I put up my hair; stepped into my swimsuit and flip-flops; collected sunscreen, sunglasses, and a water bottle.
Together we walked downstairs and across the courtyard to the pool area. We found the gate chained.
The weather was perfect, warm, but not scorching. My daughter had taken a vacation day off work so we could spend the afternoon hanging out by the pool. The lounge chairs beckoned, promising peace, relaxation, and conversation; but that gate was chained.
We called the complex office. "Only a couple of hours," we were told. "Maintenance is adjusting the chlorine levels. The pool will reopen soon."
So we waited, frustrated, annoyed, irritated. We walked repeatedly up and down the concrete steps to check on the poolman's progress.
The gate remained chained.
We ate lunch, then checked the gate. We ate ice cream, then checked the gate. We drove to the massive aquatic center across town, then decided against paying to sit beside the crowded pool when we had a beautiful, free pool back at the complex. We drove home and checked the gate. Still chained.
We sat on the couch in the cool living room and watched a few episodes of Brain Games until the rain started. We didn't spend a minute by the pool or gain a degree on our tans.
"There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart."
I am grateful because I spent an afternoon with my daughter. We ate burgers and ice cream. We laughed about the silliness of walking back and forth to check on the padlocked gate. We shrieked over the dead mouse we found in the parking lot. We learned from Brain Games that compassionate feelings are shared and generated by compassionate actions. And we enjoyed the peace, relaxation, and conversation we had planned, but in the comfort of an air-conditioned living room.
I am grateful for every day I spend in the company of the people I love. I appreciate every moment I have with them, whether in clear skies or rain, sun or shadow.
What are your plans this summer afternoon? What will you do if your plans suddenly change?