McHenry County Opinion

Oliver: Sometimes taking it one day at a time proves to be more than a mantra

Every morning, one of the first things I see is my coffee mug. It provides a little perspective along with the usual shot of caffeine.

It reads: “One day at a time.” It attributes the quote to Eleanor H. Porter, who is an American author who wrote the book “Pollyanna.”

As it is with a lot of these quasi-famous quotes, it’s hard to figure out exactly who said it. A quick Google search actually attributes the quote to Abraham Lincoln. Go figure.

However, the point isn’t who said it, but the thought behind it. The Bible has a similar thought as well. Every day has enough going on that it doesn’t help to worry about things in the future.

I needed that advice last week, particularly when the bad news of one day spilled over into the rest of the week.

Despite my best efforts to get my vehicle ready for this winter, I still wound up having to take our SUV in for an emergency repair.

I had noticed a leak on the driveway, but since it looked like water, I convinced myself that it really wasn’t anything to worry about. After all, I had just had the vehicle in for winterizing and new tires.

I really should listen to that niggling feeling that something is wrong. Then again, a lot of times, it’s just my worry getting the best of me.

This time, however, it was something. After a while, the vehicle started to sound a lot like a hydraulic forklift. Despite my angst about having to bring it back to the shop, I made the call.

Turns out, it was the power steering line. When I took it in, I was told the part wasn’t going to be available until almost a week later.

One would think that since I work from home and care for my husband with Alzheimer’s disease at home that I wouldn’t really miss having a vehicle. So not true.

At least one week a month is packed with appointments. Guess which week was the one without a car?

It took just about all of my energy not to panic when I was told that I shouldn’t drive the car while I waited for the part. Sadly, I didn’t get a whole lot of sympathy from the repair shop when I mentioned all the places I had to go. Not that I expected any.

After a few deep breaths, I figured I’d better formulate a plan. The appointments that could be moved would need to be.

The only appointment that I absolutely, positively cannot miss or move is my monthly trip to the oncologist. I must get an injection to keep my breast cancer from returning. I asked a friend who lives close to the doctor’s office for a ride. Happily, she was able to help me out.

I would also need some help getting home once I dropped the car off to be serviced. Back before Tony developed Alzheimer’s, he would just walk home, since the shop is all of about three blocks away from our house.

The shop might as well be in Greenland for how far away it feels when you don’t have the means to get there.

Then, in what amounts to Murphy’s law for the Olivers, I got a call that the part wasn’t in when it was promised. I could bring my car in later if I wanted.

Of course, that happened not long after I had to replace the original ride I had lined up with another when the first driver was having work done on her own car. My replacement ride wasn’t going to be available later in the day, so I just brought the SUV in when I had arranged to do so.

Given all the supply chain issue going on with automotive parts, I can hardly complain. The part arrived on the day I brought the SUV in, I managed to get a ride to go pick it up, and I’m back in business.

Here’s hoping this week, with all the rescheduled appointments, goes a little smoother.

If not, I guess I’ll be taking it one day at a time. Again.

Joan Oliver is the former Northwest Herald assistant news editor. She has been associated with the Northwest Herald since 1990. She can be reached at

Joan Oliver

Joan Oliver

A 30-year newspaper veteran who has been a copy editor, front-page editor, presentation editor, assistant news editor and publication editor, as well as a columnist and host of an online newspaper newscast.