By Barbara Russek

I had recently been having more downs than ups on the roller coaster of life. With ambivalent feelings, I decided to read the fortune in the cookie I got at the Chinese restaurant. On one hand I wanted hope for the future but was also sure my fortune would be the usual glowing if unrealistic prediction. I would:

*Come into a great amount of money. (Impossible, I hadn’t bought any lottery tickets.)


*Take a trip around the world. (The pandemic had shut down my international travel plans last summer.)

Maybe even

*Discover a cure for COVID. (Unlikely, as I practically faint at the thought of the most minor medical procedure.)

But this fortune was different. It hit at the heart of the issues I was experiencing, yet ended on a positive note. It read:

Persevere.This is just a bump in the road.

The words written on that tiny scrap of paper gave me an extra ounce of courage and optimism to face the future. I put that fortune in my purse, anxious to see what early 2022 had in store.The old saying goes that good things often come in threes.Thanks to some renewed effort on my part, that is exactly what happened.

The first good thing started with a minor calamity. I had carelessly thrown two twenty dollar bills in my purse, instead of placing them neatly in the wallet section. When I went to pay for my lunch at Whole Foods, they were nowhere to be found. I looked around, didn’t see them on the floor and hoped they’d be in the car or at home. I had lunch thanks to my debit card, all the while wondering where those two bills might be. Checking out the car and practically turning the house upside down revealed no missing cash.

Remembering the fortune cookie’s directive, Persevere, I called customer service of Whole Foods on the slim chance that someone had turned them in. Feeling a bit foolish while punching in the number, I asked myself: Outside of some saintly samaritan, who finds cash and then turns it in? When I told the customer service rep of my dilemma, he gave me the good news. “Those two twenties are waiting for you here at the cs counter.” In spite of the odds stacked against me, I made the call and my lost money was found.

I had visited Chris Bubany Artists, a gallery co-op in late December, where my attention was drawn to one particular piece of art. I loved many things about this piece, named Indigenous Magic, including the predominantly turquoise color (my favorite) and the fact that this native american-themed creation was made with all recycled materials. Nevertheless, it was a bit too rich for my blood.
The co-op was holding a drawing for $25-$50 off various pieces of art. I took a minute to fill out the entry form and put it in the box, then promptly forgot about it.

About a week or so later I got a call from Jackie at the gallery. I had won a gift card for $50 off the very art piece I wanted.

Even though I had won the gift card, this objet d’art was still a bit too pricey. Nevertheless, I decided to take another look at it.
While driving to the gallery, I was listening to my favorite radio station, KGVY in Green Valley. Twice a day the announcer spins the station’s sponsor wheel. The caller who correctly identifies the sponsor where the wheel stops wins the amount in the pot. I decided to pull over and call the station. I was the first caller and chose Mobile Meals. Hallelujah! The sponsor wheel stopped right on Mobile Meals. I won $71, drove to the gallery and bought the piece.
A simple fortune cookie had inspired me to make a little effort on a few occasions and good things happened. Since that time, life has gone on, with its usual challenges and the occasional minor victory. It’s during those challenging times when, like a computer, my emotional tool box needs refreshing, that the words on the fortune cookie come back to me:

Persevere.This is only a glitch in the road.

I would love to know some of the wise words that make a positive difference in your life. Please email me at

Barbara Russek is a freelance writer.

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