This morning I had a new lesson, and it brought up an old, fond memory.

I make my cup of coffee carefully.  It takes approximately 10 minutes to produce one cup.  It’s something that I sometimes go to bed looking forward to.  So, upon a carefully invested 10 minutes, the brew was finished, and cream was added.  Reaching to put away the second special ingredient, I bumped the mug.  Coffee, rich, brown, aromatic coffee, spilled all over the range and the floor, my sweats and shoes, the nearby cabinet doors with splatter that reached far and wide.  Banner was lying nearby, puzzled at the purpose of this change in the sequence of otherwise normal steps in a very routine process.  When I give the girls fresh water in the morning, I call it their “coffee”.  They seem to tolerate my confusion well.  Banner had no interest in *my* version of coffee, fortunately, as she doesn’t need any additional energy or momentum, on any day, but this was Friday, the arrival of Happy Days, the one that only occurs in one day out of 7.  She had already chased a cat, twice, and it was still early.

So, there lay my cup of coffee, spread across the floor.  I felt sorry for myself for a moment, needing the steam treatment of the coffee for added recovery from the respiratory infection earlier this week.  Then, in an instant, I had a memory of another spill episode.  It was many years ago, but one I won’t easily forget.  After getting home late, from working late, a hungry crew of four Newfs needed to have their dinner prepared.  Broccoli was on the menu, purchased in large bags, to feed all hungry Newfs.  I prefer to buy the broccoli in full stalks or florettes, but that brand tended to have a lot of loose small pieces of florettes.  I pulled the bag out of the freezer and when I opened the package, broccoli pieces and broccoli dust went everywhere!  Being very tired with no desire for delay or a crowd of volunteers offering to help, Banker must have read my expression with sympathy.  He wasn’t usually interested in frozen treats, but he looked at me sincerely, then gently came over and began picking up pieces and eating those.  He kept eating until, between the two of us, each piece had been picked up.  This may seem like a small thing, but it was a defining moment for the concept of friendship, for someone to quietly observe and offer to help with such gentleness and such genuine compassion.  In the moment that I saw him look at me and begin helping, my attitude was transformed from frustration to awe, and the problem was gone.

He didn’t show interest later in frozen treats either.  Any situation can have good lessons.  A couple of years later after a blueberry spill, when Parker offered to help, I learned about that very odd consequence of eating blueberries on a dog’s stool, after a fast trip to the vet, one where you pay for your veterinarian’s entertainment for the day.

This morning’s lesson:  I learned how to put the color back into brown suede house shoes that have been through the laundry a few times, and I enjoyed the reflection on how attitude shapes perception of problems and on the life-changing value of genuine friendship.  Some of my best friends are gone, and others are in the making.

It’s a good Friday.  Remember that adventure is where you find it, and enjoy the day!

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