By Arthur H. Gunther III


Literally, if you think about it, re-tying one’s shoes can pause your life just enough to alter things. It’s the same argument that if you had left the house one minute later, you might never have seen her face. Write your own story, but you see what I mean.

Now, is this fate? Karma? Heavenly direction? Just dumb luck (or the reverse)? And if you don’t think about  it  — any one act slowing or moving ahead your life’s clock — how will you know the difference?

Do not mean to get philosophical here, but surely we can all recall a delay or speed-up (you left the house early because you awakened early) that made that particular day different. And then maybe you took that day and made some more of the same because you liked it so much. And that changed your life.

This isn’t to say free will doesn’t have play, that you are not the master of your fate. We largely are, though what we consciously plan may never come to past. However, we must move on,  roll with the punches (or be grateful that we were forced to smell the roses). It’s the adaptation that largely involves our free will.

So, how did all this thinking arise? Did I have too much wine? No,  I really did re-tie my shoes this morning. My usual laziness has me just slipping my large feet into already tied shoes, but this time they needed a re-tie. So I did that. It made my day.

Not the re-tie. I wasn’t in the best mood — down a bit — and I was simply plodding through routine when I noticed this father carrying his young daughter through the local home improvement store. The child had the most wondrous face — so very bright, lit up, cheerful, inquisitive. And in her hair she had an equally wondrous artificial flower.

My mood changed. The little girl did the trick. And had I not re-tied my shoes, well, darn, I would not have seen, would not have been in the moment.

   The writer is a retired newspaperman who can be reached via ahgunther@hotmail.com




  1. Judy Komar Willis

    This reply is from Judy Komar Willis:

    n the 1950’s a very young girl who lived in New York loved to plant seeds in the family garden since she learned this from her elderly Ukrainian grandmother who did this long ago. The best land was for food. The shaded land the grandchild, me, was given to plant extra leftover seeds under the sprawling 100 year old tree. The strong eastern sun still propagated her garden. Little by little her seeds sprouted and grew. The youngster carried her watering can from the farmhouse faucet to her seeds daily. Her mother said to the elderly Aunt that lived next door “every night she fills so many pails of water to give to these plants, why?” Old Aunt says, “No harm, let her do it”.
    News on the Radio: Late Autumn, severe Hurricane! Gusty winds, torrential rains, no school, stay home! Floods!
    Young girl prays, please God, I worked so hard on my garden and watered, weeded, and did all that my Grandmother taught me. Please don’t let this wind take it.
    The 100 year old branches of the old tree fell on the young girl’s garden. Yes, she watched the tree branches, almighty branches, fall and on her garden and she wailed. She cried and cried and cried. The house shuttered.
    A few days later after the hurricane that flooded the farmhouse basement her favorite Uncle Nick meticulously sawed away every branch on the little girl’s garden.
    Very late in that day, it was dark. Uncle Nick came to the crying little girl and told her that not one of her plants __NOT ONE OF HER PLANTS—was damaged. The fallen tree branches protected all of her garden. All rest was destroyed.

    This is a true story,
    Judith A. Willis

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