30

 

30

On July 1st in 1985, Canada celebrated its 118 birthday, the VPs at Commodore were looking for a scapegoat because the tablecloths they had ordered for the massive launch of the Amiga were the wrong colour and no on thought they could be replaced in time, and Meredith calmly and with great presence invited Barney Falls to leave her home. She didn’t t need a shotgun, although the Hendersons had suggested it. She didn’t need Armand, although he had insisted to the point that Meredith had to remind him it was her home and her problem and she had her own way of doing things. She didn’t even need the drink that the mayor had offered from his big desk drawer, although she took it to be polite. All that she needed, all she had ever needed, was her dignity, her self-assurance and the knowledge that simply by acting she could and would affect the outcome.

This is not to say she wasn’t scared. She was terrified in a way she had not yet experienced in all her years. But she truly believed FDR’s views on the nature of fear and rarely let it do anything but provide energy and forward momentum toward eliminating whatever source of fear she encountered.

Barney was out in the shop as he regularly was. She asked a few times what he found to do out there, but he’d just smiled and said it was a quiet place to think. Meredith hadn’t used it for much beyond storing the truck on those days the temperature sank below minus 30, so she had been content to let him have his privacy. Until yesterday.

Meredith believed in people. She believed in the community of people. She believed in their power to do good. No matter whether they were alcoholics or homeless, arrogant or ignorant, Meredith lived a life in which people created the world around them and the world that Meredith lived in was a good one. And she thanked the people for that and tried her best to respect their necessities. But everyone had a line. Some people believed they were flexible, that their line was a zone that shifted with their circumstances. While that zone might or might not exist, the line always did. At some point every soul that ever existed judged someone else as having crossed the line, and then acted.

Some lash out unthinkingly, some retaliate in a quite thoughtful manner, some just move out of the way. But at some point even the most forgiving and pacifistic spirit will be roused to action. And today, after much thought and consul, Meredith was acting.