The Visitor Essay

(May 30, 2006)

Life is full of unexpected surprises. There are many opportunities when one can secretly wish for something exciting to happen – something out of the ordinary. The real surprise is when the wish unexpectedly comes true. I never believed that something like this could ever happen to me; such a thing that would make me stop and look back at the events in awe. I think you would agree that something as simple as being lost in the forest for less than ten minutes should have no influence on my life. If you do agree, that makes both of us wrong.

Throughout my childhood, I loved the wild. My family and I would always go for a walk in the downtown forest of Coote’s Paradise. There were many times I thought of what could happen if we were to lose our way from the trail and have to live off of the land until we found our way back to civilization. I thought it would be the greatest experience ever.

As my brothers and I grew older, we continued to go for these walks with our parents but the dreams of living in the forest I soon forgot. That’s when it happened. We decided to take a different path off the main trail. Before I knew it, the path had disappeared and no one in my family could tell where we had come from. It was so unexpected. It gave me a feeling of excitement that can’t be described. Everything in the forest seemed different. The trees were a deeper shade of green. The birds chirped in a different tone. Vines covered almost every inch of the ground. One part of me never wanted this moment to end. I felt completely free from the stress of my life outside of the woods. It was this moment that I realized that I would much rather stay here for the rest of my life than go back to society.

I think that another reason that I felt carefree was because my parents didn’t panic. They took the situation under control and headed for any open area in hopes to find a map (many of these maps were found throughout the grounds, telling you where you were). From my point of view, at the time, it seemed as if they were excited as I was about losing our way. In the end, it only took my parents ten minutes to find such a map and we were back on the trail in no time.

An experience like this made me think about my place in life. I’m the type who loves seeking out adventures. When we were lost, I realized that I had everything I would ever need with me – my family. They’ve always supported me in everything I do. This experience made me realize that families need to stick together; you don’t realize how much you need them until, for a moment, you think they’ll be the last people you see for the rest of your life.

It’s incredible how much a simple thing like being lost in a forest for ten minutes will affect your outlook on life. Things like not being able to find your way back to where you came from make you appreciate the little things in life. Looking back on the day, I realize now that it was fate. Moments like that are few and far between and should be taken as a lesson. Surprises like this were, and always will be, an unexpected gift for all.

Saturday Morning Visitors

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 Saturday Morning Visitors

 

 

 

As far as I am concerned, the unpardonable sin is someone dropping by our house before noon on Saturdays.

 

Since I go to school and work too, Saturday is the only day of the week on which I can be lazy and sleep late. Therefore, I am late getting my housework done. By Saturday, my house is completely in ruins; anyone who is blessed with a six-year-old boy can understand what I am talking about. As an example, it is not uncommon to walk into the living room and find an old ragged sheet or quilt stretched across a couple of chairs-this serves as his tent. This is the exact time some people decide to come by to see us. As the visitors come in, I hurriedly snatch the tent down, but immediately wish that I hadn't for under it are Chewbacca, Hans Solo, Luke Skywalker, C3PO. And R2D2. Trying nonchalantly to push these Star Wars creatures aside with my bare foot, I suddenly stop. My foot has come in contact with some unknown substance-it is oozing up between my toes. I look down and silently blaspheme the makers of Green Slime. As I gently remove my foot from this green wad, some of it continues to cling between my toes. Pretending that it doesn't bother me, I lead our guests into the dining room, hoping it will be more presentable. Much to my dismay, it does not look any better, for there, on the table, are the remains of my daughter's midnight snack. The remains include a black banana peeling that looks like a relic from The Dark Ages; an empty glass with a dried milk ring; two stale blueberry pop-ups; and a pile of orange-red carrot peelings. My daughter is a border-line vegetarian, so the latter does not surprise me.

 

Having removed the residue from the table and seated our early birds, I am brought to the second reasons why I dislike having company on Saturday mornings. Remembering my in-bred Southern manners, I ask if I can get our guests something to eat or drink-when it hits me like a two-by-four-I have nothing to offer. This is grocery shopping day.

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I scrounge around the kitchen and find a piece of molder cheese and a box of stale Ritz Crackers. As I humbly set this before my guests, I am wondering if they like grape Kool-Aid. I fix a pitcherfull-all the while limping along and hating the slime that ha "set up," like concrete, between my toes. Finally, I sit down with my friends and try to start a conversation, wondering why they are staring at me.

 

As their gawking continues, I take a quick inventory. No wonder they are staring at me-I would finish in first place in a Phyllis Diller look-alike contest. A slow red begins creeping up my neck as I realize that I'm still in my gown and housecoat, hair in disarray, no makeup, and green slime between my toes. Yet, I have no alternatives but to sit and endure, because my children are still asleep, and my husband left early to make hospital rounds (or was it to get away from home?). My company doesn't stay long-they have already seen enough. I smile and say, "y'all come back now, hear?"

 

Since the morning is already ruined, I think I'll finish up the cheese and crackers, drink another glass of Kool-Aid, leave the slime between my toes, and go back to bed.

 



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