Last night JB came home in the early stages of my cooking and guessed I was cooking Chicken Enchilada Skillet, instead of Chicken Quesadillas. He swayed me. But I needed onion powder and cumin to finish the enchilada dish, and we had none.
After calling my little friend down the road and coming up dry, he started mentally going through his list of alternatives. The schoolteacher across the road would be a likely candidate for spices.
JB and I had first visited her house together before I was old enough to drive. She's been a widow for 10 years or better and the kids are all grown and gone now with their own families. But the house is pretty much as it always has been. The only notable change is the number living there. JB decided it was worth a shot to go dig in her cabinets.
After warning me against substitutions, he heads out. Within minutes--too quickly--he pushes back through the door, almost breathless, and says "Lord have mercy, I've hit a dog."
I react like a worried mother. Which one? Any of them could be a candidate, because they all present themselves as personal escorts. Anytime one of us ventures out, they're running the eighth of a mile up to the cattle guard, right alongside the car.
But the victim wasn't running parallel to the driveway. She was cutting across the driveway on her way home from visiting one of the big dogs on the hill that don't get out and visit anymore-- not since their owners installed an electronic fence.
After notifying the dog's family, JB and I set about finding the wounded Lab. Jake sniffed her out, while JB followed with a flashlight. Blankets were gathered, and a team effort lifted her to the safety of the family van. I learned my neighbor had 5 or 6 children and her husband was out of town. She regrettably confessed that she was just too tired to walk the dog and had thought--just this once--it would be okay to let her out, instead.
I was visibly stunned. Did she really think it was her fault the dog got hit?
Then she started preparing the family pet for the 30-mile ride to the vet. It had just began to snow. She took a quick breath, and started coordination. "I better take the baby because I haven't nursed yet." The little boy would stay with Grandpa and the little girls. Grandma climbed in the back of the van with Kansas, the dog.
JB and I just looked at each other. It all happened so fast. The plan was organized and put into motion almost simultaneously among three generations within a family.
Why did it work? Because it had to, that's why.