Saturday, March 18, 2023

Strange Places by Liz Flaherty

 "It's not my job to be mad at you." 

The quote above came from "Ask Amy," an advice column in the Chicago Tribune. It was totally unrelated to anything in my life. It was also just about the coolest thing I've read in a long time. 

I was going to write the column on that, but I'm not going to bother, just as I'm not going to be mad at people whose opinions and actions I can't do anything about. It's pointless and it's not my job. 

Instead, I'm going to smile and wave when I see you, open the door for you if your hands are full, walk away rather than feel compelled to say the words "...yes, but..." and use my turn signals when I drive. You can be mad if you want to.

I'm at a strange place with the Window Over the Sink right now. And, wouldn't you know it? Just saying the words strange place made me think of some and be amazed at how many there are in our lives.

The day I walked into first grade at Gilead, I was on my own for probably the first time in my life. My sister was grown and married, my brothers were all in their big kid classes, and my mom--who was always there...well, she wasn't. I'm sure I knew some of my classmates, but I don't remember it if I did. It was a very strange place. 

Six years later, I walked into the high school. I went from riding the bus for 10 minutes to riding it for 50. Based on places I'd been and seen, the whole experience was huge. It had clickety-click tile floors instead of warm, creaking wooden ones, plenty of restrooms, and a wonderful round library. And it was never, never warm. We had three or four minutes to get from one class to another, no matter what hall it was in, and sometimes we made it. It didn't take long to get used to, but it was strange.

At not-quite-21, we got married and shared personal space and pooled our financial resources (which we used to say boiled down to being his car and two cartons of redeemable soda bottles). It was fun and exciting, and...for a while...kind of odd, too. There have been many times of strangeness over 51 years, too. Tearing down, rebuilding, rebuilding...

When I had kids and found out "to the moon and back" wasn't in any way an exaggeration and that I was going to be scared every single day of my life that something would happen to one of them, or to the ones they married, or to their kids, that was strange. Natural, but who knew you could actually love that much?

After I retired and didn't have to get up and go to work, I was shocked at how much fun it was. I mean, I still "go to work" because my office isn't in the house, but I go when I want to and I don't have to get dressed or warm up the car.

Last night, as we drove home from Logansport, the western sky was all dark clouds and a horizon the color of fire. Not angry fire, but warming, lighting the way to the end of the day. It was strange and so very beautiful.

Have a good week. Don't be mad--be nice to somebody. 

The Business of the Week is me. On Wednesday, March 22, I'll be talking at the library in Walton at 8:00 AM. There'll be coffee and company and conversation about writing and other strange things. I'd love to see you there!


  1. Strange places, indeed. Isn't it funny how each new strange place usually becomes a comfortable one eventually. Moving was like that for me--and now, this is home. Great article!

    1. They do, don't they, leaving us scarred in the process! Lol.

  2. Love your observations. Must be spring being a time of renewal. I've been in a reflective mood too! Keep up the great columns.