December 2, 2014

Best Laid Plans, Interrupted, Offer Opportunity



Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday? 

OK, I was unaware of this. A Tuesday newspaper article alerted me to the day. However, we were thrown into a giving experience on December 1, 2014, the day before that year’s Giving Tuesday. Allow me to share the story with you.


I’d planned a quiet day clearing up some paperwork, writing, making turkey broth from leftover turkey bones. However, the best laid plans…you know the rest of this cliché…

Blood dripped onto my kitchen floor as I examined the cut on husband’s index finger. Its depth had me suggesting he might need stitches. I finally convinced him to go to the emergency room as his AB+ red fluid flowed freely into the bathroom sink unless he put real pressure on it.

Monte and I entered the emergency room almost simultaneously as another gentleman.  We looked at each other while waiting to sign in. He looked so familiar.

“John?” That morning I’d had a man cancel an interview due to illness, and he mentioned he might have to go to the emergency room.

“I’m Walter,” the man replied in a soft, almost inaudible, voice.

He told Monte and I he’d broken his foot several days ago. As he was explaining Monte was called to register for treatment. I stayed with Walter, whom I hadn’t seen in several years. I was ashamed I hadn’t recognized the former Beanery Writers Group (Latrobe, Pennsylvania) member immediately. I knew several members would be glad to hear how he was doing, so I wanted to get his address and phone number.

While searching through my purse for a pen the nurse called him to sign in. I borrowed her pen to write down his address as I trailed them to the intake desk. I managed to get his address but not his phone number.

I rejoined Monte as he was completing his registration, and the staff chuckled that I had remained behind “with another man.”

Almost immediately we were sent to a smaller waiting room which Walter also entered and successfully gave me his phone number before we were called into a treatment room.

Monte bypassed the bed and sat with me on the two chairs against the wall. A staff woman came in and smiled. “You make a cute couple,” she said, after which a physician’s assistant proceeded to place five stitches on Monte’s finger. Meanwhile, Walter was in an adjacent room. While we waited to receive discharge instructions I waved to him and walked over to the door of his room to see how he was doing.

“You can come in,” I was told. By this time the entire staff knew Walter and I were friends.

Walter received a stiff brace on his leg and foot—just short of a cast. I heard them tell him he couldn’t drive. How was he to get home?

Monte was able to drive now that he was stitched up so I suggested he drive Walter’s car to take him home and I would follow. Walter agreed, and gave me his car key. Monte went to get his car.

As we drove through the damp, rainy, Latrobe streets Monte’s car pulled over to the edge of the road. He came to our car and told me Walter wanted to stop to eat, so we shared a pizza and conversation.


While waiting for our pizza Walter told us about his unique experience he’d had—surviving being struck by lightning about a year ago. His voice is so soft and the normal background noise in the restaurant discouraged me from asking questions in detail.

“A lightning bold hit a tree on the hill (behind his house) and then struck a transformer above his head. I was knocked to the ground, and knocked out, but came to. I managed to crawl into the house, and then spent 26 hours stuck between the shower and bathroom wall. Two days later I was up and walking. However, my doctor placed me in Mountainview home for 7 months. I didn’t want to stay.”

His doctor wouldn’t release him from the home which made him angry.

He sustained burn scars from the lightning hit, and it knocked a hole in his leg.

“God took care of me that night,” Walter said.


This year, for me, is unusual. Some activities are done way ahead of schedule—I mailed Christmas boxes two days before Thanksgiving; or done in a timely fashion—I managed to take my granddaughter out for her birthday dinner on schedule, or done in my typical late fashion.

Participation in Giving Tuesday can be by offering financial gifts or by being of service to someone in need. God must have been taking care of Walter by placing us in the right spot at the right time to meet an old friend and offer assistance.

We performed our Giving Tuesday a day early, leaving our Monday plans to be completed on Tuesday. Sometimes the best laid plans go awry yet offer new opportunity.



1 Comment »

  1. Sorry about Monte’s finger!! As you say, the best laid plans. Sometimes it is best to just leave the planning to others and go where each day takes us.

    Comment by Fran — December 4, 2014 @ 3:48 pm | Reply

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