The Arrow and the Spoon

I am home this morning; I slept in my own bed for the first time in over two weeks. It is good to be home but our visit is short-lived, we’ll be heading back to the cottage tomorrow, leaving early in the morning. It is a long journey for a day but William and I had appointments and a meeting we needed to attend so we made the trip. Today is also the thirty-fifth day of my seventy-day summer break I am half way. I can look at it half-empty or half full, I choose half full as it has been a great summer and there is more to come and accomplish. Today is gonna be a great day.

I was apprehensive about the trip early in the morning when I saw the weather rolling through southern Michigan and across the Chicago area. But, I noticed it was gone before ten and rain and storms were not issue by the time we loaded and pulled out of the driveway at 4:35 in the afternoon. I had wanted to leave at 4:00 but we were delayed and I was a bit miffed at William for dragging his feet on a project and not helping with the loading or much at all. Part of the delay was my fault, I went to thank a neighbor for a favor and return an item and got involved in a longer visit than I expected. It is always a good thing to visit with our neighbors here, we have been coming up here as long as I have lived in my own neighborhood and we have made many good friends, people we can count on, and whose friendships we look forward to visiting with each visit.

I have made the trip home and back so many times I think I could do it with my eyes closed. I have mile markers and stops memorized places to avoid, and places to visit. Olivia asked if we could make it to Dutch Farm Market, which is just south of Holland and about three to three and a quarter hours away on our way home. I told her it would be closed by the time we got there because we had gotten a late start, but I’d try. Traffic was light and we made good time, despite a long MacDonald’s stop for food and potty. After we passed Grand Rapids and Holland, William asked what mile marker Dutch Farm Market was I told him ‘26’ and he replied ‘that’s 8 miles away and it is 7:43, we can make it.’ William and Olivia cheered and urged me to stop. I don’t think they were in it for the produce, more likely the ice cream and maybe the washrooms. We pulled off the highway and they were closed, for some reason we thought they stayed open until eight, but they close at seven during the summer season and six in early spring and the fall after Labor Day. We circled the parking lot and we were quickly back on the road heading home.

I turned on the radio to listen to the weather and more importantly, the traffic. A six-hour drive can quickly become a seven-hour drive, or longer, if the highways around Chicago are jammed and they often are. The radio reported that over 500,000 homes in Chicago were still out of power after the morning storms. I was surprised, I had seen the storms on radar and weather channel and they looked bad but I had no idea they had produced so much damage. Concerned, I called home and our answering machine picked up, so I knew I was not 1 in 500,000. I was glad, because sleeping in a dark hot humid house with two exhausted was not a pleasant thought. When we arrived in our neighborhood, it was dark and we saw our neighbor had lost a tree, snapped at the trunk, but other than a few sticks, we had no damage at our house.

a tandem FedEx truck hauls its load into Chicago

Chicago has several interstates crossing and intersecting. I 80/90/94 intersect I-55 and I-57 in south Chicago and there is usually heavy truck traffic in the evening as freight is moved across the country to the end user or to shipped on from Chicago. We pulled up behind a FedEX truck and I asked William to take a picture of the back end. He knew immediately why but struggled with using the camera on my phone. I reminded him it was supposed to be a phone and that they added a camera to make it more marketable.  It takes an okay picture but it was hard for William to frame the picture, as both of us were travelling 70 mph in light traffic. After several shots, he captured the shot I wanted the back of FedEX truck and its logo.

A few months ago, I was on a field trip with my seventh grade students and I rode long in the back of the bus silently watching and listening. Occasionally, we would pass a FedEX truck and one of the girls would exclaim excitedly ‘Do you see it?’ The rest of the kids obviously didn’t see it. She was trying to point out the arrow in the FedEX logo. Like many illusions of subliminal signs, once you know it is there and can see it, you will always see it. The arrow is between the E and X and point forward symbolizing FedEX is moving your package on to its destination. After several trucks and a few FedEX Office locations, several of the students saw the logo and were amazed. A few days later, I was in the school office when the FedEX man delivered a few packages and I pointed out the arrow to the secretaries and the FedEX man joined in helping Barb and Maureen see the arrow. It was a neat experience and then he challenged us, ‘Can you find the spoon?’ he asked. I was perplexed; I didn’t know there was a spoon. He quickly gave in and showed us the spoon it is the lower part of the e in Fed. Since that moment, I can see the arrow and the spoon and when I pull up behind a FedEX truck or see a sign, I see them.

the arrow is in the lower part of the 'E' pointing toward the 'x'

I have since shared the logo with William, Beth, and others. William was excited when I pointed it out. He is very perceptive and can see things others cannot. He has his moments, as all kids do (and adults, too) but he is moving forward. It made me think, if I could see hidden images in a logo, I could see hidden things in people and I had an ‘a-ha,’ you know the moment when you can clearly see and understand an abstract idea or concept. The point was I could see what I want to see, what I am conditioned to see, or I can look deeper, and see what is not obvious and see beyond. Ironically, the field trip our class was on that day was to see The Giver play, Jonas, the main character, has the ability to see beyond, and it was what made him an extraordinary character.

the spoon is in the lower part of 'e'

I can choose to see what I want to see in William, Olivia, Beth, and others or I can choose to look deeper and try to understand. I can only hope other do the same for me. Today is gonna be a great day, with fifty percent (and more) more fun ahead. Making the Days Count, one day at a time. What are some things you can see now that took time and patience before you realized they were there and you could see them?

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2 thoughts on “The Arrow and the Spoon

  1. Clayton, you’re too funny! With all the magazines out there telling women that men cannot read our minds and we need to tell them what we are thinking, feeling, or what we want…William is a young man…did you ask him to help with the loading? That kinda tickled me 🙂
    BTW – I knew about the Fed Ex arrow…didn’t know about the spoon – what’s that all about?

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