Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Home At Last

Day Seven:

It appears it’s just as difficult to get out of the hospital as it is to get in... or more so!  I read on an Internet site that, once discharged, most patients leave the hospital before 11am. This didn’t happen with us.

My son called me last night to report that the doctor had told him, “If all goes well, I’ll let you go home tomorrow morning.” He was elated! Seems the bleeding had been stopped, he was eating well and all that was left was to get his Coumadin regulated again. He didn’t see the need to lie in a hospital bed, feeling reasonably good again, for the sole purpose of taking one pill a day. So he told the doctor he could do this at home while comfortable, taking care of things and feeding his cat. The doctor wasn’t thrilled about it, but finally, after much cajoling from my son, agreed.

My son asked me to get up early because the doctor visits early and, “I’ll be anxious to get home,” he said. I agreed... dreading it because I had already been getting up early and staying up late for a week! But telling myself this wouldn’t take long and I may even get to come home and take a nap, I got up and got ready to go.

I was ready by ten a.m. (early for me), but decided to call first and see if all the paperwork had been done and if he was indeed ready to leave. But I learned that the doctor hadn’t been there to fill out the papers and, while all the nurses knew he was leaving today, nothing had been done to hasten that event. I said, “I’ll come on over in a little while and perhaps the doctor will have been there by the time I get there.” Ha!

I moseyed over a little after noon. He’d just finished lunch. He hadn’t seen hide nor hair of the doctor! We waited. I drank the cup of yucky coffee on his lunch tray just because it was warm. He doesn’t drink the stuff. And we waited.

Around one-thirty, I made a trip to the nurse’s station, where there were no smiling faces. I wondered why all those young faces were so glum.“This hospital could certainly use some personnel with some sparkle,” I thought. I asked one of them if anyone had any idea when my son would get to leave. “His doctor told him he could go this morning!” I stressed.

A young lady went to the files, did some checking and informed me that the doctor hadn’t filled out his papers yet (that much I knew); she said that nothing could be done until he did. I thanked her and walked away muttering not so pretty things under my breath.

Back in the room, I paced the floor, my jacket around my shoulders, but still freezing. I made several trips to the restroom – not because I had to go, but because it was the warmest room I could find. It’s a good thing there were two on every floor, because I definitely monopolized that particular one all day!

At two-o’clock, I called the doctor’s office. His office girl, who does have a pleasing personality, said he would be seeing patient’s until three-o’clock and then he would be going to the hospital. That gave us some encouragement! We watched the clock and counted the minutes until three... and then, we expected him to be there in thirty minutes or less. We finally had reason to be excited. By this time, I was so cold that I envisioned the room an ice encrusted room from a scene in Dr. Zhivago! After spending another ten minutes in the restroom getting slightly warm, I leaned back in the recliner, covered myself with a blanket and closed my eyes - determined to relax.

But the doctor didn't get there at three-thirty. Or four o'clock. Or five o'clock!

At five-thirty, the door opened. A smiling doctor entered and walked toward us asking, “Are you waiting?”  Hmmmm – don’t think I’ll comment; it would surely not be pleasant. So I kept quiet. Dinner was delivered and my son decided he'd eat it since it was there. The doctor had already done the paper work; he gave my son a few instructions and we were on our way – or so we thought! 

All smiles once more, we were getting his things ready when a nurse came in. She said, “Going home, huh?” Someday, I thought, but like a good little girl, I kept quiet. My son is so pleasant natured that he’d earned the reputation as the nicest patient on the floor, and I was sure he didn’t want Mama to ruin it for him. But it was difficult!  Needless to say, he didn’t inherit his even temper from me.

Then the nurse informed us that the doctor wanted him to have his Coumadin before going home. Trouble is – it hadn’t been sent up from the pharmacy yet. How long did that take? You ask. Another hour, if you can believe it. At six-forty-five, we were still waiting, me biting my lip, my son continuing to smile. A technician entered to take his blood pressure. Once again, “Oh, you’re going home!” That was it! I just couldn’t take it anymore! I said, “He’s been trying to do that since nine-o’clock this morning!” Her smile faded as she finished the task at hand. “What has happened here today will make a nice write-up for the newspaper,” I added. She left without a word.

