Savior and Survivor

Wrapping up my last conference of the week, I mentioned to my student’s mom that this afternoon he had been showing his friends where Haiti was on the map.  

Overhearing this, I had mentioned to him that one of the teachers that he sees around the school is married to a man who was born in Haiti.  His face had lit up when I told him this. At the end of the day he had gone right up to this teacher, but then stopped short, looking at her, and said incredulously, “You’re Haitian?”

“No,” she had said, “but my husband is.”  A lengthy conversation followed…well, as lengthy as you can have when it’s Friday afternoon and people are scurrying for their buses.  I had been listening in, so I overheard my student drop this little throwaway as he headed out the door, “One time, when I visited, I was in an earthquake.”

Several hours later, as I met with his mom, we had talked a lot about her dreams for her son, about how she hoped that he would take his opportunity in this country and work hard to make the most of it.  “I came here, and I was poor. I did what I could. I work hard, but I’m just trying to set things up for my kids. I’m just makin’ it, barely, but my kids, they can really make it. They can go to college.  They can become somebody.”

I could hear her determination.  At the same time, though, there was worry.  “But we got no safety net. These other kids, they lose their parent, they got money to get by.  If I die, I got no savings. My kids, they’re on their own. That’s why I tell them they’ve got to work hard.” I felt the urgency.  Her world was fragile, and she worried that her son didn’t see that. Her son thought he was just as secure as his classmates. She thought he took some things for granted that hadn’t been granted at all.

At the end of the conference I asked about his earthquake comment.  “Was it the big earthquake?”

“Oh yes.  Yes it was.  He was there with my mother.  I was back here. He went there and he was in a big brick house, where some of my family lives.  He was one year old. That day he was with a young woman. She was working for the family. She was watching him when the ground started to shake.  She panicked. She got so scared she ran out of the house. She left my baby inside. Then another young girl…she was just a girl…I still see her…we try to take care of her…she realized my baby was in the house.  She ran into the house…into the house…and my boy, he was in his chair, and he was like this…he’s so smart. He was one year old and he was like this,” she motions to show how he leaned forward, balancing in his chair and holding onto the front rim of the table part to keep his balance. “He was like that, when the girl came in and pick him up.  She ran out of the house. The house didn’t fall down, but the wall next to it, the big brick wall between the two houses, it crumbled.”


She stops and takes a breath.   “She was so brave. I’ll never be able to thank her enough.”  

I’m nearly speechless. “So, were you able to get in touch with your   mother?”

“No.  Not for three days.  I tried and tried. I was going out of my mind.  His father, too. We were crazy, we were so scared.  Finally, we got a call from my mother saying they were all okay.  Well, not all. My mother, she lost her best friend in her whole life.  Their whole family, nine people. They all died. My mom, when we finally see her, she looked like a skeleton.  Her face was so sad.”

“How long did it take for them to get out?”

“Oh, long time.  The army, the U.S. Army flew him home.  I heard that was happening. I said to my mom, you go to the army.  You tell them that my baby was born in the U.S. He’s American. And that worked.  They put them on a plane, a cargo plane, and they fly him home.”

“Wow,” I say, “He was a survivor when he was only one.”

“Yeah, that’s right,” she says, “I tell him God saved him for a reason.  That’s why he has to make something of himself. He has to do something great.”


I have to believe he will.


A Dash in Time

Here’s another item inspired by my pilgrimage to church this morning.  What an odd place to find inspiration, no?

Our minister, in honor of his birthday, is talking about old age.  He gives a fine example of “You know you’re old when….” Back in his younger days, he says, he might lose his concentration or be in a hurry while driving, and he’d back into traffic or cut someone off.  The reactions would be predictable. The other driver would glare, honk, wave his fist, or flip the bird. Our minister would respond in kind. Yes, he said that. I am having a hard time imagining our white-haired minister flipping off some random driver, but it’s a fun exercise.  Anyway, last week, he says that, as is his custom, he again backed  from a parking spot, right back into traffic on the Post Road, forcing another driver to slam on his brakes. However, upon seeing the white-haired man at the wheel of the offending car, the other driver did not glare, or honk, or wave his fist.  He did not flip up his middle finger, either. Apparently, at the sight of Methuselah at the wheel, the other driver just looked at our minister with a disgusted, or perhaps it was dismissive, shrug, and waved his arm in an “after you” gesture. This complete lack of rage struck our minister as the ultimate sign that he was no longer young, no longer worthy of a “What the heck are you thinking, buddy?”  It was a sad moment for him…but also a good story.

