Not quite the Bridges of Madison County

28 Aug

Last week, the transmission on the Jeep decided to take a hike.  Actually, it began to disintegrate.  At least, that’s what the mechanic said.  Both of them.  As blessings (not luck) would have it, I have a golf cart to use to get around.  Living in The Villages, one can get to anything in a golf cart.  You do NOT know how much of a blessing that is UNTIL you are without gasoline fueled transportation.

I can’t get to the Post Office, at least, not to the one where my PO Box is…but other than that, except for trips to Leesburg or Tampa, I’m good.

But…I digress.  As usual.

It was just 4 months ago…I became a Villager.  I joined the golf cart bunch and took out on my very first solo golf cart ride.  Hard to believe so much life has been lived in such a short time.

Yes, another 4 months have gone by…and, the blessings continue.  As do the trials and tribulations.  The huge bruise on my thigh is diminishing, the hard lump, a hematoma is what the lady at the Blood Bank told me it was, is also shrinking.  The 1/4 inch thick glass dining room table top is a memory, but the knowledge that I survived, practically unscathed, after landing on top of the breaking pieces, as they were also falling, and bouncing, as they hit the concrete and shattered…a miracle to be sure.

A few days ago, I was searching on the web for a possible car to replace the Jeep, even if I am able to bring the Mustang down, who knows how long it will run without needing repair.  Both vehicles are gas guzzlers…at some point, perhaps a fuel efficient car might be called for…  Anyway, while searching for a vehicle…I found an ad for a $25 GLASS TABLE TOP!!   Not the dining room table size, but a 4 ft x 4 ft size, easier to move, I learned today!   There is a wonderful, 60 year married, couple who are enjoying that table top tonight.  Courtesy of which is where I found it.  No one is asking me, but in my mind, another miracle, find that table top…

Every night I read a passage from the Bible.   I just open and read whatever is there.  Tonight, I had just finished thinking that I wasn’t sure what to believe, and other things along those lines.  I mean, besides the miracles and blessings I speak about in these posts, there are those who would say “it’s just luck” or some such sentiment.

I opened to Daniel, the chapter about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego…and the fiery furnace.  I read what I had learned as a small child, how they were cast into the furnace bound, but were soon seen to be walking, no longer bound, and seemingly not harmed by the flames raging around them.  Could the text actually be God speaking to me?

Depends on who you ask.

We don’t hear those kinds of miracle stories these days, the Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego kind of stories, unless you consider those  kinds of times when someone is pulled out of some sort of wreckage, alive,  after days without food or water.   When the full weight of that glass table top shifted onto my thigh, and when I fell forward as the table slipped from the edge of the tailgate of the truck, I fell right into and onto the breaking glass.   I experienced the bruising where the edge of the table hit my thighs and then “bounced” down towards my knees…I had some cuts on my right leg, my right hand and my right thigh, even cut through the pair of shorts I was wearing.  I had soreness in all those areas the following days…but it was the reality of what didn’t happen, and what could have happened…that is why I am reading the Bible.  Just one of the reasons.

There is the “darkness”…and there is the “light”.  For me, the light  is riding through the first underground tunnel in a golf cart on the way to Lake Sumter Landing.   Prior to that glorious experience (you had to be there!), I had heard from someone that the gas fumes in the tunnels are awful, just awful.   I may hold my breath from one end to the other, but that is just part of the joy, and freedom, of life in a golf cart community.

It’s been nearly 6 weeks or so perhaps, when someone in front of me experienced the very same tunnel for the first time…there is a dip as one approaches the tunnels and the cart can gain speed if you don’t account for the dip.  There were two people in the cart, and to be honest, I wondered what the heck they were doing…I didn’t learn until the end of the second tunnel that it was their first time.  They told me, as they stopped golf cart traffic to make a u-turn, after they learned that there was no Publix shopping center on that side of  Highway 466.  The reason I’m talking about them at all, though, was the fact that as they raced towards the entrance of the tunnel, turned sharply so as not to drive straight into the wall in front of them, and then all the way through the tunnel, they both shrieked at the top of their lungs, similar to what you would hear at 6 Flags Over Georgia (or Texas, or wherever that other 6 Flags is).

I didn’t shriek my first time though, not out loud anyway.

And EVERY TIME, every time, I get into that cart, and listen to the “beep, beep, beep” as I back out of the garage and down the driveway…I am grateful.   Every time.

There have been a lot of dark nights of the soul, even in the 4 months I’ve lived in heaven.  And, just yesterday, I heard very sad and hard to listen to stories, of friends and friends of friends, who are going through really rough times.

I realized, for now, I am living in a wonderland.  A beautiful home, on a beautiful and natural preserve, WITH A GOLF CART!   There hasn’t been time to go to the squares as much as I’d like, but every night there is live entertainment IF I had the free time to go.  And, the SPIRIT of The Villages is all around me.  The friendly, smiling faces of the neighbors who pass by the house where I am blessed to be able to live.  The owls which fly at dusk.  The gators growing up in front of my eyes.

All of it.

A fumes filled tunnel, or a fumes free tunnel, not quite what you would consider to evoke nostalgic memories…not quite the Bridges of Madison County, but a wonderful memory I’ll always cherish.  Heck, I cherish it today.

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