I got to the hotel in mid-afternoon; we hadn’t eaten lunch but didn’t want to take a long time because we wanted to get some beach time in. We decided to try the bagel place out next door. It was fantastic. I hadn’t had a bagel in awhile, and the sandwich I got was so good that we went back to the shop for breakfast the next morning.

So I was really craving one as good as I had last week. I mentioned it to Karen, and she suggested a shop to me that I didn’t know about. (Otherwise, I prolly would have gone to Pandora Bread for my bagel.)

I got to Poppyseed Bagels and was pretty excited. It was really hopping, far more than I would expect for a business in sleepy Indian Trail. So I parked, got out of the car and started striding toward the door, just thinking about what I’d order.

Which means I totally didn’t see the curb. I kicked it not with one foot but with two. While wearing flipflops. And went a flopping, It was one of those slow motion falls. I thought I regained my balance, then kinda stumbled again. I finally stabilized, thanks to a chair I grabbed and to a lady who was trying to enjoy breakfast with her friends.

She apologized for grabbing my arm. “I’m sorry, it was just a grandma move.” I thanked her, assured her and her friends I was fine, and tried to act nonchalant. Because that’s what I do in potentially embarrassing situations.

Truth was, I wasn’t sure I didn’t have two broken big toes. I’m still not sure I don’t.

I limped through the line, trying not to show any pain, and ordered my bagels and scallion cream cheese. My toes were still killing me. As I waited for my food, a second woman, one who had been eating at one of the shop’s window seats, came up to ask how I was.

“Fine,” I said, still feeling a bit embarrassed and not at all fine.

“I saw what happened when you were coming in. I did the same thing here,” she said. “Only I fell and almost broke my nose.” Her nose looked fine to me. “It was a few months ago,” she said. “You were really lucky.”

“I’ve always been lucky,” I said.

Lucky, indeed. Lucky not to hate. Lucky to love. And be loved.

“Be grateful for luck. Pay the thunder no mind – listen to the birds. And don’t hate nobody.”  _ Eubie Blake, the great jazz pianist and composer

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