A famous philosopher, L. Peter Berra, once said, ” When you get to a fork in the road, take it. ” Rita and I followed that dictum for most of our lives together. Invariably, we chose well. Each fork leads to different paths which have many forks, which lead to…well, you get it.
We found that each choice we made gave us opportunities to meet a cornucopia of different people. Many had different backgrounds, different beliefs, different things of importance. One thing in common with most of these people was mutual respect and a love for the adventure of life. Some paths we took led to circles and we ended up back where we started. Some were downright thorny. But by and large, each fork and each path enriched us both.
This morning I had an opportunity to sit and visit with my friend Bernie. Bernie is one of the smartest people I know, and I always enjoy picking his brain. I learned that Bernie’s father was of German decent. In the 1930s he was leaving a concert of German music when he noticed several cars pull into the parking lot. As he started driving away he noticed men in suits and hats taking down license numbers.
Had he stopped to chat for a minute, the government agents would have been able to identify him. He was a loyal American who had done nothing wrong, but the hysteria of the time could have adversely affected his life. And Bernie’s. And Bernie’s children. And…
Just a minute and your life and the life of your family could have been radically different. That minute determined the X that was the starting point of Bernie’s life.
It started here instead of there. The forks would have led to different paths and a different ” YOU ARE HERE ” sign.
When Rita and I lived in Florida, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge was hit by a ship. It collapsed and several people were killed.
I will never forget the picture of a car with the front end hanging off the edge and the rest of the car balanced precariously. If the driver was going the speed limit he lived. A little faster, he died.
The recent condo collapse, the Twin Towers, stories too numerous to mention.
I have personally been just a minute away on a couple of occasions. Was it the fork I chose, or the extra minute I took to decide?
I guess, if when we get to a fork in the road, maybe we can look for road signs. Maybe they are marked ” Kindness ” “Respect ”
“Understanding ” “Caring “. Maybe if we take just a minute to look for those signs and avoid the others, we can help each other enjoy this journey. Maybe that’s what this is all about.