It’s funny how a seemingly insignificant incident can test all your priorities and how quickly a myriad of scenarios flash through your mind in the blink of an eye.
I went to the grocery store yesterday evening about an hour before they closed. My bill totalled $57 and some odd cents, so I wrote a check and handed it to the clerk. She seemed to have other things on her mind and the incessant chattering of the boy bagging the groceries did not help matters . . . I was actually getting a headache while waiting for the receipt, which she handed to me, along with the check I had just written and given to her.
My first thought was, “Oh, wow. . . a gift from the universe,” followed by “this will pay for a 30 pound bag of dog food.” Gradually, the image of Scarlet O’Hara declaring “I’ll never be hungry again! Not me or my folk. If I have to lie, cheat, steal or kill.”
Replace “folk” with dogs and you’ll understand how a passion can color everything you do. . . your psyche, your subconscious.
How far would I go for my dogs? Pretty far to give them what they need. I would forego that nice bottle of wine or settle for something less expensive. I’ll buy the store brand ice cream instead of my favorite Haagen Daz, or I’ll buy shoes and coats at the thrift store . . . amazing bargains there. I’ll hold off on buying a new recliner and just be more careful when I lower the footrest to make sure it doesn’t slam down on a dog underneath. I might even resort to using a firearm if someone wanted to eat one of my dogs.
As I looked at the young clerk, I guessed she probably had children and that when her cash didn’t match her sales, the difference would most likely be taken out of her pay.
I politely asked her, “Is there a reason you’re handing the check back to me?” For a minute she looked horrified. She rolled her eyes, snatched the check out my hand, shook her head and mumbled something while her back was turned to me . . . “thank you” was clearly not part of the mumble.
Experience has taught me that no matter what your cause, job or mission is, you have to be very clear about which lines you cross or not cross, because you don’t always have the luxury or time to analyze or foresee consequences.
As I walked out the door, I was glad that the principles my mother instilled in me had won. I knew that my dogs and I would be fine, because “tomorrow is another day” . . . another day to live well, in honor and dignity.