The minister is leading into a sermon about the fact that we live a long time and therefore have a long time to make an impact on our world.  He refers at one point to a saying he has heard. It is based on the fact that if you look at a tombstone, you’ll usually see, prominently displayed, the starting point and ending point of a  person’s life journey, but the the person’s legacy, the subject of their epitaph,  lies in the dash that’s wedged in between those two points. The saying is something like, “It’s not your birth date or death date that matter. It’s the dash.”

At this moment in time, my mind and my minister’s mind diverge. I can’t tell you  much more about the sermon, because my mind veers into memory lane (without signalling, mind you).  I am remembering an aha moment that one of my students had in math class two years ago. This may sound random, disrespectful, or even sacrilegious to admit. Let’s just call this the confessional. That makes it sound like I was at least being a little religious.

I had been reminding the class that subtraction problems can sometimes be solved more easily by adding a number to both parts of the problem, kind of like sliding both numbers up or down a number line.  As long as they stayed the same distance apart, you’d still get the right answer. For example, if you had the problem 13 minus 9, it might be easier to see the answer if you moved both numbers one higher.  Then it would be 14 minus 10. I was pleased with my tip. Most of my class was unimpressed. They had no problem with 13 minus 9 in the first place. However, at this moment Casper, who did not always find my math instruction gripping,  leaped to his feet. “Oh my gosh. I just realized something!” he blurted. Now, I should tell you that Casper, at age 10, was a bit of an intellectual, and he already spoke in a manner much like a professor. “May I show you on the board?” he asked deferentially. Sometimes I had to cut him off, because his observations or ruminations might go on for a while, or because the rest of the class might not be quite as interested in the concept as he was.  However, on this day, having just pontificated on the value of the “add to each part of the problem” theory, I didn’t see that I could very well cut off Casper. “Go right ahead, Casper,” I said one pompous professor to another.

He proceeded to the front of the room and picked up the pointer.  Yes, he did, and he wrote a subtraction problem on the board, emphasizing the minus sign as he wrote.  He then drew a number line and labeled it with the numbers in his subtraction problem. At this point, he turned toward his students…I mean his classmates, and began his talk.  “Now, I have been subtracting for a long time. I think I have understood it, too. But I just made a very exciting discovery. It has to do with this dash. I had never realized that the minus sign between the two numbers could also be interpreted like the dash between two dates or two times of day.  Do you see what I’m saying?”

Crickets.  Mute crickets, even.  Crickets with blank stares.  Crickets with slack mandibles.

Casper, undaunted, or oblivious,  continued.  “No, really, this is quite exciting.  You see, when someone writes October 2014 to October 2015…” While he said this, he wrote out  “October 2014 – October 2015,” and then he kept explaining, “…what they are talking about is the time between those two dates.  You see, the dash here means there is space in between, OR you could say that it means ‘the distance apart’ for those two points. Now, what I have just realized is that in a subtraction problem, this symbol, which I thought was just a minus sign, could actually be that same kind of dash.  It means the same thing. It means that in between these two numbers is a distance or a space. The minus sign is a dash that shows there is a space between the two numbers. Your job,”  he paused dramatically,  “is to find out how much space there is between the two points.”

And with that, he dropped the pointer, clapped his hands together in that gesture of slapping off the chalk dust of ignorance, and strode back to his desk.  I am guessing that I am the only person in that classroom who has any memory of that moment. The crickets made barely a chirp, much less an “Ah ha!” or “Eureka!!”  I’m not even sure if I remember the moment for the profound discovery or just for the way Casper shared it.

I’m back at church, now, and I re-tune in time to hear that I should go out into the world in peace, and while I’m at it, I should make sure that I make good use of whatever small dash that I’ve been granted.  

Timing is Everything

Strange things were happening this morning.  Some were not so great, like finding that even though I had thought I was getting up pretty early for a Sunday morning, one of the dogs had apparently needed to go out earlier.  I don’t love dealing with that before breakfast.

