Caring & Extra Step

My dear husband says women are hard-wired to care for others. Perhaps we are. But I think he’d say soft-wired. Yeah, he’s a software guy but girls are just mushy.

I never like to say that he is right, but, gulp, he may be somewhat right. I drive or fly 1,500 miles to his family every Thanksgiving and spend a few days dancing around the kitchen cooking with his mother. If I drive, I take our ancient dog. If I fly, she stays here and m-i-l does not have a dog in the house to pick up crumbs we inevitably drop. She needs to vacuum more when our Zoe’s not there.

All that time Nanny, who is hosting, is helping her daughter-in-law, grands and great-grands cook and clean the house for up to 60 guests.

It’s time. The guys show up and set up folding tables then watch football. They come in to bless their food, get it (after all the little ones) and go back to watch football.

We all clean up, then chat a bit at the kitchen table. Football. We play with the kids outside if it’s good weather. Football. Bad guys won. Time for re-heated dinner. Second round. This time plastic cups and paper plates. The women clean up. Men are playing pool, shooting skeet, watching grandkids on motorized devices. Dune buggies.

We pack a truckload of stuff to go back “home” then get to find our husbands. I think we went the extra step, 15 years now for me. Double that for my mother-in-law, triple for Nanny.


When I was assaulted on our school bus our neighbors, 12 total, made sure it would never happen again. I never knew what they did and never saw a bruise on the convicts. Yes, I’m sure the cruel brothers have been in jail for years on other incidents. The saviors’ sister runs the family as her dear mother died. R was a rock then and probably is now. She and her mother, brothers and cousins all took an extra step.

I knew a younger boy was being harassed, not only by school kids but by his sister and mine. I protected him and didn’t know he was gay for years. I didn’t know what the word meant. When he came out, his sister contacted me to apologize for treating him badly and to thank me for looking out for him. Now, they’re best friends. I went the extra step.

When my dog Chani died it was a miracle she had survived so long. She was abused, didn’t like men or kids. I worked with her and she was the most popular dog in the park. Kids in the tot lot would call out her name and their mothers allowed them to run to see her when we entered the park. She died, suddenly, at age 12. The entire neighborhood got together and bought a tree for the City, for our park. It was a fight  because I did want it to be a leash-free area. Our local representatives negated the tree. I proved that it was a tree chosen by the city by type, size and location and it didn’t hurt that I handed in the check as VP of the non-profit that allowed the planting of the tree. We all cared and took the extra step. Now there are many of the same trees there, I can’t even find Chani’s on GoogleEarth.

I’ve an old friend, Dr. G. He was a trucker. My father found him and sent him to school. They played handball together at the college where Dad worked. When I told Dr. G. that Dad died he said he was glad Dad taught him handball. He still plays at age 89. He taught me psychology before I was eight years old. His wife taught me to appreciate art. I majored in soc/psych and art history. All of them went to heroes in my book as they changed my life forever. Dr. G has invited me to visit, his wife is gone now, but daughters are around. They all went an extra mile for Dad’s little girl.

My aunts have been sending me photos, of me, me and my little sister, a naked one of me and my now 60-year-old cousin I’ll save for blackmail someday, and my parents’ wedding. I wouldn’t be here without them. All my family and my husband’s very extended family, care and still take the extra step.

Dad went miles and miles, to make sure I learned everything I needed to make it in life and to tell me I could be anything I wanted to be. He introduced me to interesting people. I learned at a young age how to speak with adults and absorbed everything they had to teach.

Special mention goes to RM for being there on that bench whenever I had an issue with a mean high school girl. And his wife L who made the best Tex Mex in el Norte and treated me like a grand-daughter.

There are so many more….. teachers, mentors, colleagues. Sorry to have left you out… this time. Cheers and thanks to you for taking the extra step and caring for others. Dee




One response to “Caring & Extra Step

  1. Our dog Zoe turned 13 this weekend. She’s turning grey and sleeping a lot more. She has given my husband and I way more than we’ve given her. A bed, a lift up to the bed, hip removals as a pup, rehabilitation, a comfortable life in a home with loving folks. We got to raise her from six weeks and she is a mascot in the neighborhood. The Grey Lady, no not the NYTimes, and while we have given her a wonderful life, she is the one who inspires, enervates, stares at us for what she wants, Precious kind of girl. She’s never more than five feet from me watching the doors while my husband travels for work. She’s gone miles and miles for me, and that’s definitely caring and an extra step. D

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