Two minutes, tops, passed. A nurse walked in, all smiles, papers in hand, retrieved a Coumadin pill from a cabinet, gave it to him and then explained his discharge papers and instructed him where to sign them.

I left to get the car and she brought him to it in a wheelchair. It was done! She and my son exchanged nice good-byes and we drove away. 

It was almost eight p.m. when I delivered him to his home – about ten hours later than it should have been! I see no excuse for this kind of delay in getting someone released from the hospital!

But unfortunately, there is nothing to be done. It seems we are at their mercy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

That's Scary! Part II

Day  Six:

Lest anyone thinks I’m reporting only on ditzy blonde female nurses, I'd like to make it clear that today; my scary story is about a male nurse.

He arrived on the scene early this morning and introduced himself to my son as, Joe, his nurse for the day. He proceeded to make conversation about being a Vietnam veteran who wondered why he became a nurse considering the horrendous things he saw in the war. Why indeed?

After doing the necessary things for the patient, he decided it was time to take down the antibiotic drip and start a new one, even though the old one wasn’t finished. My son, seeing dollar signs, said, “It drips very slowly. It probably has another hour to go.” But Joe insisted, “No, I’d better change it!”

So, he pulled the old one off the hook, grabbed a new bag nearby and somehow, while getting it ready to hang, he ripped it. Didn’t bother Joe. He merely pulled off some clear tape, mended the tear and hung the bag anyway. When it starting dripping, he unrolled a big wad of paper towels and laid them on the floor underneath the bag to catch the drip. Problem solved!

But not for long. In a very short time, the loud dinger started going off to alert the staff that the bag was empty again! It was replaced - by someone else -thank goodness, leaving my son with the thought that he would pay for two wasted bags of antibiotics due to Joe’s carelessness.

Does anyone wonder why insurance rates are so high?

That's Scary!

Scary things happen at hospitals. Here’s one episode among many in the five days my son has been there.

This morning, there was a bag of iron hanging on the pole beside his bed. It was being delivered intravenously to his body. A nurse came in and said, "You're not supposed to be getting blood." My son said, "I'm not, it's iron." She said, "No, honey, that's blood." She removed it from the pole and left with it. A little later, another nurse came in, looked at the empty pole and said, "Where's your iron?" He said, "Another nurse took it." She shook her head, sighed loudly and stomped out, but came back later with another bag of iron and started all over again. It would be funny if it weren’t so scary!  

He went into this hospital on Wednesday evening. After checking his hemoglobin, they realized he was losing a lot of blood. So they started blood and plasma. Almost forty-eight hours and six units of blood later, when they saw that the hemoglobin hadn’t gone up, they finally got around to checking to see where the blood was coming from! The doctor admitted after two days and two Endoscopies that, when he found the ruptured artery, blood was “gushing!” Scary! He wasn’t really sure he had fixed it either because he had a surgeon standing by just in case.

They aren’t saying when my son will be released, but I hope it’s soon. He just may be better off at home taking care of himself than staying in a hospital where one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Maybe Later

This morning, someone said to me, “I’ll bet you’re exhausted, aren’t you?”  The words that automatically came from my mouth surprised even me!  I said, “Actually, I don’t have time to be exhausted!”

My son was taken to the hospital four days ago in an ambulance, and it’s been quite harrowing at times ever since. To start with, he had a heart valve replacement about two and a half years ago – so any time something goes wrong with him, we get concerned that it involves that valve. But it usually doesn’t. This time, he was hemorrhaging from the stomach quite profusely!  When I called the ambulance, he was so weak he couldn’t sit or stand.

In the ER, a lot of tests were done, blood and plasma started and he was finally admitted.

