We Need One
Off the Wall, August 3, 2017

Did you ever plan on taking a trip, getting a letter in the mail from a friend or even meet with someone to go someplace and the plans or thing didn’t arrive? I think it has happened to us all. We have our minds and hearts set on that certain something. What results is certainly disappointment, frustration and in some cases, deep depression.

Does that sound familiar?

Humans are gregarious beings, created in such a way that, for the most part, they have that inner need to bond with others in marriage, fellowshipping and doing things together. So when someone pulls the rug from under us, we, generally speaking, are not prepared.

I remember some 60 years ago, a classmate, Richard Noshowber, agreed to take me fishing (yes, I began my interest in the sport around that time period) one early Saturday morning. He told he would pick me up at a certain time and be looking out for him. So, I stood at the living room window fifteen minutes ahead of time. That is a customary practice to this day.

Guess what? “Rich,” as he was known throughout the school, failed to show up on time. I just figured since he lived across town, maybe he got delayed somehow. Ten minutes, one-half hour, and one whole hour passed, no Richard. I still had some hope.

But it was all for nil. When I finally asked him by telephone or in person, he told me he had changed his mind and decided not to go after all. Without so much as giving me a call, he decided to consider his selfish desires without ever considering how I must have felt. Everything I did plan for went down the tubes. I felt as though I were left on an island all by myself and everyone else had gone. Needless to say, I was heartbroken.

Over the years, many bummers have popped up least when I expected them. One that comes to mind right away was a girl I dated in Ohio. Zelda had asked me if I could drive her some fifty miles away to Columbus. I told her we’d definitely make plans to make the trip. She contacted her mother and the word was ‘go.’

I picked her up at her residence and we made haste to motor down to the big city where ‘mom’ was expecting our arrival. We arrived safe and sound and had a nice visit together. After a few hours, we said our good-byes and returned to our small industrial town.

We enjoyed each other’s company I presumed as she shared stories about family, where she went to school and the usual this and that that people chat about while traveling along the highways.
Sometime later, we finally arrived back at our places of residences. Here is where things got a little weird. No sooner did I park the car did she quickly gather her things, thank me for my trouble, but opened the car door, slid off the seat, climbed out and pushed the door shut with back side. Instead of heading toward her residence that would have been the normal procedure, she climbed into a car behind mine where a male driver was waiting. My girlfriend departed and the two sped off.

Needless to say, I was stunned. I sat there for a while, then decided to turn around and head home. I knew I had a full day of work ahead of me and was looking forward to it. As for Zelda, we still had a congenial relationship as I saw her now and then.

Finally, I had encountered a good friend of mine recently while walking downtown. Let’s plan to get together Wednesday at his place. So, I tackled all the work I had to do ahead of time to make time to see him. When the day arrived, I called to tell him I was leaving. His wife answered and told me in no uncertain words, “I’m sorry, Paul, but he’s too busy to see you today. Blow my mind! What the hay???

Letdown is all something none of us like or look forward to. But it does serve a purpose in not only making us stronger but creating backup plans that we can turn to when things like this happen.

Do something special. Read a book, write a letter to a friend or turn to a craft. Always have a backup plan. It will come in handy!

- Paul J. Volkmann
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