My reason for getting up, though, was that I was ushering at church, and that led to a good strange happening.  After the service, I was loitering on the front steps of the church talking to someone I hadn’t seen in a while.  I knew I should be getting home, since I had a busy day ahead of me, but I was enjoying the chat.  Our kids had known each other in high school, they had traveled to India together with our church, and both are now living at home post-college.  Both are planning their futures, but also trying to save some money before spending a LOT on more school. That’s not the strange thing.

Here it is.

Just as we’re wrapping up the conversation, I see a woman walking up the steps.  Apparently I’ve talked so long that the people coming to the next service are already arriving.  This woman looks vaguely familiar, but I can’t place the face.  “Are you Peter?” she says. This is always awkward, when someone recognizes me and knows my name, but I can’t find theirs in the memory bank.  I’m pretty good with faces, and I’m told that I’m pretty good at remembering former students, but this is someone of my vintage, and I’m drawing a blank.

It turns out, that she’s more than willing to bail me out.  “I’m Julie. I went to high school with you. We saw each other two summers ago at DJ’s…and this is my husband–”

“–Vinny!”  I interrupt.  I’ve made the connection somewhere mid-introduction, and it is all fitting into place.  I remember Vinny because he had had us all rolling on the floor laughing at the story of when he first met Julie at a family gathering.  It involved meatballs, as I recall.

 Julie and I had grown up together in Maryland and actually had lots of mutual friends, but we had not really known each other.  Two summers ago, one of my high school friends had organized a mini reunion at the beach in Delaware, and I had seen people I hadn’t seen in decades.  Among the people were Julie and her husband, whose name I had heard, but whom I never met. They live on Long Island now.  This is not really the strange part.

So, at this moment on the steps of my church in Connecticut, I find myself saying something ridiculous, first.  “Wait, do you go to this church?”

“No, we still live on Long Island.”  Of course. I knew that. That would be strange, to  travel from Long Island to Connecticut for church.  Mentally I’m doing that Chris Farley head slap. “Stupid, stupid!”

“No,” she says, we’re here for my grand nephew’s baptism.”  I had been to the first service, and the baptism would be at the second service.  I remember seeing it in the program.  “As a matter of fact, my nephew is the one who lives really near you.”  This is the strange thing. When we were in Delaware, Julie had asked me where in Connecticut I lived, because she and Vinny visited sometimes.  When I told her the name of the town, she had laughed. “Oh my god, that’s the same town as my nephew. Where in town do you live?”

I had told her the general area, and she said that seemed kind of familiar.  She told me the name of the road her nephew lived on, and I had said that my street is right next to that road.  We proceeded to open Google maps and figure out that I live approximately 500 yards from her nephew.

That was two years ago, and of course, though I walked by with my dogs, occasionally trying to remember his name or his house number, we had never had any encounters.  This morning, finally, as he and his wife and their young family get out of their car, we approach with what we think is a terrific “small world” story.

“Brian, hi,”  says Julie.  “Do you remember two years ago when I told you I had seen one of my high school friends and that he lived really near you?”

Brian, perhaps with other things on his mind, like, maybe a baby who is about to be baptized in ten minutes, looks at her blankly.  “Uh…no.”

“Oh, well, I guess it wasn’t that amazing to you.”  Julie seems a bit deflated. “…well anyway, here’s your neighbor.  Apparently you also go to the same church.”

We shake hands and tell each other our house numbers.  It’s a little less earthshaking than anticipated.

Perhaps someday we will have more to talk about.  In any case, it was cool to see the people from my distant past stepping into my present world.  It seems my timing was better with humans than with dogs.

Attic Attractions

It’s Saturday morning. Sarah and I head to the attic to retrieve a set of playroom furniture that she’s giving to a co-worker who’s about to move into a new apartment with her toddler daughter.  She asks if I think it’s okay that she gives away the cupboard and stove/sink. Her grandmother gave them to her when she was little. “Do you think Mom’s gonna be okay with giving this away?”

“Honestly, I’m not sure.  I’m guessing Mom will say something like, ‘If you don’t think you want it for your kids in the future, then go ahead.’”

We decide that we’ll bring the pieces downstairs and see how Nancy feels when she gets home from work. Sarah’s sliding the cupboard out from behind the round table, the one with the Little Tikes chairs, when she decides to look inside. “Oh, wow, there’s a lot of stuff in here.”  

