Summer: Happy Dance Days

The Author, Enjoying a Happy Dance Day

Occasionally, golden days occur, when absolutely everything goes right.
A Sunday in August was such a day.
It was golden from minute one; I jumped out of bed, fully alert and ready to face the day.
My CPAP informed me that I had enjoyed 8.2 hours of sleep, a good sign – getting a good night’s sleep seems to be my key to everything that’s good and healthy.
My body was quiet and not haranguing me about anything: I wasn’t hungry nor was I feeling crappy. My joints weren’t aching.
My weight was stable, neither a gain or loss.
I’ll take it.
Even my broken toe felt better, and last night’s cooking burn just below my left wrist was just a non-painful red spot. And the knife cut on my right thumb was healing nicely.
Have I told you I’m a klutz?
I planned to go back to The Celebration of Life, where, the previous day, I had acquired The Holy Grail of the specimen world: a 552 gram rutilated quartz sphere, with red, coppery rutiles (expensive, but well worth it) – I had been searching for this beauty for years, and now it was mine.
I also wanted to say goodbye to one of the vendors, who I wouldn’t see until next year, and there was a pendant I was reconsidering purchasing – it’s easy to justify yet another purchase when you can say, “Well, I slept on it; ergo, it’s not an impulse.”
Yes, I bought it.
It seems as though kicking one addiction, kicks in another.
I had considered bagging my daily walk; I had a busy day planned because after The Celebration of Life, my husband and I were headed to our local theatre, where we are front-of-house volunteers.
But when I saw how drop dead gorgeous it was outside, I just had to fit my walk in. In fact, it suddenly became the highest priority.
Time was going to be tight, though, so I jumped into my walking clothes and shoes and hit the pavement.
The air was sweet and cool, the sun bright and cheery, casting fall-like shadows – a bounce in my step.
A good day, indeed.
I had just crossed the street and was just about to descend to the bottom of the hill when I saw the most beautiful maple rocking chair at the curb, placed there for garbage collection the next day.
Often, residents in my neighborhood will put an item out the day before collection to give others the opportunity to take it before the garbage truck pulverizes it.
Most of the time, it’s just junk or stuff that needs fixing. About six months ago, I acquired two nice chairs that needed some minor repairs and sprucing up – not spectacular, though very pretty and serviceable, especially after I fixed them and bought some cushions. And recently I found some wooden slatted bar stools with backs, in good condition, which I cleaned up and took to a consignment shop.
Other than some light wear on the right arm, this rocker was in perfect condition, solid maple wood construction, no veneers or hidden flakeboard lurking within it.
I could scarcely believe my eyes.
Does the owner really want to throw this beauty away or was this just a mistake?
No one in York County ever throws anything away, unless it’s junk, broken, outdated (like old TV’s), or too much trouble to deal with.
I circled the rocker a few times and inspected it.
Something has got to be wrong.
Nope, nothing wrong – all parts in working condition.
Solid. Not even a creak.
Like a felon, I glanced around to make sure the owner, with fury in his eyes, wasn’t pointing a gun my way, another York County pastime.
All clear.
I picked the rocker up; it was so heavy that I thought my back would go out.
Fortunately, it wasn’t far to my house.
My hips are now slim enough that I could fit between the rockers, making the chair easier to carry.
Didn’t I say this was a good day?
As I struggled to get the chair into the house, my heart was pounding – I couldn’t tell if I was just excited or frightened of facing Jerry with yet another treasure.
Jerry hates when I drag things home – my inadvertent dumpster diving being a side effect of my heart and weight healthy walks.
Yin and Yang.
I don’t seek stuff out – it finds me. In fact, I don’t even think about hunting for curbside treasures, that is, until I actually see them.
I don’t consciously look forward to Sunday and Monday walks to search for something awesome.
I walk because I want to walk; I feel great after I have walked – this is my true addiction now, not because I want more stuff.
I go to the Goodwill or Salvation Army for my stuff fix.
Admittedly, some of the stuff I drag home is iffy; more than once I have had to re-toss things away, and I do have a tendency toward hoarding.
Let’s just get this reality out there, something to be examined in another chapter, for there is a relationship between weight gain and hoarding.
For now, this chair was perfection, The Holy Grail of all chairs.
Is it possible to experience Two Holy Grails within a 24-hour period?
At what point does A Holy Grail become an ordinary discovery?
That would be like winning two 300-million-dollar lotteries in two days – not likely, but possible.
Anyway, I felt as though I had just won two lotteries…
After dropping off the chair, I resumed my walk; I would now have to hustle to fit everything in.