Once in a room of his own, there were a million questions asked, more testing, blood and plasma continued and no food. On the evening of the second day, his fever went so high, they packed him in ice. It was very frightening! Then it was determined that his body was rejecting the blood and it had to be stopped. But doctors don’t study for so many years to no avail. They knew just what to do. He was given drugs that helped his body accept the blood and it was started again. But his hemoglobin did not go up... so they knew there was still a problem.

He was taken for an Endoscopy where it was discovered that an artery had ruptured and was bleeding badly. Because of its size, they feared cauterizing would not take care of it, so they used a metal clip to hold it together. A surgeon was alerted to be on call in case the clip didn’t work and the next step would be to go in and close the opening surgically. This was scary, too!

At long last, just this morning, the surgeon talked to my son and told him that it appeared surgery would not be necessary. To top that, the Endoscopy was repeated to be certain everything was alright... and it was. There was no more bleeding. We are thankful! Hopefully, he will get some real food today, his Coumadin will be started back, and he will be able to go home soon.

I have spent long hours sitting by his bed and walking hospital corridors praying. Even when I’d go home for a few hours sleep, it was hard to completely relax and sleep soundly. There was always one ear on the phone.  Only another mother would understand this.

Just as another mother would understand that – until it is completely over and I feel confident there will be no more surprises... I don’t have the time to be exhausted! Maybe later.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Two Aunts

I have two aunts. I’ve always loved them both. They loved me, too. One of them still does. 

We are born into love, and we grow up believing we’ll always have that love. Our parents love us; our siblings love us; aunts, uncles and cousins love us; we are taught to believe in a God who loves us, and if we’re lucky, we grow up and meet someone who loves us enough to make a wonderful life with us.

So with all that love surrounding a person his/her whole life, how does one suddenly stop loving? Is it possible they were never able to love? Perhaps they don’t love because they never felt loved themselves. Do some people miss out on the most important emotion of all?

Someone once said, “Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than to risk hurting yourself trying to put them back together.”

That said, I’ll tell you about my other aunt.

There’s no lack of love in her life! Everyone loves Aunt Bea. And she loves them back. She never complains about how she feels, but is always interested in how everyone else is. She really cares!

My husband and I are going to visit her soon! She’s so happy we’re coming. She will clean and cook and prepare all week for our visit. We’re looking forward to a wonderful visit with her. We’ll help her do some things to improve the way her computer performs. She’ll walk me all over her large yard showing me the beautiful flowers she planted in the spring and lovingly cared for all through the hot summer. Though I hardly know one flower from another, I’ll Oooo and Ahhh over each one just to see the pleased look on her sweet face. We’ll enjoy good food and good conversation and stay up later than we should.

It will be a pleasant few days. No doubt about it! And as we say our good-byes, Aunt Bea will hug me and tell me she loves me no less than five times, then stand on her front porch smiling and waving until we’re out of sight. That's the kind of aunt she is!

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Am Amazed!

“So long as one continues to be amazed, one can delay growing old.” 

As I pondered this quote, I asked myself if I am amazed about anything. It didn’t take long for the answer to come to me. Almost everything amazes me!

The fact that the sun comes up every morning and goes down every evening amazes me.

I am totally amazed by a full moon... especially over the ocean. I can think of nothing more amazing than the way the bright light dances on the waves as they roll in, kiss the shore and quickly leave again.

A newborn baby amazes me! Such perfection and innocence goes beyond amazement - all the way to incredulous!

Children of all ages amaze me. Their excitement and enthusiasm for life should be contagious - like a cold!

I am amazed by the elderly, too. They are also enthusiastic, but bolder. They have to be. Time is of the essence.

Animals amaze me – all of them: Dogs, cats, squirrels, rabbits. They take life as it comes and give much more than they get. We all receive joy from just watching them.

Bears amaze me. I love bears! I've always wished I could make friends with a big, black, fuzzy bear, but knowing I'd probably become his dinner if I tried, has deterred me.

