I pressed lightly on the gas. The trailer hitched to my SUV inched backward. After a few feet, it became apparent that the trailer was veering too close to the house. Fighting the impulse to crank the steering wheel in the direction I wanted the trailer to go, I cranked it in the opposite direction. Overdoing the wheel turning, the trailer went the direction I wanted, but too much. It quickly jackknifed.
Grunting with disgust, I slammed on the brakes and eased forward. With the car and trailer straightened, I tried once again to back the trailer towards the coal chute. After much rocking back and forth, I finally placed my trailer, loaded with six tons of wood pellets close enough to the chute.
Getting out of the car I mentally prepared myself for the job ahead. Fortunately, many years before, my late husband had installed a coal chute in place of a basement window to make it easier to throw winter fuel into our basement. It was hard work throwing 300 forty-pound wood pellet bags into the basement, but I’d done it before.
Slowly and steadily I worked, tossing the heavy bags into the chute. When the pile of bags in the basement grew too large for more, I went to the basement to stack them on pallets along the walls. After a few hours all six tons were in the basement. The only help I needed was stacking the last two or three tons.
All my life I’ve taken it for granted that I could do things like tossing six tons of wood pellet bags into a basement and stacking half of them without even feeling sore the following day. I felt capable and fit.
At every age and stage of life we have jobs to accomplish. Our perception of how well we do the jobs is important. Success and a sense of well-being helps us do well in the next stage to be faced.
Playing with toys, climbing trees, riding bikes is the work of childhood. I think I did well in this stage.
Going to school was interesting. I understood the big picture but acknowledge that I often missed many of the finer points. Overall school was a good experience.
Teenagers fall in love. I aced that lifetime job.
But as a young adult, marrying and starting a family, I ran into bigger challenges. My husband and I had a baby die and another born with birth defects. Since I survived the experience without feeling angry and resentful, I feel as if I have won the lottery, taking joy in my blessings.
When I struggled to back a trailer loaded with wood pellets up alongside the house was in my early widowhood years, the stge and age of living without Arnie had begun. Some of the jobs I did then were difficult, but I knew what to do and did it.
The age and stage I’m at right now, are rife with achy, malfunctioning joints. I recently had a knee joint replacement surgery. It was done at the clinic in the morning and I was sent home in the afternoon. My daughter Tammie came to stay to help me after the surgery.
A cot in the corner of the living room was my bed until I felt up to climbing the stairway to my bedroom. Tammie had strategically placed everything I’d need within reach.
But waking after my daughter had gone to bed, I realized I needed to go to the bathroom. Sliding my legs off the cot, I sat up. A nerve block administered at the time of surgery left my leg behaving like a wet noodle. The nurse had given me a leg brace to wear so the leg wouldn’t buckle. I pulled the brace out from under the cot and strapped it on over bulky surgical dressings.
Pushing myself up with my arms and good leg, I grasped the walker parked next to the cot. A thrill of amazement that I was able to do this by myself, seemed to relieve some of the pain. What I was doing was hard, but I knew what had to be done, and I was doing it.