Cyndi's Two Cents

Honing our patience


Looking back through past columns, I came across one that hits home ten years after it was penned. I began the column with this statement:

“You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle four things:  a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

Patience is a quality that escapes many people. Having the capacity to accept that which slows us down in getting to wherever it is we want to go is for most of us something we work at all our lives. None of the aforementioned challenges for others present a formidable challenge for me.

I quite like a rainy day, unless we are cutting, raking, tedding, or baling hay. Having suffered through drought on our farm the past two years, this strikes more of a chord with me.

I prefer the company of “elderly” people over the company of some my age or younger. Who determines the definition of “elderly” anyway? I’m 61. Maybe I qualify?

As for tangled Christmas lights, I suggest being a bit more proactive by storing them in a way that prevents tanging altogether. Instead of using your arm when wrapping them, try a coat hanger or heavy cardboard. Some use PVC pipe, but that takes up too much room in my Christmas light storage totes.

Regarding lost luggage, if you fly, chances are extremely high that your luggage will at some point not arrive at the same time or location as you. Having traveled many miles in the air over the past three decades, my luggage has been routed incorrectly many times. Perhaps the most inconvenient was during a U.S. Grains Council mission to Argentina and Brazil with a group of farmers from the Midwest. The first day without luggage in Buenos Aires was fine, as we were all in casual attire. I became a bit more concerned as the next day we were boarding a bus that would take us deep within the country, far from any airports on roads that were less than rutted and dangerous. I knew the airline would not deliver my suitcase that far in country. Imagine my relief when as we were boarding that bus, a taxi came flying down the road in front of our hotel, the driver jumped out and popped the trunk, retrieving my floral fabric suitcase that was then given the name “Spot” and would be accounted for during role call each of the remaining days of our mission.

Had that luggage arrived as it should have, I would not have such fun memories of clothes shopping in boutiques in Buenos Aires with Illinois farmer Garry Neimeyer. Instead of letting it overwhelm me, with the support of fellow travelers, my burden was lifted.

Since that trip, I always bring a change of clothes in a carry-on. In fact, I rarely check luggage unless I am going on a lengthy trip.

I reserve my impatience and frustration for issues like our country’s enormous and growing national debt; need for energy, immigration, and foreign policy reform; and the ridiculous regulations coming from an out-of-touch bureaucracy.

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