I am amazed by the size of elephants... 13,000 pounds or more... and the fact that they are reported to live for seventy or eighty years. 

I was amazed to learn when I was very young that broken hearts really do heal. It just takes time.

I am amazed that, even at my age, I still have a lot to learn...

And even more amazed that I really want to keep learning.

I never stop being amazed at the Internet! It is the essence of infinity!

The list is endless. I could go on and on.

Actually, if the above quote is true, I should live a very long life. In fact, I may grow very old while composing a list of things that amaze me!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Cabin In The Woods - Part 2

A while back, I wrote about an enjoyable weekend my husband and I shared with other family members at a cabin in the North Carolina mountains. Must be the time of year that causes me to keep thinking about that trip... 

On the day we were to go home, the weather was perfect. Nobody wanted to get in their car and drive away. So after we got all our stuff packed up, we decided to prolong the inevitable by going for a short hike in the woods. Tramping around in the mountains takes me back to my roots and I loved it!

As we walked, someone commented how nice it would be to spend an old fashioned Christmas at a place like this. Noticing little "Charlie Brown" trees growing here and there, I said, “Wouldn’t it be fun to take one of those to the cabin and let the kids decorate it with strings of popcorn and other old fashioned things?” They would enjoy it, although they probably wouldn't understand the concept. Today’s kids are used to perfectly shaped Christmas trees thematically decorated with expensive color coordinated ornaments. But we agreed it would be good for them to get a taste of what Christmas was like in their grandparents’ time.

Feeling much younger than my age, I bounced along with the youngsters, having no trouble keeping up, until I hit a patch of wet leaves hiding underneath some dry crackly ones. I slipped and went down hard on my derrière and left elbow. The pain was horrific and for a few seconds, I thought I was really hurt. I at once had visions of hospitals, doctors and therapy, since that scene was still fresh in my mind from my mother’s not too long ago fall and broken hip.

My daughter, who gets very excited when someone’s hurt, started yelling hysterically for her husband, who was up ahead leading the pack. He came running back and, although I felt like I couldn't move, I forced myself to move around while laughing at the same time, hoping to allay their fears that Mama was down for the count. My daughter said, "What hurts?" I told her the only place I could feel real pain was in my elbow. But after bending it back and forth a few times, we decided it wasn't broken and they helped me to my feet. I wanted to go on with the hike, but they wouldn't hear of it and insisted on going back to the cabin. Of course, this didn't bother the kids any because they were tired and thirsty and whining a little anyway. We had gone at least a mile, maybe more.

By the time we got back to the cabin, my elbow was blue and had a big swollen area the size of an egg. My Mother Hen daughter started making like a nursemaid, wanting to put ice on it, etc., but I assured her that I could make it home with a swollen elbow and it would be okay. So... we did last minute things and locked up the cabin. Outside, we took group pictures to treasure for the rest of our years, gave hugs, said our good-bye's... and left... waving from car to car as far as we could, until, at the forks of the road, our two cars turned in opposite directions. It was a little depressing, as it always is, to say good-bye to loved ones after spending quality time together.

Even with the swollen elbow that turned from blue to purple to green to yellow over the next week or so, this last beautiful day topped off an already wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Change Is In The Air

The chill of the morning air is as exhilarating as good news. Nights are even chillier. It is mid-September. The days are sunny and bright, yet there is a stillness that didn't exist a month ago. A feeling of expectancy. Perhaps nobody else notices, but I am so attuned to the seasons that every little change affects me - especially at this time of year.

Today, as I ponder the many upcoming changes, I'm thinking it'll soon be time to plant tulip, daffodil and crocus bulbs. I know that, in the deep of winter when the snow flies, I'll smile as I envision the glorious flower garden that will appear in the early spring.