I peer over her shoulder and catch a glimpse of shelves full of play food and kitchen gadgets.“Oh, yeah.  I remember those ice cream cones.”  We slide the cabinet out to the center of the room.  Sarah sits down on the floor. “Ooh, I loved this,” I say, grabbing the cone and the scoop of ice cream.  I slowly twist the scoop onto the top of the plastic cone. Images pour back into my head, of Sarah and Emma and Nancy and me. We’re in the basement where the whole kitchen is set up, serving meals at the fake wood-grained table.  Nancy and I perch uncomfortably on the low plastic chairs, waiting to be served. The girls, in matching pjs work the kitchen, getting ready to serve breakfast.


“Oh my gosh, the frying pan.  Remember this?” Sarah pulls out a frying pan with a wheel on the handle.  She moves the wheel back and forth, and it makes a sizzling sound. So real.  Just then, she finds another frying pan. “Oh, this was the best!  Where’s the pancake?” Sarah holds a blue and red skillet with a button on the handle. The button controls a lever in the pan. We scan the shelves but can’t find the pancake.  Suddenly this is important to us. “I loved that pancake.”

I don’t find the pancake, but I do locate the syrup bottle.  I tilt the bottle, and a stream of syrup pours out. It’s actually a solid, not a liquid, but the pour effect is very realistic.  We ooh appreciatively, then continue our search. Sarah locates a slice of toast and drops it in the pan. Too heavy. “No, that won’t cut it,” she says.  We must find the pancake.

We discover a shopping bag loaded with food items, and dig in.  Sure enough the missing pancake is buried in the collection. Sarah pulls it out triumphantly.

Still fresh after 18 years.  

She plops it into the frying pan and presses the button.  The pancake flips perfectly from cooked to uncooked side. “Nice.”  We both marvel at the engineering miracle. So satisfying.

I reach back into the cabinet, having spied something important.  It’s the carrot with the three segments held together by Velcro. “Oh, I loved this!” I say, pulling it out.  I remember hours of food prep in the basement, slicing carrots, tomatoes, lemons on the real wood cutting board. Slicing, reattaching, slicing again.  I look over at Sarah. What is she thinking now? Is she remembering her sister? I am. Strangely, it doesn’t make me sad. Well, not until that moment.


“Where’s the knife?” Sarah asks, shuffling through the equipment on the bottom shelf.  “Here, we go. This is the one that goes with it.” She reaches over to me and wedges the knife into the carrot, ripping through the Velcro.  “This was important. Very good for the knife skills,” she says, slicing directly onto the palm of my hand.

“True, that was just the way you would want to do it in the kitchen. No danger there.”

“Oh man, look, it’s a Devil Dog.  That looks so good.” I reach toward the back of the top shelf for more food.  Staring at it, I’m amazed there aren’t teeth marks. The girls showed great restraint.  Now I spy another item. “Ohh, it’s a Ho-Ho. I loved those when I was little.”  I pick it up, turning it over in my hand, marveling at the realism. “Can you believe grandma used to buy me these for my school lunches?”

“Actually, no.  I really can’t picture that.”  Sarah imagines her health-conscious grandmother indulging the junk food cravings of her son.  I admit that it’s a hard image to conjure. Then again, any harder than conjuring the image of a middle-aged father and his 22-year-old daughter  sitting on the floor of the attic playing with toy foods and utensils? Perhaps not.

“These were so great,” I say, fixating on my own food memory.  “You know, you could bite the chocolate off the ends, and then, if you were really careful about it, you could peel off the whole chocolate icing layer and just have the devil’s food underneath.”

“That’s nice, Dad.”

“Yeah, good times.”

Sarah and I decide that we can’t part with the food and utensils.  I find a larger shopping bag, and we clear everything from the cupboard.

“It’s okay.  Julia won’t care. I think she just wanted the furniture, anyway.”

We carry the cabinet and stove/sink down to the living room. We shut the door to the attic behind us, for now anyway.

playroom furniture

Morning Walk

Every morning about 6:21, I take McGee out for a walk.  Okay, some days it’s 6:22. Both of us are creatures of habit.  Here’s how we go.

   I rise from the table. Time to gear up.  Not just the leash and the poop bag. I need coat, reflector vest, ski cap with built-in LED. Daylight Savings time interrupted our progress, hurled us back an hour into darkness.  

