Do any of you remember a writing prompt that elementary school teachers used in the olden days to encourage students to write a wacky story? The prompt worked like this: Fortunately, then fill in the blank about a good event, then Unfortunately, something bad happened as a result or in spite of the good event. Lather, rinse, repeat; lather, rinse, repeat.
The exercise would bring out the creativity of the students; some tried to be little comedians, some would write stories that would swing emotionally through all sorts of manic occurrences. And some were frightening science-fiction based odysseys; but they were always fun, and encouraged the kids around you to come up with the best ideas!
What I am about to relate is one such exercise, but it is not made-up, not embellished, and really did happen to me yesterday, Thursday, May 10th between the hours of 8 am and 7 pm. I realize you may get a little tired of the repetitive use of interchanging fortunately, unfortunately--I gotta admit that I wanted to break away from that paradigm myself. But work through to the end and you will come to appreciate as I did, that the Porter County residents and neighbors I encountered yesterday in my quest for conservation and ecology enlightenment, deserve a little applause.
Thursday was some kinda crazy day!
Fortunately, I was meeting Porter County Izaak Walton League friends to walk on some of our nature properties near the Laporte/Porter Countyline Road in rural Jackson Twp.
Unfortunately, I had a flat-tire while en-route.
Fortunately, I was only a half mile away from the meeting spot.
Unfortunately, I would be late and didn't have the cellphone# for any of the club members programmed into my cell.
Fortunately, I had a friend of a friend's cell phone programmed and she called them to say I was running late and not to take off into the heavily wooded property without me.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take water with me.
Fortunately, they all greeted me warmly and ignored the fact that I was a little out of breath, and we started exploring the wooded and creek filled property.
Unfortunately, I found 2nd year garlic-mustard plants there, fortunately I was able to pull up all I came across.
Fortunately, my fellow intrepid hikers started pulling the plant up too, when we came across it.
Unfortunately, the hour flew by as we walked, and talked about good projects we wanted to accomplish together.
Fortunately, another nearby property could be observed from county line road, just a short hike past a neighbor's private property.
Unfortunately, we could not find an access point, because there was a spring-fed stream preventing us from the road, and a steep graveled slope that looked treacherous from the perpendicular railroad crossing.
Fortunately, as we turned around and started back south along Countyline Road to where my friends were parked, we saw a neighboring land-owner putting out his trash.
Unfortunately, the four of us might have looked like a motley crew of bedraggled beings who lived in the woods, but fortunately he stopped to talk to us.
Unfortunately, he and I shared some opposing opinions of the governmental management of a large nature-property north of where we were standing, fortunately, we were able to overcome our differences, and part later as new-found friends.
Unfortunately, we were all getting thirsty, fortunately the nice neighbor invited us to walk down the lane to his house and see his little slice of paradise.
Unfortunately, our time with him flew by as we all talked and walked through his woods that was filled with wild ginger, and wild raspberry vines (mmmm).
Fortunately, he will now be a good friend to our little group of conservationists, and offered to let us use his garden hose when we are out working on our neighboring properties to clean up.
Unfortunately, the lunchtime hour clean had passed us by; fortunately, we decided we all had time to visit our newest "Frame" property, and our League president let me jump in his vehicle for the short ride north to view it.
Unfortunately, the farm fields surrounding the Frame property, had some Canada Thistle in it, fortunately, it is not the worst infestation I have ever seen before.
Fortunately, Tom Anderson took over as hike leader and began telling of us his previous visits there with Terry McCloskey who unfortunately, is going through chemo right now.
Fortunately, Tom had spoken to Terry on the phone recently and said Terry was sounding better and talked for a good long time about all the conservation projects we are all excited about tackling as a League.
Unfortunately, the time seemed to fly even faster when we found the grand old cottonwood tree at the corner where the Reynold's Creek and Little Calumet join up together at our Northwest corner, and we had to return to the cars.
Fortunately, I finally told my friends that I had a flat-tire and needed a ride to my car, so Jim Sweeney, our chapter president, took me back.
Unfortunately, several hours had passed and my ticking hazard-lights had drained my battery.
Fortunately, my AAA service gave me a couple phone numbers of local tow-truck companies to call because unfortunately, my covered road-side assistance visits had been exceeded.
Fortunately, Jim then drove 20 miles out of his way (at least) to a towing service that could help me.
Unfortunately, I may have not made it really really abundantly clear to Jim how much I appreciated his help (maybe this can help in that regard a little!)
Fortunately, later that evening (and unfortunately $95 later) I was able to get back on the road and make it to the Porter County Wildlife Advisory Board meeting in Valpo where I met all my good friends who all, likewise believe in the beauty of nature by putting our efforts together to beautify Zona Wildlife Sanctuary.
Fortunately, I saw my good ecology friend and newest board member John E. there after, unfortunately, not seeing him for several months.
Fortunately, he is looking good and maybe a few pounds slimmer.
Unfortunately, his weight loss maybe due to an illness which is trying to kick his butt.
Fortunately, John seems to be kicking the Lyme Disease right back!
Unfortunately, such a fantastic day as I had Thursday had to finally come to an end; fortunately, it was so memorable in so many good ways that it will be a long time before I can hang out with conservation friends, new friends, and old friends and find a way to top it!
And despite the cruddy car-problems that the universe laid in front of me that day, I just want the universe to know that--it couldn't mess up such a good day--even if it had tried a little harder.