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Dedication, not Disgustingness

I’m a big fan of the “two birds with one stone” adage. If I go somewhere, I really try to maximize the outing, so when I was going to the Tidioute Heart and Soul meeting recently, I made of list of things to do while in town. Because one of the big things on my list was to go to the Tidioute Overlook to take pictures and because I am always finding something stunning in Warren County, I had my good camera with me.

As I drove along Route 62 enjoying the river and mountain views, I saw people in two shiny red canoes making their way down the Allegheny. The bright red was a perfect stand-out with the greens of the scenery, so I quickly veered to a pull-off, grabbed my camera, and hustled toward the river’s edge.

I snapped a few photos as I approached but wanted a closer view and different angle. There was still earth between me and the water, so I moved closer. I noticed it looked soft, but I tested the ground with a light step and decided to proceed. The canoes were getting away from me, so I had to move fast. My steps went fine…until they didn’t.

In one swift motion, my right foot went from aboveground to being completely swallowed up. As I tried to pull it back out, it sank even farther. I took a step back with my left foot to get leverage, only to have that one meet the same fate. There I was. Feet glued in awkward angles, like I was in a dangerous game of Twister, and caked mud up past my ankles, like a statue with no feet. Trying to pull up was no good. I had flashbacks to childhood cartoons with people being swallowed up in quicksand. The canoeists were no help. They were almost out of sight. Either they didn’t notice me or they did and got a good laugh. Either way, I’m OK with that. I can appreciate a funny situation, even if I am the butt of it.

I finally managed to pull my right foot out. My shoe was not so lucky. It had vanished in the mud. I reached in and was able to locate the shoe and fish it out of the vacuous mud. The left foot also left the shoe behind which also required removal by hand. I was finally able to walk my way back through the mud in my socks and dress pants with shoes in-hand, weighed down with mud. I took a couple of pictures as evidence and returned to my car using any napkins I could find, which were virtually no help.

Now, you may remember that I was actually on my way to a meeting. Yep.

I didn’t have time to go home and change and I really wanted to go to the meeting, so I sucked it up, drove to TCCS and walked myself in, straight to the restroom to try to clean the gunk from under my nails.

I looked ridiculous but cleaned up as best I could, hurried to the classroom, and sat down quickly, hoping people wouldn’t notice that I looked like I’d spent the night digging for earthworms in 2-foot-deep mud. When it was time for introductions, I took a big sigh and decided to just own it. Some people there had already known me so I wasn’t too concerned about them. Some did not. After I stated my name and position, I told them a brief version of my adventure and said that I hoped that the first impression of me for those who were meeting me for the first time be my dedication to doing my job and not the disgustingness that sat before them. I at least hope they got a laugh.

I’ll leave you with this…

To Tidioute Heart and Soul, I assure you that I do not make a habit of going to meetings looking like that. Thank you for being so welcoming. You are a fantastic community truly full of heart and soul and are an important piece of Warren County.

To the people in the red canoes, I hope you had a lovely time on the Allegheny and maybe even got a laugh at the lady in dress clothes stuck in the riverbank. Feel free to send me pictures of your journey because the ones I took got interrupted.

To everybody, if you haven’t been to Tidioute lately, GET THERE. It’s beautiful.

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