Nuggets of gold

By Helen Row Toews

November 8, 2017 2:19 PM

A few short Saturdays ago found me tapping away on my computer in a happy haze of sunshine yellow.
My writing room had been gilded in that glow since frost magically transformed the bluff of poplar trees near my window, into the rich shades of autumn.
As I work, I love to gaze outside, at any time of year, but fall is especially lovely.
Then came high winds, pelting rain and now the recent snow, which stripped my leafy friends bare, leaving only stark reminders of the glory that was.
However, in every season, as in every situation, there are always things to be thankful for or to smile about. We just have to keep our eyes peeled for golden moments.
One aspect of life that’s always gratifying for me is my job driving a school bus.
Perched in my lofty seat it’s always a joy to view the passage of each season; from smooth, rolling mounds of snow glittering with a morning frost, to fields of verdant grain, churning like the Atlantic in a wild gale.
Also a privilege is the time I spend with children. They are precious little people indeed.
Two weeks past, I pulled the bus up to a house, stopped, and flung open the doors for a sweet little blonde-haired girl to clamber aboard.
I know for absolute certain she’s a sweet little girl because she told me so – quite distinctly.
On this particular day she bounded eagerly up the steps clasping tiny hands together to protect some secret prized possession.
Eyes shining with excitement, she paused beside me and breathlessly asked if I’d like to see. I imagined it was perhaps a sparkly rock, a toy or even a candy – anything but what it really was.
With great ceremony she slowly uncovered her prize. As she did so, a vile brown liquid began to seep through her fingers and drip onto the bus floor.
Good grief, what was it? With a final flourish she revealed her treasure!
An enormous, dead June bug lay on its back across her outstretched palms; spindly legs folded in death across its middle and bodily fluids trickling from a blackened abdomen. “ACKK,” I screeched, lurching away in revulsion.
However, noting her immediate distress, I recovered myself quickly. “I mean – WOW – what a fine looking beetle you have there! And so juicy,” I added, as we both peered down at the unpleasant puddle forming below.
“Now, how about we clean you up a bit.” YIKES! Bring on the disinfectant.
  Likewise, another interesting situation took place driving home after school. Glancing up to check on the children in my bus mirror, I noticed a pair of sparkling brown eyes peering at me thoughtfully from over a seat several rows back. At length, the little girl spoke.
“Mrs. Toews, did you know I lost my toque today?” she queried importantly, in the manner of one interrogating a delinquent member of the Legislative Assembly.
Naturally, I’m well accustomed to receiving this sort of monumental news flash, and I responded appropriately – with shock and alarm.
“Good heavens, you don’t say! It wasn’t in your coat pocket or your locker?” I hollered back to her over the din of the rumbling vehicle.
“No,” she replied loudly with a puzzled look, clearly questioning her decision to share this critical information with one so daft.
She continued, “It fell on the floor beside my chair. Everyone helped me look, but no one could find it.”
Now it was my turn to look confused as I imagined this group of incompetent youngsters milling blindly around her desk, hopelessly incapable of spotting a bright green hat.
“What about your teacher?” I yelled optimistically, “Maybe she saw it.”
“Teacher gave me a Kleenex to wrap it in – because of the blood, but it fell out somewhere,” she hollered in response, then philosophically turned her attention elsewhere. She’d lost interest in this discussion since only one of the two participants understood what the heck was going on.
“The blood? A tissue?” I repeated to myself in wonder. It certainly seemed like a cavalier attitude had been taken to what clearly must have been some form of head injury for this child.
The girl sustained trauma to her noggin, lost enough blood to stain her toque, but all she was issued were a few disposable tissues – for the hat?
Suddenly her tiny face popped up above the seat once more and she grinned broadly. “See,” she shouted, pointing to a large gap in her smile where a tooth had recently exited.
“A TOOTH!” I yelled in relief. “You lost a TOOTH today.
Congratulations,” and both of us beaming happily we continued on down the road,
There you go. Proof positive that if we watch carefully, there are fascinating and often humorous situations taking place all around us.
Whatever your circumstance today, I know a nugget of gold will glimmer in the midst of darkness if you can see it. There’s always something to be grateful for. Even a dead bug can be a good thing – emphasis on DEAD.

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