Bill called me Sunday morning to hammer out the details for our ride later that day. He mentioned that someone on a 4-wheeler had fallen through the ice on my lake earlier that morning. I remember when he told me this I was outside with the dog and I was scraping the frost off the deck with my finger and wondering if the roads would be too icy to ride. I was more concerned about the conditions of the roads than the fact that someone just drown in my lake.
I am not a cold person but I am not an empathetic person either. I was watching TV with my kids Saturday morning and saw a commercial for Save the Children. I remember seeing the same commercial when I was a kid watching TV on a Saturday morning 30 years ago; skinny dirty sad kids looking into the camera. I started thinking if the only thing this organization has have done in the last 30 years is throw rice at the problem, then maybe they are no further ahead. I realize that the kids in the commercial now are the children of the skinny dirty sad kids I saw 30 years ago, maybe they were their grandchildren, I’m not sure when kids from third world countries start breeding. I thought of the episode of South Park where Cartman pledges to support a child so he could get a free Seiko sports watch and they accidentally send the child to Eric instead of the watch. Eric is not empathetic until he is accidently sent back to Ethiopia instead of Starv'n Marvin. I start to laugh.
I hang up the phone with Bill and play a game with Allie. I hear Cindy in the other room on the phone and going hysterical, more hysterical than usual. I get up to see what is wrong. Cin says Joe fell through the ice this morning on his 4-wheeler. Joe was our next door neighbor, a nice kid who always made it a point to come over and talk to me when I was in the yard. We would talk about mountain biking or the auto industry, the only two things I am qualified to talk about. Joe took me for a ride on his jet ski last summer and scared the bejeebies out of me. Joe’s mom, Karen, is a good woman. She watches our kids when we are in a pinch. Joe’s dad, Jeff, is a good man. He helped me cut in a sliding door when I got in a little over my head.
Karen and Jeff pulled up into their driveway right after this, apparently returning from the hospital. Cin goes out and meets Karen in the driveway. Karen drops her purse and hugs Cindy. Karen is crying uncontrollably and just keeps repeating “he is my baby”. I didn’t care about this person falling through the ice 30 minutes ago but I care now; my heart is breaking for his family. The only thing that changed was my perspective.
You don’t have to read many of my entries to see I am big into perspective. This is the Mack-daddy of perspective. I am a cold person but I think this will forever change the way I think about people and events outside of my little world. Rest in Peace Joe.