*The Road Not Taken

Back when I was in grade school, we often memorized poems. Robert Frost was always a favorite, and over the years I still remember reciting “The Road Not Taken” with the rest of the class.

This little ritual was part and parcel of the times, and I have to say that reciting poetry didn’t hurt any of us. Speaking just for me, I found that reciting a poem out loud made wonderful word pictures in my head. “The Road Not Taken” became one of my favorite Robert Frost poems.

To this day when I think about that poem, I wonder about my own roads not taken. I think that we all look back from time to time, wondering what would have happened if we had done this or that? How would those things affect our lives then and now?

I always played it safe; I wasn’t a risk-taker. I was raised in a time where I was often told the outcomes of hasty decisions. Cautionary mottos were everywhere, such as “look before you leap,” and “pride goeth before a fall,” and so on. Back then, I took the safe and reliable road, not the road I didn’t know.

Years passed, and after surviving a bad marriage, I said that I would never marry again. I wasn’t going to risk my heart again, and I was going to live life my way and live alone. At the time, it seemed like the best course for me, and I looked forward to not having to put up with anyone else. At that time, it was welcome freedom.

And then the Crankee Yankee came back into my life.

The Crankee Yankee and I had known each other for years; he was 26 and I was 25 when we met. He married my then best friend’s older sister, and we all ended up living four houses away from each other on the same street in NH for years. When I married my first husband, we moved to MA.

Two years after my divorce, I was living in Garland, TX. One evening the phone rang and I heard a familiar voice on the other end. It was the Crankee Yankee, now a long-distance trucker. He said that he was coming through TX the next day and would I like to go to out to dinner with him?

By this time, he too was divorced. I was happy to see my old friend again and catch up. We met at a Mexican restaurant, and we talked and laughed until they started putting the chairs up on the tables. We had said our goodbyes, and I wondered if I would see him again.

A few months later, he called and asked if I would like to be his date to his daughter’s graduation from West Point Academy. As I hadn’t seen his daughter in years, I accepted. As we walked the campus together, the Crankee Yankee told me that his daughter was getting married that September, and would I like to go? I did.

Between the graduation and the wedding, we talked on the phone a lot. We talked about old times and laughed a lot. One evening I got a phone call from the Crankee Yankee, and it sounded as though his cell phone was breaking up. When he said, “will you marry me?” I thought I was hearing things.

Still feeling burned from my failed marriage a few years ago, I thought I would never marry again. And then I heard myself say, “yes—yes, I will.” All my fears about commitment and being hurt again vanished.

That was over 15 years ago, and I have to say that I finally took the road not taken; am I glad I did!

*The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

The Second Robbery

The Crankee Yankee and I live on a street so narrow that there are no sidewalks. There is also a sharp curve in the street, so when the Crankee Yankee has to park his truck in front of our house, it slows traffic down.

Although this may be frustrating for people who love to zoom through a residential street like ours at 40 MPH (speed limit is posted at 25 MPH), it does avoid a lot of accidents. This summer the Crankee Yankee put up a sawhorse in front and in back of the truck, with flashing lights on top. The idea was to give drivers some warning at dusk or nighttime to slow down through the curve.

Also, since many cats and skunks routinely cross our street, he put out “Cat Crossing” and Skunk Crossing” signs on the sawhorses; again, in the hope of slowing folks down.

A few weeks ago, we woke up and found that the sawhorses and signs had been stolen. Now, we are talking about some very old and cheap-to-begin-with sawhorses, and signs that cost a whopping $3 apiece. So it was hardly a big haul. Just the same, we called the police so that there would be a record if it happened again.

Well, this past week, it happened again. The only item taken was one of our blinking lights. I’m not proud to say that I just lost it when I heard that. I broke into tears and told the Crankee Yankee that we could never go anywhere again together if this kind of thing was going to keep happening. All I could think of was ‘what’s going to happen next?‘ The mind can take us places we would rather not go.

When I finally got a grip, anger replaced fear. This petty thievery is probably just kids who thought that our stuff would look cool in their rooms. I know that this happens, but it’s still stealing. We called the police again, so this latest is also on record.

