Sun Lakes Writers’ Group – March 2015

New Year’s Day on the Metro Light Rail

Gina Witcraft

It seemed like a good idea at the time but, by the end of the day I knew I should have had second and third thoughts.

The plan was to drive up to the end of the line at Dobson and Main in Mesa, catch the Light Rail to Washington and Twelfth Avenues. Have lunch at a Jazz/blues club that belongs to a black lady friend of mine and then ride back to the starting point. I had hears so much about it and we thought it would be a nice, fun way to start the New Year.

We got to the station just fine and parked the car across from the two rail cars ready to start off. So, since Don is a little slow I had him sit on a bench while I went to the end of the platform to get the passes from an automated ticket box. The fare was three-fifty for round trip tickets for two and I had the change in quarters but thought the train might leave if I had to plug the box that long. First mistake. I put a twenty in thinking it would give back paper change but it spewed out sixteen one dollar coins and two quarters. It sounded like I hit the jackpot at Wild Horse Casino but I did the next best thing and scooped all the coins into my purse.

I turned and looked down the platform which had been filled with people and saw no one, not even Don. Panic set in as Don has beginning dementia. I looked over at the parking lot and ran up and down the platform for fear that he might have fallen into the rails. No Don. He had to be on the train but since he has a memory problem I also feared he might not know to get off at Twelfth Street. Since both trains had left I had to wait twenty minutes for the next one to come.

Twenty minutes later, with a very severe case of acid reflux, I entered the next train but it was packed. There was no place to sit except next to a very large black man who occupied his seat and half of the one next to him. By this time I really needed to sit down and was glad to sit on one cheek. I was riding backwards and in the front of the train so I could see all the way down the three sections of this caterpillar looking thingamajig. I was the best dressed one and I was in sweats, had no tattoos, so felt just a little out of place. We are so insulated here in Sun Lakes that we don’t realize how very depressing many people live. However, I took in the whole vista and noticed lots of bikes hanging and sitting all around, many strollers, a couple of bag people. The only things missing were a crate of chickens and a goat, but still no Don.

The old black gentleman next to me had no teeth so I could only understand about every fifth word. I nodded a lot and wondered what I was agreeing to. But, he lived on Central Ave., had eleven kids and was originally from Okarche, Oklahoma, so I had a home town friend. I asked him and several people around me if they had seen a tall, elderly gentleman with a maroon argyle sweater. No luck.

Big John said for me not to worry, that he would get me off at the right station and also, not to worry about the three gang-bangers behind us who were acting up. He’d take care of them with his cane! I had visions of being in the middle of a riot but, bless be, it didn’t happen.

When we pulled into the Twelfth Street Station everyone around me yelled, “Thee he is.” And sure enough, there he was! I shook hands and thanked Big John for his help. Jumped off the train, ran up to Don and kissed him while muttering a few ill chosen words. He, matter-of-factly, said, “I thought you’d know that I was on the train.”

We had a terrible lunch at Bobbie’s, got on the Metro back to our car and, thankfully, back home for a very eventful New Year beginning.

My New Year’s resolution – never get on the Metro Light Rail with Don again. v

Pros and Cons of Details

Bernice Kantrowitz

Don’t let anyone tell you that details aren’t important. I have learned to appreciate details. I think they make it easier to be understood when I am mindful of them. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, I’m convinced it’s the little things that count. Details are important when I want to be understood, not misunderstood, when I’m speaking to someone. So it could be as simple as a smile, paying a compliment, opening the door for a stranger or the clothes you are wearing. Details matter. If they are honest and reliable they create a picture in the other person’s mind and can help explain the idea I am trying to convey. Details are important when you are telling or writing a story you can’t have too many details.

Then there is another situation where you should be aware of details. When it comes to buying a car or selling a house there is no time to digest all of the precise language involved in the process. Hopefully you will have someone who is knowledgeable in that area to protect you from adversity. One thing that everyone should know is that anything not spelled out in writing will be ignored. It’s the details that are going to make it a good thing or a headache. The bad thing is that if it isn’t written down it may come back to haunt you.

I just don’t wish to get bogged down with the details. I’m a foodie. When I grocery shop I spend too much time trying to figure out the details of the food I’m buying. I spend too much time thinking about food and shopping for food. I also spend too much time eating. In addition to three meals a day, I eat popcorn when I watch television. I eat chocolate when I’m happy and when I’m depressed I have a glass of wine. I even eat when I can’t sleep at night. Then I eat bananas or apples. I wonder, “is that too many details?”

When grocery shopping I always try to play it safe so I always look at the details on the packages of food. Such as whether it can be microwaved or baked in the oven. Then I pay particular attention to the ingredients before I purchase something new. The law requires all ingredients to be listed on the package. Since these are listed in small print I waste a lot of time trying to figure them out. This is very time consuming because first I have to put on my glasses in order to see them then I try to figure out what they are. Most of the time there are so many ingredients that I can’t pronounce and I don’t have a clue as to what they are and whether they are good or bad for me. Will this make me fat, be bad for my heart or contribute to diabetes? Or even make something in my body dysfunction. A person has to be careful.

But I’m not alone when trying to make sense of the ingredients on packages of food. I notice that more people are picking up boxes and puzzling over the fine print. It’s a good sign that people are becoming more aware. They are taking advantage of the ingredients listed on the packages that they consider purchasing. Even though, like me, they are not always certain what they are and the effect they have on their health. I just hope that all of that time and effort I put into this endeavor isn’t wasted and that it does make me healthier.

Between reading the details in small print and deciding what to purchase, I waste a lot of time. As a result I’m spending too much time at the grocery store. This must be true because just the other day the man checking me out said to me, “You know, I see you more than I see my wife.” That proves my point.

Truthfully, there are pros and cons to details. If you don’t have enough details then that may leave others wondering what you were talking about. On the other hand, if you use too many details it can make the conversation long and boring and you aren’t getting your idea through to the other person. But when you get the details just right, you will be a better communicator, you may be healthier and you may live longer. And that makes you a winner. v

The Break-In

Ellie Clark

As I turned to walk back into my house I could hear Willie Nelson wailing about his Blue Eyes. My husband had just driven away in his brand new pick-up, headed for our country place, to do some painting, and he had popped the tape in as he drove off. As I turned the knob my heart fell to my feet as I realized the door was locked. There I was clad only in underwear and a robe and due at a meeting of the Fire District in two hours. How was I going to get into my house? Call the Fire Department? No way. That is the last place I would call.

Let me tell you why. I was a member of the Board of Directors of the Fire District and one of my pet peeves was that they rolled out the big fire engines to let careless people into their homes. This was an extremely costly function and I felt they should find another solution. How could I call them to let me in.

It suddenly occurred to me that I could call my friend the Police Chief and surely he could help me get in. Well, over he came and he understood why I didn’t want to call the Fire Dept. First we tried the front door. Impossible. Then we checked all the windows. We then went into the backyard and tried to pry open the slider. We could not. Suddenly the Chief started to laugh. He said maybe I should have told someone at the station what I was doing. Wouldn’t it be awful if someone saw us and called the cops. It was funny and we giggled at that. We decided to try the windows again and I got lucky. Somehow we were able to pry the window open and my friend John proceeded to climb in.

I write this story about a part of my life as I’m sure there are not too many people who could say a Policy Chief helped them break into a house.