I glanced at my phone; this minor detour had taken all of seven minutes, so I relaxed my gait a bit.
On foot, I often run into my neighbors and their dogs – it’s the social and fun aspect of my walks.
On this day, I stopped to pet a cute part Boston terrier and greet his owner. We chatted for a bit and we started back on our separate ways. She stopped, and over her shoulder, said, “I just wanted to tell you that you look terrific. How much have you lost?”
I told her 66 pounds.
She asked if I was just walking it off.
I said “no” – I was doing Weight Watchers as well.
“Ah,” she said, as if that explained everything. “It’s been great seeing how you have changed over the past year.”
I was a bit surprised to find out that at least one person in my neighborhood has been tracking my progress – not that I would expect a stranger to care deeply about my journey.
We chatted some more about weight loss and dieting in general and then waved our goodbyes.
Somehow, her comments put yet another spring in my step.
During my second loop, I found a painted rock at the strip mall on my route.
It hadn’t been there on my first loop, so someone must have placed it there very recently.
Leaving painted rocks around town seems to be a current fad – I like it – sort of like a Secret Santa in August.
Two gifts in one day; how cool is that?
I took it as a good omen.
I made it home in time to eat a quick breakfast, shower and dress, and throw together a light lunch to take to the theatre.
At the theatre, everything went smoothly – no front-of-house drama.
Several people complimented me on my new pendant, and two even liked my white working-the-theatre blouse, a ruffled garment – admittedly a bit too frou-frouy for my taste.
I’m not used to a lot of compliments at one time…
The musical itself was a lot of fun, well worth my time and attention.
Afterwards, Jerry and I had a nice dinner out, a meal that broke neither the budget nor the diet plan.
No cravings, so I didn’t feel like overeating – just a content and happy tummy.
After returning home, I asked Jerry to take a photo of me outside, where the sun continued to shine, the sky a brilliant blue, the air still sweet and cool.
I needed to commemorate this perfect day, to prove that such days still exist, even in these troubled times.
But as evening approached, a little seed of doubt started growing:
This day had been too good to be true, much too easy.
Perhaps this day would collapse like a house of cards, that none of it was real, only a dream, like those in which you have won the lottery and are figuring out how to spend your wealth, only to awaken to reality.
I would awaken, five pounds heavier, this Sunday rebooted into a dark and gloomy day, pouring rain, fetid and humid, with no chance of my being able to walk outside – another session on the dreadmill.
Worse, yet, perhaps I would hear a knock at the front door, only to greet an officer with a badge, letting me know that I was under arrest for stealing a rocking chair from my upset neighbor.
Or that the nice woman who I thought had complimented me on my progress was really the same woman who owned the butterscotch dog that had bitten my pant leg last winter, just another neighborhood unfriendly.
Or that the painted rock belonged to a kid who was bawling his heart out because some mean old lady in a straw hat and fringed cut-offs stole his rock.
Or that the pendant had been sold to someone else (okay, not the worst thing that could have happened).
Or that I forgot to pack a lunch, and I ended up buying and eating a bag of pretzels and three Hershey Bars from the concession stand, where I was working.
Or that a theatre patron was unhappy with me because water was $2.00 a bottle – much too expensive said in a snit.
Or that the musical sucked, and I was trapped in an uncomfortably tight seat too close to the actors so I couldn’t bag out early.
Or that I ordered the wrong meal and went totally off plan and ate French Fries and some other fried abomination, topped off with a large caramel sundae, with whipped cream, peanuts, and a cherry.
To add insult to this already awful day, what if I went home and started bingeing?
And what if my binge caused me to become sick on my stomach, keeping me from getting a good night’s sleep?
Or that I woke up, 66 pounds heavier?
Of course, that’s not what happened; on Monday, I woke up refreshed and well-rested. Not quite the golden Sunday of yesterday, but not bad.
No police officer came to the door, and nothing else from the previous day came back to bite me.
Just a normal Monday morning, perhaps a late start to it, pretty much eliminating any further dumpster diving.
Why must something within me create a black cloud where none should exist?
Why is it so difficult to accept that life sometimes offers up absolute happy dance days without exacting Yang for having enjoyed some wonderful Yin?

Why can’t I just accept golden days for what they are?
Why must I constantly assign some kind of cost to be exacted for just being ordinary-day happy?

Still, the Monday-morning gloom lifted, and life became ordinary again.
Back in my comfort zone.


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