07 July 2011

Be not forgetful... Part One

Several years ago, Pete was out of town and suffered a gallbladder attack and had to have it removed. We were still living in Pittsburgh and I was shocked when a hospital in eastern Pennsylvania called me to tell me to get out there right away. After making arrangements for our dear cat, Omar, to have someone give him his insulin shots, I jumped in the car and drove that night to the eastern part of the state. I didn't have a GPS. But I found the hospital after a lot of phone calls to the police and the hospital.

His surgery went well, but his recovery was a bit tough and he had to continue his business in the eastern part of the state. I had no idea where to stay and asked that I be able to sleep in the chair in his room. It was quite complicated to make this arrangement, due to hospital regulations. Back here in the western part of the state, our hospitals are a bit different.

Once he was released, he went back to what he was doing and I was about to return home. Always fancying myself independent, I told him to go ahead, I'd be fine. Then I realized that I had no idea where my car was. It was eleven o'clock at night. And, I had no idea if the area was dangerous at night, and I really didn't want to be wandering around in enclosed parking lots and garages looking for my car. I had my ticket and asked several security guards for some guidance. My guidance consisted of a few shrugs and some finger pointing. As you can guess, I was still lost.

I saw two young women walking together and talking on their way to the hospital entrance. One was a very artfully-dressed African American woman and seemed to be a visitor. The other was a Caucasian woman who appeared to be a medical professional, as she was dressed in a white uniform. I asked them for directions, showing them my ticket. Both knew exactly where it was.

The uniformed woman said she would have walked me there, but she was late for work; that I could accompany her inside and she'd find someone to help me. The visitor put her arm around my shoulders and told the other woman to look at us closely. If it were to be announced on the news that one of us disappeared, she would then know who had caused the incident. We all laughed. I went with her.

I thought the two women knew each other, but they did not.

The visitor walked me to her car, which appeared to be like a traveling temple of sorts, full of fascinating milagros and spirit dolls, incense and lots of blankets, bottles and other odd things. She then decided to smoke some marijuana and offered me some, which I politely declined. I now assumed that I'd never see Pittsburgh, or my loved ones again.

She drove me to my parking lot, reached over and hugged me, insisted on giving me $20 for my parking, and said, "your life will be fine, don't worry." She waited until I opened my car and honked the horn. She waved, returned to the driver's seat and drove off - away from the hospital. I have no idea of her name.

I was much more reckless in my youth, but anyone who knows me now would be shocked at the prospect of my getting into a stranger's car.

Why was she there in the first place? I suppose it was for me.

I have always believed in Guardian Angels, ever since my first grade nun told me that if I was good enough, my Guardian Angel would come down from heaven and do my homework in golden ink. I was never good enough, I guess, until I left eastern Pennsylvania that night.

This wonderful movie, Grand Canyon, is all about the same types of encounters. I watch it whenever I can. Danny Glover, Mary McDonnell, Kevin Kline and Steve Martin are exceptional. Maybe you'll like it, too.

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