Monday, July 13, 2009

Overcoming Adversity

Joanne has been saddled doing most of the heavy lifting, literally and figuratively, over the 31 years of our marriage. Now, with my back surgery providing a ready made reason why I cannot be of help, even the pretense of assistance has vanished.

Recently, we brought our newly acquired kayak to the lake. I say we in the most generous sense. My part of the equation was pressing the key pad to open the garage door. Our new toy weighs about 40 pounds and is 9 feet long. I stood by, giving my best impression of mentally guiding the process as Jo pulled the kayak from the garage, stood it up against the rear of the Forester wagon, tilted it upward, slid it onto the roof of the car, took the bungee cords and secured it in place.

I now performed the critical job of driving the 2 minutes to our destination. A man and woman were standing in the shallow water by the launch area, throwing tennis balls to their 3 dogs. "I would love to throw the ball to them" I stated, "but I recently suffered a partially torn rotator cuff".

As Joanne did all the necessary work by herself to get the kayak off the car and into the water, I notified the dog owners that "I just had back surgery". Suddenly I was transformed from some useless lump of clay into a figure evoking great sympathy and warmth. "How long ago? You seem to be doing great. Can we help your wife get everything ready?" I told them not to bother as she had it well under control.

There was a folding chair in the trunk that I would be sitting in at the shore while Jo paddled around. "Can we get that for you?" I felt noble and strong when I turned down their request, and removed the 1 or 2 pound item from its resting place in the car.

Meanwhile, Jo continued her one person exercise, looking up only long enough to take in the charade unfolding near her. Both Jo and I knew the truth but I was certainly not telling these kind strangers and she had long ago given up trying to explain my shortcomings.

As Jo guided the kayak into the water and headed for a glorious hour of exercise and peace, I was left on the shore, with my new friends. Jo just shook her head and paddled into the distance.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps you and Jim could move in together........

Robert said...

He's my kind of guy.