In anticipation of my favorite month, October, I impatiently await the pumpkins, gourds and mums that will soon appear on doorsteps along with scarecrows made from dried cornstalks and straw; I wait for heavy dew that makes everything twinkle in the morning sunlight, and most of all, I look forward to the magnificently colored foliage that gives off a special warm glow! November, Thanksgiving month, will be the usual heartwarming family time that is so rewarding and memorable, and the frantically busy month of December will no doubt deliver all the joys and happiness that we have come to expect?

Many changes are on the way. They are good changes. We must welcome the turning points in our lives that bring new opportunities to recognize, accept and experience the good that awaits us.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Important Stuff

From time to time I look through my computer files to see if there's anything I can live without. I often find things that can be deleted, but more often, I find things I haven't seen for a long time and wonder why I saved them in the first place.

This was the case tonight when I ran across the following poem in a folder named IMPORTANT STUFF. It has no title or author. If anyone knows the poem and its missing details, I'd appreciate the information.

I dreamed death came the other night,
And heaven's gate swung wide.

 With kindly grace an angel came  
 And ushered me inside.

 And there, to my astonishment  
 Stood folks I'd known on earth.

 Some I had judged "most unfit"
 And others of "little worth."

 Indignant words rose to my lips  
 But never were set free.

 For everyone showed stunned surprise,
 No one expected me! 

Monday, September 13, 2010

No Time To Waste

I haven’t been around for a couple of days. I’ve been ailing. I’m still not cooking on all four burners, but feeling a little better, thank you. It’s a good thing, too! My family couldn’t take much more. 

I admit it. I’m a terrible sick person! I feel good most of the time and enjoy my life so much that when I don’t feel up to par, I get a little cranky. Just don’t have the time to waste! There's a lot to do and not an overabundance of time left to accomplish it. So when I have to take a few days off, it makes me angry! 

I don’t even like to waste valuable time going to bed at night. It’s usually at least three a.m., but most often, four when I pull the covers over my face and give up for a few hours. 

I know what you’re thinking: “No wonder you’re sick; you need sleep!”

I know, I know! I'm gonna change one of these days. 

I often ponder about how short life is. And how precious! Someone very close to our family who seemed to have everything to live for, was alone one night, phoned her only sibling, discussed her unhappiness for a while and then put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger. She was forty-three years old. What a sad waste of life! A permanent solution to a temporary problem, suicide.

We all feel overwhelmed by difficult emotions or circumstances sometimes. People who attempt suicide are often trying to get away from a life situation that seems impossible. But most people can put their problems in perspective and find a way to carry on.

So why does one person try suicide when another person in the same situation does not?

Any comments on this subject? 

Friday, September 10, 2010

One Of Those Days

Do you ever have a day when everything seems to go wrong from start to finish? Yesterday was one of those days for me. To start with, I didn’t feel well. In fact, I felt lousy! I had felt this way for several days before finally deciding to see my doctor who dubbed the condition sinusitis and prescribed antibiotics. The first dose was helpful, but far from an instant cure. The misery persisted.

But even as I longed to curl up in my warm bed and get some much-needed rest, I attempted to fix dinner for my husband and me. With the wonderful aroma of mouth-watering spaghetti sauce drifting through the house, I reached up in the cabinet to get a box of spaghetti, and was stunned when, as I pulled the box toward me, the bottom dropped open and thin spaghetti rained down all over my kitchen! Every last piece of it was on the floor, under cabinets, inside the heating vent and who knows where else? I’ll find it later.  

The two of us frantically began picking up handfuls of the uncooked pasta and depositing it in the trash can (who wants spaghetti laced with cat hair?) But then, another surprise! Suddenly aware that the spaghetti I had in my hand was dripping wet, I found a small puddle of water creeping out from under the refrigerator! What else could happen? This wasn’t the first time we’d been betrayed by this huge fair-weather friend whose sole purpose is to stand there day in and day out loyally preserving our food without complaining.

Feeling overwhelmed, I stomped my foot and yelled, “If anything else happens, I’m leaving!” It was one of those times when something stupid came out of my mouth that I instantly wished I could take back, but unfortunately, words once uttered cannot be retrieved.