Exiting the garage, McGee takes the lead. We turn left, and I search the sky for Venus bright light in an otherwise empty sky.  Today the sky is overcast, but the smell of spring is strong, thawing soil and a fine mist. I drink in the air. The street deserted, the houses dark, we walk in the head lamp tunnel.  

My eye focuses on the horizon, gradients of deep blue, a pale strip at the horizon. The sun lies just beyond the edge.  “Another week,” I think to myself, “and I may not need my headlight.” In the dark, both lonely and romantic, a movie scene…almost, we cross streets, make turns. McGee checks each bush, hydrant, mailbox or rock, keen interest, though the smells must all be familiar. “Morning rituals, like me checking emails and blogs,” I think.  

Down the next street we see Dunkin’ lit in the distance, the highway bending behind it. Headlights, tail lights float across our screen. I try to tune out whining tires and rumbling engines. This is a nature walk, not a traffic preview. I glance up at the sky hoping for a break.

Another turn and we’re on a cut through from highway to Post Road, drivers accelerating like it’s a runway.  Hustling through this stretch, we’re climbing now, our only hill. Evergreen shadows and heavier breathing. I speed up, giving McGee an occasional yank, trying to raise the heartbeat. Cresting the hill we veer toward a downhill.  The shadiest portion, followed by a break in the trees. Where the sidewalk ends, I look up at the sky, realizing it’s lighter than when we left, the cusp of day, the cusp of spring. We turn toward home.

We’re Close

This evening I came home and Sarah and I had a fancy dinner of grilled cheese and tomato soup.  Nancy was at a meeting, and that was about the extent of my culinary energy tonight. Actually, there was almost no culinary energy expended, since Nancy had made the tomato soup on the weekend.  

During dinner, we discussed a variety of things, among them the fact that our neighbor was putting in a new fence.  It was a split rail, very nicely installed. I let the dogs out when McGee barked at me. He has a high-pitched bark. Some would call it shrill. Many would call annoying. Everyone would prefer not to hear it.  Sometimes McGee barks when he wants to go out. Other times he barks when he thinks Boo needs to go out. Either way, it works, because no one wants to hear him bark for too long. Tonight I let them out during dinner, because, as I mentioned, Sarah and I were trying to talk.  

Moments after I let him out, I heard him giving his “alarm” bark.  It’s  different from his “someone needs to go out” bark. This one sounds very much like there is an emergency, possibly that the world is about to end.  I dropped my grilled cheese in my soup and jumped up to get a first-hand look at the apocalypse. I discovered that it was not the apocalypse. Rather, as you might have guessed, it was my neighbor doing some work around his new fence.  However, the new fence doesn’t have any fencing between the split rails. It’s just air, and this meant that our neighbor’s dog, Izzy, a feisty terrier, could actually have her nose across the property line and onto McGee’s side of the fence.  McGee apparently found this unacceptable and activated the apocalypse button.

I opened the door and headed out to retrieve the dogs.  “Hey, sorry about the racket.”

“No worries, Peter. I know he’s more bark than bite.”

“The fence looks great,”  I said.

“Yeah, thanks.  I just thought we’d get a quick start on spring cleaning.”

“Well, today’s the first day.  You couldn’t get a much quicker start.”

“I’m just trying to get some of these roots cleared out. Some of them are small, but they’re really hard to dig up.”

“Yeah, just be careful,” I warned, “I’ve done some digging along that line in the spring, and I got some pretty bad poison ivy.  I think it was in the roots.”

“Oh great.  I’m not a fan of poison ivy.”

I realized that was a bit of a negative thing to say, but I do have rather unpleasant memories from some early gardening.  I came back in the house and closed the door behind McGee and Boo.

“What’s his name, again?” Sarah asked.  I think she noticed that he had said, “Hey, Peter,” and I’d said, “Hey.”

“Who?  Mr. Connor?”

“Yeah, what’s his first name?  I can’t remember.”

“Oh, uh, well it’s…”  And suddenly I couldn’t remember either.   Now, mind you, this is not a new neighbor. The Connors have lived next door for twelve years.  “Well, I know there’s Cathy, and I can name all the kids. There’s Patrick and Meredith and Zachary and Caroline.”  I think I thought if I could just roll out the other names, that Mr. C’s name would just spill out naturally. Nope.

“It’s not Dan, is it? Wait no, that’s across the street.”

