I was anxious when the merchants came together to help. Quickly organizing a "meet and greet" to help with the cause of diabetes and assistance for Nice (the dog). The pharmacist, who had once taught about diabetes management, opened his doors and offered test kits if guests wanted to walk down from the bistro. The sign guy made a sign of the world and the website, also a few smaller "peel-off" versions for special places. Even the Cuban cigar shop had a flier in their window. "The Times" ran a second picture and a story in the morning paper with the hours of the...(nervously) "event". We have had our picture in many newspapers but I don't recall a second treatment with a lengthly feature story. That people would go out of their way to come talk with me about my experiences with the canvas world anchored outside the plaza and meet the dog (I would walk them the few feet down to the office) had me more nervous than a pitch-black Oregon highway, in the fog, with the sounds of curious bears nearby at three in the morning. All morning I went back and forth from the bistro to check on the dog (of coarse he was fine) and fought back my self doubts as the hour approached. Stopping at schools, a Boy's and Girl's Club, radio station or health facility as we pass took some time to get used to. With my discomfort standing in front of a video camera, sharing was scary at first. When I stepped out of that fear I didn't melt into a blob on the ground. I always learned something, to my surprise, usually met someone who added to our story and over the years have touched many "circles" to action. All those experiences couldn't keep my nervousness away until I talked with the first people who stopped in. People came who had read about us in the paper and some came after seeing the flier. Two folks who had stopped and talked to me by the roadside came by again. Grandsons, mothers and daughters came and shared their experiences living with diabetes, managing well and learning how to care with it for a long life. There were examples and stories also of self neglect, denial and the consequence. Diabetes can be devastating. On the whole, I felt I had spent the day with family, or my neighbor, no different from so many close encounters on our journey. When I stop on the road or at a school there is little time to get nervous. I had several days to build an unsure house of cards but my angst was forgotten at the door.
With Nice (the dog) finally showing signs of age, getting the message to care for yourself from healthy diet and activity can still grow. With help, like this weekends activity, we can "get across" to the world with less mind numbing distances to walk. Out of the box, my comfort zone, "the circle" becomes larger. If I can remember that next time, I might touch another...circle.