Last month I made a complete stranger cry. I didn’t mean to, and I think they were happy tears, but nonetheless it took me aback. We were sitting alongside each other in the waiting room of the Rheumatology Department, sharing an outlet charging our phones. I had just gotten off of my phone after calling our company travel coordinator to ask her to put me on a later flight once again. The woman next to me said, “I could not help but overhear, did you fly here on your own plane?” Cue the giggles; I was wearing jeans, tennis shoes, a poodle tee shirt and no makeup so I could quite understand her astonishment that I might be traveling via private plane.
“No”, I replied, “but I am lucky enough to be able to fly into the Twin Cities on our company plane”.
She asked me where I lived and what company I worked for and when I told her she asked me how I happened to move to Warroad. I started to tell the tale because anyone who knows me knows I do adore a captive audience!
It was 1997 and I foolishly accepted a job in another city because I feared that it was the only job offer I would get. Anna, my standard poodle and I packed up our home and moved, only to discover on day one of the job that my reservations were correct and I should have listened to the voice in my head that said, “Peg, this isn’t the job for you”. Three long and terribly unhappy months later, I was out of a job, about to turn 40, living in Cleveland Ohio, watching my savings account dwindle and talking to my poodle.
All that winter I applied for jobs, walked the poodle, went to the library and walked some more. Anna loved unemployment and her unending joy every morning as she woke me up to go, for what became one of our four daily walks around the neighborhood, probably kept me from full on depression. Nonetheless I fretted and made lists and worried that the next job could be worse than the last and I wouldn’t have any more savings to fall back on! So what did I do? What every forty-year old single woman wants to do; I moved in with Mom and Dad!
Of all the lists I made one thing consistently came up first, I wanted to move closer to my family, I wanted to go back to what I considered the “real Midwest”. Dad convinced me that it would be easier to find a job in the Twin Cities, or Milwaukee or Chicago if I actually lived within driving distance, so I packed up my computer and my poodle and an interview suit and put the rest of my life in storage. It was Memorial Day weekend when Anna I drove across the Ohio border into Indiana and I said aloud, “God, I have done everything I can think of, it is in your hands now.”
Now, I am not particularly religious or spiritual and many who know me might think that last line was just for affect, but it is true. I really did say it, and in that moment I really meant it. Mom and Dad put me to work painting the house, inside and out, while I reminded them that I was not destitute and could pay room and board; but Dad would assure me that I was working hard for my room and to save my money. Many days while up on the scaffolding I would think, “It would be so much easier to pay rent, savings be damned!”
Two weeks into the “Peggy moves home experiment” I saw a tiny ad in the Minneapolis Star Tribune for a job in Warroad MN. It really didn’t read like me, and based on the job title I was pretty sure they weren’t paying what I had been making in Ohio, and I really did not want to live in a tiny town in Northern Minnesota, but what the heck, I sent them a letter and a resume anyway. I had done some free-lance contract work and thought I could perhaps score a short gig if nothing else; if only to give me a break from painting!
Low and behold I received a phone call and I was correct in my initial impression of their advertisement. I was way more than they wanted, but somehow I was able to talk my way into an interview and off to Warroad I flew. Yep the next week was my first flight on the company plane.
So I interviewed with everyone and their Mother’s Uncle, which actually in a family business is kind of true, and flew back to Mom and Dad’s. When Dad asked how things went, I told him “I don’t know why, but I think Warroad is where I am supposed to be. It is not a city, it is about as far away as you can get in one state from family, and I would have to work in Human Resources and I always said I would never again work in a Human Resources department, but I think it is where I am supposed to be.” The next day I got the job offer.
Once again I pack up the car, load the poodle and head out. Waving goodbye to Mom and Dad in front of the freshly painted house, I say aloud, “OK God, I will trust you on this one”. One year later, almost to the day, I met my future husband, Greg.
Wiping her tears away, my waiting room, outlet sharing companion says, “I love a happy ending on a story” and I had to laugh, because I made her cry. At that moment, the buzzer in my hand goes off and she says to me, “Good Luck” and I wave as I think to myself, “Every story has an ending, no matter what this doctor says, I am making this one happy too.”