Looking out my Backdoor: When life weaves magic


My son Ben lives in Poulsbo, a lovely town across the water from Seattle, where I lived with my family for 25 years. He sent the following email to me and it is a better story than any I could write.

He presents this story in a stream-of-consciousness way so I broke it into paragraphs. Otherwise, it is all Ben’s words, unedited.

Have you heard of the Coffee Oasis in Bremerton? A guy started it years ago. It gives homeless and people in recovery a chance to have a job and a home and support to get back on their feet. They have helped hundreds of people to transition back into life.

Anyway, the guy who started the place has been diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer and only has another twelve months or less. His family has been slowly building a lake house out in deep Belfair that they had planned to retire to someday.

Medical bills have drained their dream of finishing the place to a standstill. So my boss has been organizing work groups to volunteer and provide materials so they can finish the house and have a peaceful place for the last days of his life.

On Thursday a group of us went up to the Lake House and installed hardwood floors and finished the electric.

On the way up, my work truck started leaking antifreeze. By the time I got out to the house my engine was dumping fluid everywhere. So after we finished working there, I coaxed the truck back to my own garage.

Here is the place where life weaves everything together to someone’s perfect master plan.

A couple weeks ago Kristen had taken her Durango to Ken’s to get a list of what needs to be fixed. One of the biggest items needed was a water pump. So I ordered a water pump on Amazon and it has been sitting on our kitchen table unopened for the past couple weeks.

Turns out the water pump was what was wrong with my work truck and our two vehicles take the exact same part. My co-worker Bob is a grease monkey, so after volunteering to get the floors done, he came over and we spent the rest of the day into the night rebuilding the truck.

With taking the truck apart and putting it back together, we, of course, had to run to the auto store several times as we discovered parts that needed replacement.

My boss had given us some cash for our part in the Lake House project and after reordering Kristen’s water pump again, the day ended out almost exactly.

So the truck is now running fine, the Lake House is finished, parts are on the way for Kristen’s car and somehow it all ended up being a wash.

Hopefully that is not too confusing but I feel like life worked its magic and provided what was needed when it was needed.


Sondra Ashton grew up in Harlem but spent most of her adult life out of state. She returned to see the Hi-Line with a perspective of delight. After several years back in Harlem, Ashton is seeking new experiences in Etzatlan, Mexico. Once a Montanan, always. Read Ashton’s essays and other work at montanatumbleweed.blogspot.com. Email [email protected]


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