Off the Wall, September 7, 2017

There isn’t a time that doesn’t go by that when calling one’s doctor for an appointment, the nurse or the reception doesn’t ask one for their date of birth (DOB). Of course, that’s just one of many facts that have to be known before the actual booking process actually goes into place.

It doesn’t always have to refer to a physician’s office. Often when a person is pulled over by a state patrolman, the line of questioning will include, name, ‘DOB’, address, where one is coming from and where one is going.

Some people may refer to those three letters as standing for a way of keeping positive by stating, “doing our best.” Every person who takes his profession seriously hopefully will, without doubt, do one’s best, and so it is and that’s that.

Let me bring to your attention the Brenklehams, Fred and Martha. Throughout their thirty-nine years of marriage, the two of them tried very hard to have a baby boy. I guess it wasn’t to be. Their relationship resulted in bearing nine daughters. Rightfully, they, they could be called ‘Daughters of Brenklehams.’

Many people will look at the expiration date of their favorite commodities before making their investments. I have known certain individuals who will not buy their favorite flavors of loaves because they are ‘day old bread.’

But, still, let’s put another twist on those initials and have it mean something very special. I like to think those three letters stand for ‘Day of Blessings. So when I set out to go somewhere, I like to think all the positives that happen in my journey during the course of that day will certainly be blessings whether they be large or small ones.

About two or three weeks ago, I decided to go downtown to see if I could find a certain product I was looking for to envelope some pictures I was giving to a friend. As I got down in front of Holy Family Church, a woman stopped and parked her car. Getting out and walking around to the curb and then stepping on the sidewalk, I decided to tease her a bit even though I didn’t know her. “Mam,” I stated, you still have some of your car parked along the yellow line. “Do you think I can get away with that?” she said. And that started us off both with a wonderful conversation that lasted a good fifteen minutes.

And then as she was heading up the stairs, she turned and said, “Thanks for talking to me.” I wasn’t looking for a blessing, but I sure got one.

Two blocks closer to downtown, I met up with women heading in the opposite direction. Being the smart aleck I love to be, I stated, “You two look like you are all dolled up to go to church.” I thought it was very complimentary. “Oh no,” one stated. “We are Jehovah Witnesses. This is Sister Gutsey and I am Sister Marks.

I decided to make this a ‘day of blessings,’ and so I proclaimed, “Where have you been. Members from your church haven’t visited me for years. “We’ve been here in Latrobe for four-and-one-half months,” Sister Marks said.

I then ask her if she ever went to the Latrobe Farmers’ Market. “We have a booth there,” she said. “Where?” I asked. “Next to the lady who sells soap.” “No way,” I said. I’m right across from her and I’ve never seen you both. So we decided to look for each other in the future. The great thing was that despite our religious philosophies, we all received blessings in the course of our conversations.

Today is also very special as it’s my DOB – you’re right, my seventy-fourth birthday. Silly as it may sound, I was born on Labor Day in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. If my parents were alive today, they could confirm that fact. That’s one of those statements that’s really not laughable, but on the other hand, how could one not smile.

I can’t remember much about those years in the ‘burgh’, but more so when we moved to the South Hills in the Bethel Park area. A couple of weeks ago, I met an accomplished artist at the Latrobe Art Center who is now living very close to where I grew up. What a blessing!

DOB. I will definitely excite in what falls in my lap today, and tomorrow, and in the future. Don’t just count one’s blessings. Create them and then rejoice!

- Paul J. Volkmann
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