I opened my Road Runner e-mail this morning and found this photo from Mom.  That’s our dear dog Leda beside me (Lucky and Lady were in the back seat).  She took it on 2 April 2009, my brother Mike’s 37th birthday – but he took ill that day and decided at the last minute not to attend his party.  I thought maybe he just had the flu or something.  A couple of weeks later, he had to be rushed to the hospital, where they ended up blowing out and stenting some of his arteries again.  The doctor said the severe blockages would have killed him if he hadn’t gone in when he did. 

Some folks aren’t so lucky.  Yesterday morning, an inmate at a prison in Grafton was having chest pains.  He’d been having them since 2 a.m., but hadn’t told anyone until many hours later.  As soon as they found out, the staff there called an ambulance to take him to the hospital (and did what they could in the meantime).  But the rescue squad was delayed by a train near the prison, and by the time they were able to get the man where he needed to go, he didn’t need anything anymore.

On 3 April 2009, the morning after that photo was taken, I realized it was the last day of my 3-year auto lease.  So I cleaned out the vehicle and took it back to the dealership.  No more shiny red Mustang!  Now I’m driving my bicycle and (when available) my wife’s truck.  It can be extremely depressing to lose something like a car and the feeling of liberty that comes with it.  But it’s not so depressing when I realize how lucky I am to have lost a machine instead of a human being.  I liked my car, but I love my brother.

Here’s a photo Mom gave me a long time ago:

Mike and me at Mom’s apartment in Parma, Ohio, on Christmas 1986