“Actually down the street, too.  And down the street in the other direction.  Wow, three Dans.” [I include this part of the conversation to prove that I am not actually the worst neighbor in the entire world. I do actually know the names of some people on my street. However, I realize that I am still pretty low on the neighborliness list at this point.]

“Yeah, you still don’t have it do you, Dad?”

“No. But it’s not a senior moment, because you’re having it too.  I know it’s not a hard name.”

We started running through all the regular names that it could be.  John, Bill, Bob, Joe, Kevin, Rick. Nope. This was really embarrassing.  It had been a long winter of hibernating in our houses, but this was ridiculous.  “I know that if I just walk out there and start talking, I’ll just say it right off the bat.”

“But what if you don’t?”  Sarah made a good point. That could be very awkward.  I reached for my phone. “I’m just going to look it up.”


“I don’t know, just put in Connor and our street.”  

But just as I was about to type it in, it hit me.  “It’s Tom!”

“TOM!” Sarah shouted.  

“Shhhh!”  I was just as happy about the exciting retrieval moment, but a little concerned that Tom, still working on his fence,  might have just heard his name bellowed from our dining room.

After all, we’re really close neighbors.

The One that Got Away

Some days you’re just not in the right place at the right time.  My first clue was in  math, when I glanced at my watch, only to see that the time was 12:35. That’s right, the worst time to see on a digital clock. Sure, I could make it seem acceptable if I said it was 1 x 2 + 3 = 5, but we all know that’s a lame rationalization.  It’s no replacement for seeing 12:34, and I was one minute late (though, now that I think of it, I could have been one second late, even worse. Glad I thought of that!). As I said, that was just the prelude.

Tonight, I was doing the dishes when my wife and daughter got into a discussion about whether her car had hands-free phone capabilities.  My wife and I had both talked to Sarah many times while she was driving. We assumed her car, a 2012, had Bluetooth. Sarah said her car couldn’t do that.  We were surprised. “Oh, then I won’t call you when you’re driving anymore. I just assumed,” Nancy said.

“Nope.  I just answer and put you on speaker.”

Nancy then proceeded to look up Sarah’s car on line.  She’s good with the Google. She discovered that Sarah’s car did, in fact, have Bluetooth for phone and music.  She printed out the directions and headed for the door. “C’mon, let’s set it up,” she said.

“Right now? Geez.  What’s the rush?”

“No rush, but don’t you just want to get it done?”  Nancy is a woman of action.

So, while the woman-folk headed out to work on the car, this guy stayed in to wash the dishes.  We’re progressive.

There was a lot to clean, so it took a while.  As I labored through pasta pot, strainer, frying pan, Cuisinart attachments, baking sheet, and various utensils, I was becoming more concerned by the moment.  It’s not that I was worried about running out of dish soap or hot water. No, I was worried about the phone pairing and the pair of people doing the phone pairing.  In my mind, any kind of electronic pairing, syncing, or installing generates pretty close to the amount of enjoyment I get from untangling Christmas tree lights or making a Christmas tree stand up straight.  It seems to me that all of these activities are designed to create stress and invite outbursts.

By the time I finished the last of the dishes, I was genuinely worried.  At any moment, one or the other of the girls was going to come stomping into the house, cursing the iPhone, the Subaru, the world, or even worse, the other person.


No sooner had I stowed the sponge and wiped the counter, than Nancy stumbled into the house, doubled over,  either crying or laughing. She got out her phone, pressed a button, waited, and then started talking to Sarah in her car.  They were both giggling.

“Oh. My. God.  That was the funniest thing I think I’ve ever experienced!”

“What happened?”

“I can’t.  I think I’m gonna pee in my pants.”  She bolted upstairs. I hoped she made it in time.

When she returned, she still couldn’t stop laughing.  Sarah came in from the garage, and the two of them related the story.  I couldn’t help thinking that if I had been in the car, I would have had a really good story to write tonight.  

But I wasn’t.  Sorry.

And the truth is, the retelling was amusing, but it certainly qualified as a “had to be there” moment. All I can tell you is that it involved having to yell, “SARAH’S IPHONE!!”  and “PAIR PHONE!!” really forcefully because apparently Sarah’s car is a bit hard of hearing.

Isn’t it frustrating when you’re just waiting and waiting for a story, and then you get so close to something really great, but you realize you just missed it?

You’re welcome.