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Rolling With the Punches

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Mind Your Own Business

I’m fairly certain that a year or so ago I would have gone ballistic if I had discovered someone had jacked up my car and stolen all the wheels.Evidently I’ve changed, because about two weeks ago, during my stay in England, I got a call from Francistown to tell me that was exactly what had happened to my ancient Mazda, and I am quite pleased to inform you that the news didn’t even come close to sending the new me into orbit.  I even felt a little bit grateful when I learned the thieves had been considerate enough to screw the wheel nuts back onto the studs so they wouldn’t get lost. Odd, I agree, but the thing is I’ve had some much bigger problems and I’ve had some incredible luck lately on much more important matters so it was quite easy for me to keep focused on the big picture and appreciate the positive things in my life.  It seems if I can manage to keep calm through the rough patches, things work out the way they are supposed to…even if that doesn’t always seem like ‘for the best’ at the time. Not the typical MYOB, I know, but don’t worry, I have plenty of moans from my time in Europe to share with you in future columns; but for today I want to look on the bright side of life and tell you about how what looked like a serious inconvenience turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Last year, before my wife passed away, my sister-in-law booked my two daughters on a nine-day European ski trip during the Easter holidays.  The idea was for my youngest to travel on her own to the UK to spend some quality time with big sister who is doing her A-levels there while I stayed in Francistown with Lesley.  When Les died, however, I decided the current school holidays would be the right time to take her ashes back to Britain for a memorial ceremony and to lay them to rest next to her mother’s grave in Wales.
Once that decision was made the ski trip created major scheduling problems and I eventually decided to take Maggie out of school two weeks before the end of term so we could hold the memorial on Les’s birthday.  To be perfectly honest, missing two weeks of school wasn’t a great hardship for Mags, or for me, and she was really looking forward to skiing with her sister.  The big problem was that my eldest daughter had left for school in England four days before her mother died so understandably she just wanted to spend time with her family while we were in the same country… but she knew Maggie wanted to ski and that she wouldn’t go on the trip by herself if Tess pulled out.
Anyway, here’s what happened: Les’s birthday, April 5th, turned out to be the Easter Monday bank holiday so the workers among the 50 friends and relatives who attended the ceremony had the day off; Tess set off on her ski trip with very little enthusiasm but had a reasonably good time and made several new friends, and she and Maggie had a great time together and created some life-long memories; I got loads of living-in-the-UK related work accomplished during the girls’ absence and my mother, brother and sisters who had come over to attend Les’s memorial flew back to the States the day before the Icelandic volcanic ash closed down European air space for a week.
That last point brings us to the blessing in disguise.  You see, if the girls hadn’t been booked on the ski trip, Maggie and I would have been scheduled to fly on one of those volcanic ash cancelled flights to Europe and who knows when we would have got seats on another plane.  That could have meant Tess, Maggie and I would have had zero days together instead of 15, Les’s ashes might have still been on the mantle in Monarch, the memorial would have been indefinitely postponed, I wouldn’t have got anything sorted out in England; the inconvenience would have cost me quite a bit more than the price of four 13-inch tyres and wheels; and the girls still wouldn’t know how to ski.