This week I attended a writer’s conference in Las Vegas. When I was there, I found my newest shero. Of course, there is a story.
During the day, close to 1000 authors listened to experts share trade tips. At night, we explored. On one of the nights, I joined a small group of roughly twenty people on a ziplining excursion. The person I’m going to talk about is Misty. Misty is a seventy-two-year-old proofreader.
Misty and her grandson were a part of the group. At first, I honestly thought she was a doting grandmother who would take pictures and fuss over her grandson. It turns out it was the other way around.
The adventure started with Misty ditching her scooter and climbing into the Uber with our group. I worried. She waved away my concerns, saying, “It isn’t that far of a walk.” Her grandson offered his arm to her for support and nodded his agreement with her statement.
Then we stepped out of the Uber. Misty tried to soldier through the half-block walk to the zipline. By the time we reached the entrance, she was hunched over with her hands on her thighs. My thought leaned toward, Oh dear Lord, I don’t want to be responsible for the demise of this sweet woman. She must have seen the furrow in my brow because once again she poo-pooed my worries.
All the while I wondered where she was going to sit. There weren’t chairs near the zipline. Much to my surprise, Misty answered my question when she took the elevator up to the zip line and suited up along with the rest of us. Now my worries turned to the certainty that we were going to be the cause of this woman’s heart attack. She, on the other hand, was beyond delighted to be there with her grandson. The body may have been an older model, but the heart reflected the enthusiasm of a teenager. I kept my mouth shut, because I know a life lesson when I see one.
Misty clipped into the zipline beside me and we were off and for a little over a minute, I flew…with the help of safety gear and cables. Exhilaration does not begin to describe what I felt at the end.
If Misty ziplining wasn’t a plot twist in itself what happened next is. When they unclipped me, I found a wheelchair. Determined to keep Misty alive, I brought it to her. Before she accepted the seat, with an unmistakable twinkle in her eye and a wag of her finger she said, “You screamed.”
I nodded. “Yes, wasn’t that fun.”
She grinned widely, “It sure was. I giggled.”
Boom. In two words, “I giggled,” Misty assuaged all my concerns. When I grow up I want to be just like her.
So there you have it. I’m sharing one of the major lessons I learned at the writer’s conference. Embrace life. One day that scream of terror will transform into a giggle of delight.