So ... still feeling lousy, dinner very late, and refrigerator repairs necessary asap, I felt like going to bed and hiding under the covers until it was safe to come out. But I didn’t. Instead, I helped discard the rest of the widely scattered spaghetti, wiped up the water, put a heavy towel down to soak up any further drainage from the fridge, and ate dinner with my husband.

I wonder... why do we always laugh when days like this are behind us? Just think how much nicer it would be if we could see the humor at the time.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


 I had a sister once… for a few hours.

It was a sweltering July morning when my father gave me the news that my mother had just had a baby! Just like that… there was no leading up to it. I had no idea she was pregnant. I rushed to the hospital to see my mother and new baby sister… only to find that the tiny infant wasn’t expected to live. My mother had been told when I was born that she shouldn’t have any more children… but she ignored the advice. Little Candice Jo lived only nine hours.

For some reason, I’m thinking about her on this lovely fall-like afternoon. She would have been eighteen years younger than I am, but at least I would have had a sibling.

I’ve never minded being an “only” child; in fact, I’ve enjoyed it. When people ask, “How does it feel to grow up without brothers and sisters?” I always answer, “Great! I loved it.”

But perhaps getting older makes us think more about family and what might have been. Maybe we need to be close to as many people as possible as we age.

Whatever the reason, I’m feeling a little sentimental today. The changing of the seasons always does that to me. I tend to withdraw into my own world, blocking out everything except the splendor of the season, my thoughts, and my relationship with God. It is a time for reflecting on what was, and is, and is to be. But mostly for enjoying the beauty of this very moment!

I wonder... With so much difference in our ages, would Candy Jo and I have been close?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September 7th

What can I say about the 7th day of September, 2010? My Weather Watcher on my computer says the temperature is back up to 92 degrees, much to my disappointment! I think I’ve made it perfectly clear that I’m waiting impatiently for cooler weather – more specifically, October. Until then, I find myself bored. While I wait, I'll share some trivia about September 7th.

On this day in history:

1916 - The New York Giants started setting a major league baseball record when they won the first of 26 consecutive games.

1921 - In Atlantic City, New Jersey, the first Miss America pageant was held. The first "Miss America" was sixteen-year-old Margaret Gorman. She was blonde, 5'1" tall, 108 pounds, and her figure measured 30-25-32. Atlantic City businessmen and reporters concocted the beauty contest to encourage tourists to stay in town beyond the Labor Day weekend.

1940 - In World War II, the German air force under Hermann Goering began its "Blitz" bombing campaign on London. More than 300 people were killed on this day alone.

1963 - In Canton, Ohio, the Pro Football Hall of Fame was dedicated.

1966 - The last new episode of the "The Dick Van Dyke Show" aired on CBS-TV. Van Dyke played Rob Petrie, head comedy writer for "The Alan Brady Show". Rob worked with two other comedy writers, Sally (Rose Marie) and Buddy (Morey Amsterdam), both good friends of Rob and his wife Laura, played by Mary Tyler Moore. "The Dick Van Dyke Show" still lives in reruns.

1975 - The Cincinnati Reds won the National League West division title. The Big Red Machine set records when they won the division this early in the season and also got at record for winning it by 20 games.

1975 - Steve Anderson set a guitar picking record. Anderson, 22, picked his guitar for 114 hours, 7 minutes, breaking the previous record by over four hours.

1978 - Keith Moon, drummer with British rock group The Who, died after a drug overdose.

1978 - Former Beatle George Harrison married Olivia Arias.

1984 - The first Platinum charge card was issued by the American Express Company. Customers who paid $250 a year were able to charge over $10,000.

1986 - Miami Dolphin Dan Marino threw his 100th career touchdown pass, in his 44th NFL game, setting a record. The Dolphins still lost to the San Diego Chargers, 50-28.

