One of the more useful lessons to be gleaned from life is that while we can't always control what happens to us, we have definitive control over our reactions. What could have been a glum and tedious existence in the aftermath of a collision with a deer, spending what has amounted to two weeks (over the course of a month and a half) unable to drive (meaning unable to earn an income), became an opportunity to form friendships.
Friday became Ricochet Day in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, as I met one of our members for lunch and yet another for dinner. Liberty Squire promised to meet me for lunch that day at noon, and he was as good as his word. I spoke with one of the managers at Cracker Barrel and explained that if she saw two guys with goatees wandering around aimlessly, they would be looking for each other and unsure what the other person would look like. She promised to kindly intervene lest we spend the entire lunch hour bumping into the merchandise in the gift shop. But my worries were unfounded, of course, and we had a grand time of things over lunch.
I hope Liberty Squire won't mind my mentioning that he is a lawyer, a financial adviser, and a church treasurer. He must dream of numbers, which would surely be a nightmare for me. He is a delightful gentleman and truly one of the good guys. During the course of a very interesting conversation, I explained that my first correspondence with our Peter Robinson centered on an interview Peter had done with Justice Scalia, wherein Scalia expressed his preference for "Original Understanding," as opposed to "Original Intent," in judicial philosophy. Liberty Squire was kind enough to reinforce my admittedly shaky understanding of the distinction, and the most delightful thing was that, despite his obvious expertise on the subject, he took what seemed to be complex ideas and spoke to their essence in understandable English. That, to me at least, is an art and I appreciated it very much.
The food was wonderful, of course, and the conversation engaging. I've yet to have an unpleasant encounter with a Ricochet member, nor have I had a unpleasant meal at Cracker Barrel, so it was a treat all the way around. The weatherman had predicted snow, but there weren't enough flakes flying about to even make for a good dandruff flair-up, so Liberty Squire was able to make a safe retreat back to work and I walked back to the hotel with nary a problem.
Friday evening I received a text message saying, "I'm in the Lobby." Now, while that could have made for great suspense in a horror movie, for me it was the happy news that our member Wordcooper had dropped by for dinner. He was kind enough to give me a ride downtown to the Market Cross Pub and Brewery, and I was amazed as always to see the narrow little streets and alleys in the old part of town. I never see these places from the cab of an 18 wheeler, so they are as alien to me as the concept of government-run health care, but a great deal more appealing. The little alley, or street, or path, or whatever it was that we drove down to find parking was only wide enough to accommodate one car at a time, though it ostensibly provided for two-way traffic.
The restaurant had the appeal and atmosphere of an English pub and was quite popular with the locals. Fortunately, we had reservations and so were seated straight away. As it turns out, Wordcooper has three young children, I believe, and I told him of my sister's approach to raising three kids who are close in age. When I told Sis that three kids almost becomes an issue of crowd control, she shrugged and said that she lets them work out their issues between themselves, as opposed to running in and trying to adjudicate every piddling little problem. "No blood, no foul," she said.
Wordcooper agreed, and talked about how having children of your own can alter your perspective. On the issue of gun ownership, for example, he said that he had been reluctant to purchase a firearm years ago because he was unsure if he could actually pull the trigger and take a life when the moment of truth arrived. Of course, he who hesitates loses, so it seemed his concerns were quite understandable. But, he said, when his children came into the world, the protective instinct of the parent overruled his reticence so that he knew without doubt what he would do to anyone who threatened his children. Again, perfectly understandable and admirable. We had an interesting exchange on what type of firearms serve what purpose, comparing shooting experiences and the sort of weapons we prefer. The refreshments were good, the food tasty, and we only wished that more Ricoshots could have shared the experience with us.
On the way out of the restaurant, Wordcooper thought to have a photo taken of our little gathering, which was a wonderful idea and one that completely escaped me earlier in the day when I had visited with Liberty Squire. But the gentleman who had seated us was happy to document the occasion, using both of our camera-phones for good measure. It was a splendid evening.
It has been my happy fortune to meet some great people who are not associated with Ricochet (yet) as well. Take the delightful couple I met for dinner last night, for example. Sarah works the desk at the hotel where I've been doing time while waiting on my chariot, and her better half, Jay, is a professional driver as well. Unhappily, they were both involved in an accident several weeks ago (they were rear-ended while at a stop sign), and they are still undergoing medical treatment. Jay sustained neck injuries that left him unable to work, and Sarah sustained back injuries that necessitate regular treatment. He's from New York City and she's from Pennsylvania, and they are hilarious together. Between their banter and my Cajun jokes, we kept at least one half of Chili's pretty well entertained last night.
If all goes well, I'll be back on the road tomorrow, though I'm tempted to find another deer so I can spend a little more time in the happy company of these very agreeable people. Of course, I won't do that. But I will miss their good-natured camaraderie and will look forward to seeing them all again one day. Meanwhile, the road calls and I shouldn't keep it waiting too long. There are adventures to be had. And a little income wouldn't be a bad idea either.