It was an unexpected trip to the North Bay. As Kathy and I sat watching our God-daughter playing in a middle school soccer game yesterday afternoon, Kathy’s cell phone rang. I could tell from the tone of her voice that something was wrong. At first, it sounded quite serious, but as the conversation continued, the stress in Kathy’s voice diminished significantly. As it turned out, our niece Joseé, who was away with her classmates at Science Camp in the Russian River area, dislocated her knee during an organized activity. Preparations were being made to transport her by ambulance to Santa Rosa Regional Hospital. Kathy’s sister, Theresa, couldn’t be reached by phone, and Joseé’s dad is visiting family in Canada, so Kathy got the call.
Eventually, Kathy connected with Theresa. It took awhile to get everything together, but Theresa brought her younger daughter, Julia, and Sparky, their dog, to our home where Kathy would take care of them. I then drove Theresa to Santa Rosa to pick up Joseé. We departed San José at 7:20 p.m., so by the time we got to The City, we missed the worst of the rush hour traffic, though 19th Avenue, from Stonestown to Golden Gate Park, was predictably congested. We arrived at the hospital emergency room in Santa Rosa at 9:15 p.m. Joseé was sitting comfortably in a wheelchair talking with one of her teachers and one of the Science Camp employees. Her right leg was wrapped up and slightly elevated. She was ready for the ride home.
The drive south on Highway 101 was enjoyable. Traffic was not an issue at all. Joseé chatted away about her Science Camp adventures. Theresa, in a typically motherly way, asked lots of questions about Joseé’s experiences. I listened,.... and drove. Little did I realize the treat we had awaiting us just down the road.
As we ascended the Waldo Grade after passing Sausalito, I caught my first glimpse of the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a fog-free night and the illuminated span was mesmerizing. A few minutes later, we began our trek across the historic landmark. It was then that I realized that I rarely drive on the bridge at night, and the few experiences I’ve had in the past were marred by a thick blanket of fog. The night view of the bridge as we drove across last night was absolutely stunning. I even opened the moon roof on my car to sneak a peek at the North Tower as we passed below.
It’s a simple thing, but I am tremendously grateful for the opportunity to drive across the bridge last night and see the famous structure in a different light. I’m certainly not suggesting that I’m happy about Joseé’s injury, but had it not happened, I would not have been driving to and from Santa Rosa last night.
This is yet another reminder of a lesson I learned many years ago. Joseé’s injury may have been viewed as a “crisis” of sorts, but in the Chinese language, the word “crisis” is represented with two symbols. Those symbols, together, mean “crisis” as we understand it. When taken separately, however, each has its own stand-alone meaning: one means “danger,” the other means “opportunity.” That certainly proved to be true last night.