ValueSpeak
A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker

ESPECIALLY ON MONDAY

It wasnít a horrible day. Believe me, I know all about horrible days. Iíve HAD horrible days. And this wasnít one of them. Not by a long shot.

But it was a Monday, and thatís usually horrible enough.

To start things off, I got up late. Donít you hate that feeling? Youíre still sort of out of it and youíre not exactly sure where youíre supposed to be but you know youíre not supposed to be in bed, so you throw back the covers and start hustling until your mind clears enough to figure out where youíre supposed to be -- only by then itís too late.

I hate that. Itís an awful way to start the day. Especially a Monday.

Then there were computer problems at work all morning long. Too many pickles on the chicken sandwich at lunch. A pushy-but-somehow-obnoxious constituent on the telephone in the afternoon. Traffic jams on the freeway on the way home.

Nothing spectacular. Nothing life-altering. Nothing out-and-out... you know... horrible. Just another ho-hum, hum-drum, sorta dumb Monday.

Which is why I was tired by the time I got home that evening. Tired and cranky. And maybe a little ornery. So when I sat down to eat dinner with the family I was ready with a shock-and-awe response to just about anything.

Except love.

I noticed the blue paper under my bowl as I was about to take my first slurp of soup. My first thought was that one of the kids had left some homework undone, or that an art project mess had gone uncleaned. So I slipped the paper out from under my bowl and unfolded it to see if I could determine the guilty Ė and soon to be executed Ė party.

"Dear Joe," the typewritten note inside the folded blue paper began, "you do such a great job of taking care of our family."

Still being in my Monday mode, I wasnít quite sure what to make of it. Who was this "Joe" character, and what was he doing taking care of my family? And who, I wanted to know, was taking the time and trouble to thank him for it on my beautiful blue computer paper?

"I know that we are constantly on your mind," the note continued, "and I appreciate all the little things that you do to help make our family happy and well."

Suddenly a warm feeling enveloped me. It started in my chest, where my heart recognized the words of my wife, Anita, and realized that she was writing them to me. And it quickly spread to my face, where a goofy grin replaced the furrowed grimace that had been plastered there when I walked in the door.

"We know we can count on you," the note read. "Whether the need is medication or Godiva ice cream, you are always so willing to make a store run no matter what time it is."

My face felt red, and I was sure I was starting to blush so I looked up to see if anyone else noticed. But 13-year-old Elizabeth and 11-year-old Jon were both busy reading notes of their own Ė and smiling. As we finished reading, we all folded our notes and tucked them carefully away. We didnít share their content. That wasnít really necessary. But for the rest of the evening the entire family shared the wonderful feeling that comes when someone dear to you takes the time to let you know that you are loved and appreciated.

Even on a Monday. ESPECIALLY on a Monday.

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--- © Joseph Walker
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