Yesterday, around 4:30 p.m. I realized that tomorrow (that’s today) is my birthday and I hadn’t renewed my driver’s license.
In Pennsylvania, you get a piece a paper in the mail that you fill out and about a month later you get another piece of paper that allows you to go to the DMV and say, “I need my license renewed.”
If you don’t, you pay a BIGGER price, which I did because I forgot to send in the first piece of paper! Not a problem really, except we were in the middle of a severe thunderstorm with huge chunks of hail. I swerved off the side of the road and realized I was being pelted vigorously (it sounded like I was inside a steel drum). I inched along the side of the road until I saw a “Sheetz” sign (local convenience store), and found cover under the overhang along with 20 other cars.
I didn’t want to look like a drowned rat on my driver’s license for the next four years, so I didn’t dare get out of my car. I stayed put.
The storm passed 30 minutes later and then the rush to beat the clock to make it to Brenner’s. I arrived safely and rushed to the counter where a pair of twinkling eyes met me. The receptionist glanced at my card, filled out the paperwork, stamped two pieces of paper, took my money, and pointed the way to the “picture zone.”
What is it about license photos that make us look like hardened criminals? I was determined to change that. The woman I met was wearing a pink ribbon and I asked if she was a breast cancer survivor. She said, “Yes, I am, two years now. And this is my real hair—curly and gray—I just love it!" She twisted a curl around her finger and whsipered, “I always wanted curly hair, but I didn’t want it this way!” I smiled and said, “I’m a survivor too—twelve years now.” Tears made a path down her cheeks as she walked behind the counter and hugged me. “I’ve never met someone who has lived that long!” she said.
That took me back. I’ve lived that long (a good thing!), but then I remembered the first time I met someone who had lived 15 years and I did the exact same thing; I cried and then I hugged her.
Yesterday I had the rare privilege of being the “huggee” and not the “hugger.”
I think I flustered her a bit: my picture looks like something from Wally’s World, my street address is wrong, and my signature is hardly visible (so I guess I’ll be back to see her sooner rather than later).
One thing is different on my driver’s license this year: I am an organ donor! For some of you it’s no big deal, but for me it’s a very big deal. As a cancer survivor, it's the only thing I can donate! Sorry, that's all folks!
As I drove out of the parking lot with my new card I realized that when I stop celebrating birthdays, I will be able to give someone the gift of sight! I wish it could be more, but it’s all I have to give (two healthy corneas).
All the way home, I kept humming the song, “I can see clearly now..."