Of Blunders and Blessings


It was one of them days.

I stood in a long line at the Dollar Store. Ahead of me was a flustered old Granny—juggling enemas and a handful of loose change. She dropped her coins and enemas all over the place. Everybody sighed and shuffled their feet.

I should have spoken up, then. Should’ve cheered up the old lady.

“Yep. It’s one of them days, Granny—but we’ll make the best of it.  I’ll write about you in my newspaper column.  You’ll be famous in four States—enemas and all.”

But no.  I didn’t say it.  Didn’t try to cheer up the old gal.  I was feeling grumpy, today—not benevolent.
Leaving the store, I drove out of town toward the coast. I was thirsty. I’d bought a can of Dr. Pepper. But I’d forgotten to buy some ice.

Ice addicts have intense cravings, especially on these kinda days. I had to find some ice, somewhere. I drove along slowly—hopeful, watchful…Feeling desperate.

Then, I saw it. A bunch of ice-chests sitting on a lawn. There was a crowd of people standing around, eating. They all had on cowboy hats and fancy boots. Cowboy convention? Family reunion? Funeral?

Didn’t matter. I needed ice.  I braked to a stop. Putting on my sunhat, I went to join the cow-folk.  Mixing.  Mingling.  It didn’t take me long to get to the point.

“May I have a cup of ice?” I said. Politely, of course—as is the custom in these situations.

“Ice? Sure!” They gave me some in a cup. “Have some cheesecake, too.” They insisted on it—handing me a paper plate and a fork.What could I do…? I ate the cheesecake. Two pieces, in fact.

I thanked the cow-folk, and drove on—crunching my ice and licking my plastic fork. I felt more cheery. Things were starting to look up!  But I should’ve known better. These kinda days don’t get better. They only get worse.

At the beach, the wind was blowing, kicking up sand. The sunshine was bleak. As soon as I opened the car door, my hat sailed away. I ran to catch it. The wind slammed the door shut behind me. I knew what had happened even before I tried the door handle. The car-lock button had been activated. I was locked out.

No keys.  No cell-phone.  No entry.  No luck.  I tugged at several door handles, fuming. They were all locked.

No doubt about it.  It was one of them days. Much worse than an old Granny at the Dollar-Store…juggling enemas and dropping coins everywhere. I’d trade places with a constipated Granny in a heartbeat.

I looked around. No pay phones. Nothing but miles of surf and blowing sand.

What to do?

I went to sit behind a sand dune where the wind couldn’t find me. Sat there thinking about my predicament. Self-pity swept over me.

It was then that I saw him…a one-legged seagull. He should’ve looked sad and pitiful, but he didn’t. In fact, he looked quite perky. Even cheerful. He stood a few yards away, gazing at me with interest. No self-pity in this one-legged fellow.

Soon, he took off with awkward grace and circled overhead, only to land again, nearby. He did this repeatedly, watching me with that same disconcerting gaze.  I was perplexed…intrigued. Why would a seagull do that?  He could see I had no food for him.  Why was he here?

I felt my self-pity melt away as I watched him. “OK…OK, Lord” I said at last. “What’s with the lame seagull?” There was no answer. Just the sound of pounding surf and blowing sand.

I stared past the gull to the waters beyond, where the sea met the sky.
Over there in distant lands were millions of starving people.  Lame.  Sick.  Hurting.  Dying. They struggle for every crumb of bread and every drink of water. Desperate people with little hope for tomorrow.

They have no ice. No cheesecake. No cell phones. No cars to drive. Nothing. They don’t even have Dollar Stores or enemas. Every day of their lives is One-Of-Them-Days. Yet they persevere against all odds.

I sighed. Lord, forgive my foolishness. OK? I will try harder.

I leaned over and picked up a big seagull feather that was lying on the ground. It looked just like an old-fashioned quill pen. I began writing words in the sand—a list of all my blessings.

The list was long, scribbled across the sands. When at last I looked up, the one-legged seagull was still there watching me—approvingly, I was sure.

He got up and stretched, then took off—doing his awkward little dash across the sand. He disappeared into the sky, never to be seen again. Ol’ Mr. One-Leg.

The sun was sinking in the west.  I gathered up my hat and jacket and feather pen. Slowly, I walked back to the car.
I’d learned an important lesson, today…But I still had a serious problem. I peered through the window of my car. There were my keys and cell phone just beyond my grasp. If only I could….

Impulsively, my hand reached out once more and tugged at a door handle.

The door opened abruptly.

What…!? Oh thank God! But…how? Why? I stood staring at the door handle, mystified.

A car-lock button locks all the doors at once…not just a couple. So why was the passenger-door unlocked, now? It was a mystery to me.    I knew only one thing for sure.  I was thankful to be back inside my car!

Starting the engine, I sat staring at the surf crashing upon the rocks. It was beautiful!

“Thank You, Lord, for so many blessings.  For oceans and sunsets.  For family and friends.  For kind cowpokes and cheesecake. But most of all, thanks for my little friend…ol’ Mr. One-Leg. He taught me to count my blessings…even the smallest ones.  For this I am thankful.”

Rays from the setting sun broke through the clouds and splayed across the waters.  A trillion dancing diamonds.  I couldn’t help but smile.

It had turned out to be a gorgeous day after all.

Vicki O'Neal

4 thoughts on “Of Blunders and Blessings

    • How sweet, my dear Karen! You always encourage me so much. I’m glad we met one another–even if it was only through Facebook. Hope we’ll always remain friends!

      God Bless you richly!


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