Yesterday afternoon I mowed the lawn. It was a cool fall day, colorful leaves decorating the ground, crispness in the air. My mind wandered…
It’s late fall, 1979. I’m sitting between my parents in the cab of a small U-Haul truck with everything we own; our car is in tow. This is day three of a move from South Dakota to Arizona. With no money, and no job, Dad is betting on a new start in Phoenix… 1200 miles from the only town I’d ever known… in the middle of my junior year of high school.
We’re silent. Staring at the road ahead. Tired. Minds wandering — for me, it’s mostly sadness… and fear. Mom’s done this before (and would do it again — moving with Dad to 43 homes in 42 years of marriage before she passed).
10:00pm approaches. The highway is empty and cold… and so are we. At the intersection of I-25 and I-10 sits Las Cruces, NM… and we find ourselves at a Chevron station to refuel. Mom and I walk, stretching our legs, hungry. Once inside, we find single-serve cans of Dinty Moore Beef Stew on a heating rack. Mom digs in her purse and finds enough change for two cans. We stand outside, cradling the warm cans in our hands, nibbling off of our plastic spoons. No words needed… eyebrow raises, satisfied grins. I can taste the saltiness to this day, the soft texture of the potatoes and crumbling cubes of beef. Amazing.
Mom taught me to be present and enjoy the nicest moments, inside the most difficult times. I think that’s where her resilience found its footing.
Bad days are real. They create stories in our heads. Some have valuable lessons, others are mostly noise. Living by her example, embracing moments of joy along the way, the stories in my head have some balance. There was a lot of “bad” experiences in our move to Phoenix… none of which I can change nor affect my ability to do good today… so I choose to simply enjoy the Dinty Moore moment.
As the weather gets colder and holiday season approaches, a lot of people will be looking for a little warmth. It may be the person next to you at work, at church, or in the coffee shop. Take time to notice… and share the goodness in your life. And if that isn’t specific enough, try this: next time you grab groceries, grab a can or two of Dinty Moore and when canned food drives start you’ll be ready… we’re all in this together!
See Awesome… and keep Believing in Better!