Monday, October 15, 2007

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Today was an odd day. I got up and had great plans for the day. My list was made. And I even managed to quickly throw a batch of chocolate chip cookies in my toaster oven before heading to the office, just to top things off. It was going to be a great day. A very productive day.

Things turned out very differently. I was asked to assist someone with a task which took much longer than I hoped it would. Little by little, the impatience grew in me. By 11 a.m., when there was still no end in sight in helping the other person, I spoke up. (I had tried earlier. I was being very assertive, in fact, but it was not being received.) "I need to leave now. I need to go to town so I can be back by 4 pm."

Four, because that's when the women's Bible study starts. The one the ladies asked me to join. The one I've been really excited about joining, but have not yet been able to attend due to scheduling issues. Today, I'll make it.

And yes, I had to run to town on a work day because I was working all of Saturday and my fridge is void of any goods that can be tossed together for a good meal. And plus, most of my town chores were work stuff...

So by noon I was finally on my way. Pick up a 118-pound box which was supposed to have been here while the optometry team was here. Drop off receipts with the accountant. Buy bread from Baker's Yard, and order some tea and a cheese pie for lunch. Make another list of things to do and buy in town while chasing the pie with tea. Run to Posta to pick up a package. ("Sorry. That counter is closed for lunch. Come back at 2.") Pick up groceries. I decide to make the day a bit better by buying ice cream. But that means I have to buy ice to put in the cooler box so the stuff doesn't melt during the hour-long drive home. Only the Coke distributor in town carries ice. After waiting half an hour for the ice guy to come (by now, I could be halfway home!), I finally get a block of ice. Stop by a few more places to pick up colleagues who've asked for rides back to the village. And finally head home.

It's far too late for the Bible study, so I let that go. I visit with the guys in the car, learning about the successes they've seen in their line of ministry. The frustration leaves as I appreciate the moment of fellowship on the road. About half way home, I pass Maru (our driver) driving really fast toward town. Odd, I think. Maru usually goes to town in the morning. I wonder what's up.

Only later do I learn that he was rushing a young mother to the hospital. The lady had just given birth to a little girl on the side of the road while Juli was trying to get her to the hospital. (Read this crazy story!) Too bad I was running errands, I think. Else I would've probably been with Juli and Allison, driving this young mom to the hospital!

But I wasn't. Not today.

After a few other commitments and after dinner with my neighbor-friends who thoroughly appreciated my contribution of oh-so-rare-in-this-part-of-our-world ice cream, I finally get to curl up on a chair and open my package. Among, other books, there's Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go!

And since I didn't grow up in a culture where Dr. Seuss was known, I get to read the book for the first time as an adult. And I smile as I think how very true this book is, how it seems like just the story I should read at the end of a day like today, toward the end of a year like this year...

And so, tonight, before I crawl into bed, let me read bits of it to you. Just in case you, too, haven't had the joy of reading it till today. Or even if you're like my friend Jessie and have read every Seuss book a million times, perhaps you can imagine this being read in my odd accent... (I'd read/type it all, but then I'd be violating copyright laws...)

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!


You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to great heights.

You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don't.
Because, sometimes, you won't.

I'm sorry to say so
but, sadly, it's true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You'll be left in a Lurch.

You'll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you'll be in a Slump.

And when you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're dark.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?


You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes of No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.


Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.


Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.


I'm afraid that some times
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you'll be quite a lot.


On and on you will hike.
And I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
ad Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Booysen or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So ... get on your way!

Yes, yes, I changed the second name from Bixby to Booysen. Just to see if you're paying attention.
And thanks, Tom, for the gift of children's books. :)

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