1986 - After only three plays in the season, Chicago Bears vs. Cleveland Browns, the new instant replay rule was put to the test. The rule, tossed out by the NFL, allowed an observer in the press box to overrule an official’s call.

Hope you paid attention.  There’ll be a quiz tomorrow!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Rose and the Red Slippers

~Published in the Charleston Gazette - Sunday, June 7, 2009~

Many years ago, a minor ailment sent me to the hospital for a few days. I was escorted to a semi-private room where I met my roommate, an attractive sixty-ish woman named Rose. My husband placed my robe across the foot of my bed and positioned my new red house slippers on the floor beside the bed where they were convenient for me to step into if need be.

Not feeling well, I wanted to rest, so my husband said “goodnight” and left.  But Rose wanted to talk… asking the usual questions: “Where do you live?  Do you work? How many children do you have?” But mostly, she wanted to talk about how much she liked my red slippers. She said, “I love your slippers! They match my robe.” And, sure enough, there on her bed lay a beautiful bright red robe.

 When I awoke the next morning, the first thing Rose said to me was, “What size 
are your slippers?” I told her they were size five and a half, and she said, “Well, they won’t fit me then; I wear a seven. I kept thinking... “why is this woman so interested in my slippers?”

After breakfast, I slept again. When I awoke this time, I needed to go to the bathroom so I sat up on the side of the bed, ready to put my feet into my slippers, but they weren’t the way my husband had left them; they were turned away from me... toward Rose.

 I looked over at her. Turning a little red, she said sheepishly, “I tried your slippers on while you were asleep. They DO fit me!” A little agitated, I thought, “
No way.
A size five and a half shoe absolutely will not fit a size seven foot!”

When the day finally came for me to go home and I placed my suitcase on the bed to pack, I picked up the red slippers and put them in last. When I was ready to close the case, I looked at Rose and she was gazing longingly at the slippers. I felt guilty! Inaudibly, I muttered,
“Lord, these slippers are brand new and I like them!”

But I knew that He was nudging me, and felt sure that Rose’s ardent affection for my slippers was not going away. So I took them out of the case and asked, “Do you want these?” She flashed a big smile and said, “I’d love to have them; they match my robe!” When I walked over to the bed and handed them to her, she reached out, hugged me tightly and kissed me on the cheek. My husband came then, Rose and I said our good-byes and I left, never to see her or the slippers again.

Three months later, I read Rose’s obituary in our local newspaper. I’ll never understand her fascination with a pair of red slippers that weren’t even the right size, but I’m thankful that I gave them to her. I pray that, somehow, they made Rose’s last three months a little happier.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

But First...

My husband often asks, "Why don't you finish one thing before you start something new?" My answer is, "I try, but there are always so many things to do!"

Just this morning, I went to my laundry room, where we keep a large freezer, to get meat for dinner. “But first, I’ll scoop the cat box and put a load of clothes in the washer.” I thought. While scooping and cleaning up litter from the floor, I heard the mail carrier stop at our mailbox and went to see what he’d left.

Before going back in the house, I checked my flower garden and, yep, it needed water. So I put the mail right inside the door and went to the garage to get my watering can. The broom we keep there reminded me that I had been wanting to do some cleanup on the patio.

I grabbed the broom and started around the house, stepping on Iris leaves that had drooped over the walk. The rain had made them slippery, and, fearing someone would fall, I went back to the garage to get my shears. I cut the leaves back a bit, picked up the cuttings and carried them to the garbage can, then found my broom leaning against the house, where I’d propped it, and went to sweep the patio.

On my way to the garage to put the broom back, a neighbor spoke, and I stopped to chat about the weather, the price of gasoline and other things of interest.

I watered my plants and went back into the house, and remembered that I hadn’t put the clothes in the washer. “I’ll go do that; but first, I want to look at the mail.” I thought. Most of it was junk and filed in the trash can, but I put a few things aside to look at later.