These two incidents are hardly the Great Train Robbery, but it was upsetting. I wish that those who do things like this for a lark would consider how they would feel if something of theirs had gone missing. Does anyone remember the *Golden Rule? Stealing is stealing, plain and simple.

In these times when there is so much fear, hatred and violence seemingly erupting everywhere, even a petty theft is disturbing.

*”Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Is This the Day?

“Is this the day I die?”


I imagine that these words were in so many minds during the shooting in Las Vegas. This latest horror brings back memories of 9/11, Katrina, the recent hurricanes and earthquakes where so many lives were lost or changed forever. It is impossibly hard to get our heads around the senseless loss of life and all those who suffer these losses today and for the rest of their lives.

There is just no answer as to why this happened. What made the shooter do this and why? Did any of the people who lost their lives ever know that that was their last day?

The ripple effect of this tragedy affects us all. As we weep for those lives lost, and pray for those injured, we can’t let ourselves become afraid or give up on the human race. If we give in to fear and hatred, we ALL lose.

Please, while we mourn the dead and pray for the survivors, let’s not give up hope. Let’s not let hatred fill our hearts. Let’s not go out into today wondering “is this the day?”






Chasing Fearzola Away

Quite a while ago, I wrote about “Fearzola.” Fearzola was inspired by a dear friend of mine; he is the embodiment of our worst fears. No one ever likes to have him around as he is so negative and causes worry wherever he goes. He can keep us up at night, worrying about all the things that might happen until we feel as though we have a nest of angry bees in our heads.

My friend suggested that, instead of slamming the door in his face and staying up all night worrying, that we simply invite him in to hear what he has to say. More importantly—why he might be saying it. Remembering that greatly helped with what happened the night before last.

Someone stole our two sawhorses we keep behind our vehicles that we park on our side of the street. To make sure that people see them at night, the Crankee Yankee mounted a flashing light on each one, as well as a “Cat Crossing” sign on one, and a “Skunk Crossing” sign on the other. Since many cats and skunks cross our narrow road, we hoped that the signs would remind drivers to slow down.

It isn’t about the sawhorses themselves (they were pretty old and shoddy, but did the trick) or the $3 signs. It’s the fact that someone stole from us. This upset me on many levels; did this mean the beginning of some kind of neighborhood reign of terror? Are we being ‘warned’ by someone who doesn’t like us? Is this a beginning of more robbery or damage to be done?

This little robbery is pretty small change, but I still called it in to our police department. The officer who showed up was supportive, kind and courteous. He told us that we are well within our rights to park on our side of the street, and felt that the sawhorses and lights were a good idea, especially at night. He felt that the robbery was either just some kids pranking, or that someone is angry at us for causing them to slow down when driving on our street.

So why don’t we simply park our vehicles in the driveway? Our driveway is currrently filled with crushed stone, a Bagster, and a homemade work table for the Crankee Yankee. I asked him if he would consider moving that last to the back yard, and he agreed, and did it. I then asked him if he would consider parking the truck (which is bigger than my car) in the driveway to make it easier and perhaps less angry-making to those who travel on our street (usually much too fast). We are still debating that one. But for now, my car is in the driveway.

I am a peace maker, and I don’t like arguing and fighting. I try hard not to provoke anyone, especially considering how angry everyone seems to be right now. However,the fact that this very minor thievery happened disturbs me and makes me angry.

Luckily, the same dear friend of mine helped me through my initial anger and fear. What I learned from her is to stop and take a good, long look at the fear, anger and frustration: hear it. Own it. Live it. Feel it. Doing these things helped me to level out, and see the situation clearly. When things like this happen, it is a violation of our nerves, our peace of mind, our faith in people, and our own vulnerabilities.

It was only two old and beat-up sawhorses and two $3 signs. But it initially felt like a violation of my peace of mind, not to mention my already-shaky faith in people. However, I decided that I will not let this make me fearful. I will not let this destroy my peace of mind, or let fear keep me in the house 24/7 to watch over it.

And yes, we are going to get more sawhorses and more signs. As far as I know, this is still a free country. And grumpy old Fearzola can take a hike.