Despite a late start, Mary and I got it done!
A couple of months ago, I joined the Urbandale Chapter of the Optimists Club International after Mary and I attended the Easter Egg Hunt they’ve sponsored for the Urbandale kids. (Mary gathered at least 70 eggs, more than any kid can ever hope for gathering on an egg hunt— she had fun along with the lucky not-so-many kids who found out about the event and attended.)
Some of the members were handing out brochures about the club and I got attracted by The Optimist Creed, which starts with “Promise Yourself – To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind…..” and ends with “To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble. “ I wanted to be around people who embodied the very traits I am developing within me – “To look at the sunny side of verything and make your optimism come true…” Their Mission “By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in kids.“ is quite noble, too.
One of the Club’s fundraisers is “Avenue of Flags” where homeowners contract with the Club to have a pipe, with a cap, installed then have a flag set on it from early morning to late evening on five holidays – Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Veterans Day.
Club members then volunteers to do the setting of the flags morning of the holiday and taking them back in the evening. I jumped in to help our President on one of the routes for last Memorial Day and that went off without a hitch, I was at the place at eactly 5:45 am, got into the car that Jim has already loaded with the flags and bucket for the caps and since JIm had already done the route numerous times before, we got it done in less than the anticipated hour that it usually takes.
So, for the next holiday, Flag Day, June 14, 2009 Sunday, I volunteered to take the same route by myself and I had planned to take Mary along as I know she enjoys this sort of thing.
The week before the day, I have prepared Mary that she would have to wake up at 5:30 am and that we would be out early in the morning putting up flags. She was ready and so was I.
So, Monday, I had it in my mind that we had to wake up very early the following Sunday. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, still the early Sunday morning plan was in my head. Friday, Mary had a sleepover with her Brownie troop and Saturday, Mary and I got to spend the day together by going to the mall. Seemingly, the early Sunday morning adventure had left my brain by then…
Sunday morning, my internal alarm clock got me up at my usual time between 6-6:30 am. I glanced at the clock, 6:26 am. “Thank you, God for this beautiful day!” was my usual first thought and then I think about whether I have time to snooze. That morning I thought, “Well, Mary does not have camp, I don’t have to be at work till 9:50 am… I can catch some more winks—– Oh, NO! FLAGS!!!!!!”
Adrenaline pumping, I jumped out of bed, went and shook Mary awake, “Mary, we’re late, we gotta put up flags!!!”
And the little trouper that she is, Mary snapped her eyes open, got out of bed and followed me to the bathroom.
We got out of the house less than 10 minutes later and were off to pick up the flags for our route.
Then, I could not remember what street the house to pick up the flags at. The last time, I had googled and printed out a map of the address and had brought along the address as well as the phone number in case I got lost, which I did not, at that time. This time, no map, no address, no phone number (or so, I thought). Mary was doing her best to help ,”Who do you know that knows the number that we can call?.” she asks.
Luckily, I had my cell phone and I was about to call Jack when I noticed that I had a missed call from Jim and Judy (wondering where I was at 6:30 am…) and so I just pushed send and got Jim on the line and he gave me the address.
Then, I had to figure out how to get the flags into the back of my Volvo station wagon. They were longer than I thought! Finally, I just pushed them up all the way to the windshield, in between the front seats and drove with the back door unlocked.
Mary and I got going on the route and Mary proved to be such an able helper. She was the Navigator, read out the route directions to me as I drove. She help carried the flags, looked for the caps along with me and helped set them in. Though, after she got splashed she let ME do that last task.
I got boinked on the head once when Mary let go of the flag, Mary and I got our feet all wet from the morning dew on the grass but those were just minor mishaps. All in all, we took our time, enjoyed the moments, shared the experience together— “We are doing this for the community, Mary!” “Do you get paid?” “No.”
Mary would do it again and we thought about volunteering for Fourth of July Independence Day but then, I remembered the Volvo will be in the shop sometime that week. As it was, I was fortunate to get it started that morning as it was already having problems.
Maybe for Labor Day….