The past couple of weeks have been difficult for your humble Walrus. A family emergency took me out of my usual routine and back to my little hometown on the edge of where the South meets the Midwest.
It was a trying time that required dealing with a death in the family, but it reminded me of some pretty basic life lessons. While I’m not fond of lists, this seems like a good time for one:
- The little town I grew up in still has the same limitations it did when I lived there many years ago. If anything, as businesses have closed, the town has devolved to offer fewer options for products and services than it did then. Some things are much more difficult than they need to be.
- In difficult times, you learn quickly who your true friends are — and that you have more of them than you thought.
- The quality of small-town gossip hasn’t improved over the years. Nor has the quality of the small minds that produce it.
- I prefer funeral directors who are somber and respectful instead of those who are jovial at inappropriate times. Yes, I know it might well be a sincere attempt at helping grieving relatives cope, but for me at least, the joke-telling is just annoying.
- Folks who knew you way back when will rally to your side right when you need them the most. It’s amazing how many hidden talents people have, and how willing they are to use them to help you when you least expect it.
- An understanding employer — one who doesn’t blink when you need more time off than you planned — is a great thing. So is learning that coworkers care about your loss.
- A big, extended family, even one whose members rarely see each other, is a joy to be treasured.
Tough times it seems, bring out the best and worst in people. Fortunately, the good far outweighs the bad, a fact for which I am well and truly grateful.