Movin on with Nellie: Replace can’t-do with one small can-do after another

When I asked Patt Morgan-Lloyd what my column should be about this week, she said, “Write about what you used to be able to do and what you can’t do now.”  She added, “I know how to walk but I can’t walk right now.” 

As a mom, I know all moms have come upon this quagmire before. Remember, for instance, when you had all the diapers packed for the trip to church? Then as you are heading out the door, you smell it.  Your baby’s movement is overpowering and so, back in you go to change and redress your infant.  Getting to the church on time has new meaning.

What about the time your SUV spews smoke on I-25 and shuts down just as you pull over to the side?  You know instinctually that you’re not going to make it to the dentist appointment.  Then, thankfully that real-life angel Christian Radio Personality saw what was happening and offered you a lift to the closest garage. Automobile troubles, in my experience, have been the number one reason I can’t do what I knew I could do before the auto woes pushed-pulled-dragged me from my set goal. Oh, and yeah, that was BEFORE cell phones, so you had to use the garage wall phone to let the dentist know you can’t make it.  It’s a double twang, too, since the next available appointment is out two or three months. Drats!

When I was younger, I could pedal fast on my 10 speed, now I can’t do that because I lose my breath.  I’ve resorted to using a walker when I’m out and about so that I can sit down and catch my breath before I roll on. I remember riding my bike from one end of the 10-mile-long sea wall to the other by Sixty-First in Galveston. Even though the island is at sea level, that activity is no longer in my repertoire.

Along with what I can’t do anymore is a new “I can do that.”

I can sit in my captain’s chair and paint. I can use my TV photo app to bring up the photo I’m painting from.  I can no longer climb the Garden of the Gods to a perfect “en plein air” seating to water color; but I can use my phone to snap pictures of scenery and wild life.

I can’t sit all day in a newsroom and write; but I can write a weekly column.  And this column is one.  How am I doing?

I can help Cats Alive SLV and Alpha Humane League raise money for the domestic but feral cats in our communities. However, I no longer have the physical stamina to set live traps with food, deliver to Monte Vista Vet Clinic for neutering and release back to their colonies. Yet, I can ask for volunteers to donate time, funds, food and supplies to Cats Alive SLV at [email protected] or 719-298-7028 and send thank you notes to donors. Readers: your donations are powerful tools to stop the over-population of abandoned and feral community cats.

So, it turns out, I can’t do what I used to do, like leap tall buildings in a single bound while chopping salad and folding laundry; but I can, like you, make a difference in the world with one small can-do after another.

—Nelda Curtiss is a former substance-prevention media specialist, journalist, and retired college professor who enjoys writing and fine arts. Contact her at [email protected] an’