On my way to the laundry room, the phone rang. Answering to hear my daughter sounding very upset gave me a start until she quickly assured me that everything was fine. She was just having a bad day with her two children and wanted to take a break! I brewed a cup of tea and we talked for thirty minutes.

Forgetting about my laundry, I went to the kitchen to make some decisions about dinner, but first, decided to look at the mail I had put aside earlier. As I picked up the first letter, I heard “ding” on my laptop. I had just received mail. I walked over to see who it was from and, wow! I had lots of e-mail! Looking at the clock and noting that it was only two-thirty, I decided I had a little time to answer mail before starting dinner.

After looking at the e-mail and answering the most important ones, I said, “I’ve got time to do a little dusting if I hurry.” Feather duster in hand, I noticed at once that there were too many magazines on my coffee table, and decided to weed them out; “but first, I’d better cut those articles I want to keep,” I thought.

Sitting on the floor, surrounded by piles of magazines marked; Throw Away.  Keep. Cut Articles… I felt a little annoyed when my husband appeared and asked, “What’s for dinner?”

 “Chops," I answered curtly. "I’ll start cooking as soon as I finish this!” He left the room.

Suddenly feeling guilty, I put the magazines aside, vowing to get back to them after dinner, and went into the kitchen to cook—“but first, I’d better put those clothes in the washer.”

That finally done, I went back to the kitchen. Surprised and exasperated, I yelled, “What happened to the pork chops I got out of the freezer this morning?”

Rushing in, my husband said, “Are you sure you got them?”

“Of course I’m sure! Let’s see... I opened the freezer door; noticed the cat box needed attention; heard the mailman, and then… Uh-Oh!”

Eyeing the clock, which now read 5:30, I said, “It’ll be a late dinner if I thaw and cook meat now!”

There was a long silence.

“We could have pizza,” I said sheepishly.

Another long silence... and then a weak, “Okay.”

“I’ll call Pizza Hut… but first…”

I’ll do it myself!” he snapped.

Have you ever noticed how grouchy men get when they’re hungry?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Kindred Spirits

I talked to an old friend last night. We hadn’t talked for quite a while and it was nice to hear her voice.  Ours is the kind of friendship that – no matter how long we’re apart – it never seems awkward when we speak or see each other again. We literally finish each other’s sentences.

Carol and I met when we were seven years old. We lived on the same street in a small town. My house was the last one on a street that ended at the river. Hers was a few houses away. We had some enjoyable times just sitting on the riverbank dangling our feet in the cool water and talking.

We give the term, “we grew up together” a whole new meaning. We practically lived together until we reached dating age and the company of our current boyfriend took precedence over our being together. But we still spent hours talking on the phone about our dates, clothes, hairdos and all the other things teen-aged girls talk about.

We got married a year apart and had our children in the same time period... and although her husband’s job required them to move, taking her far away many years ago, we’ve never lost touch. Sometimes we get busy with our families and don’t talk for a good while, but each of us knows when it’s time. Just when I’m thinking about calling her, the phone rings and there she is! Sometimes it happens in reverse. We are true kindred spirits!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sweet September

Ah, September!  Even as you signal the end of summer fun, I welcome you. As evenings grow shorter and cooler, children are nowhere to be seen or heard; the beginning of the school year enforces early baths and bedtime. I miss seeing them on bicycles, in pools, in their own back yards squealing as they pretend to dodge cool water from a sprinkler. Yes, I miss the kids... yet I welcome you.

Flower gardens wane; vegetable gardens flaunt their bounty; it’s harvest time. The sun is lower in the sky; days that were oppressive only a couple of weeks ago are suddenly bearable, though still sunny and warm, with nearly cloudless blue skies. Temperatures are dropping from fifteen to twenty degrees at night changing the air from warm to uncomfortably cool. The hum of crickets grows louder and fireflies have disappeared.

Ah, September, you are the doorway to the season that awakens my soul... and I welcome you enthusiastically! I invite you to stay a while, but I must confess that I love you only because you are a prelude to my beloved October.

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