Wednesday, September 12, 2018


As we sat in the waiting room of the Orthopedic surgeon Hubby was due to see, I looked at him and said with a wry smile, "Tell me again why we were in such a big hurry to grow up when we were kids?  Why doesn't anyone ever tell you this part?"

You know, the part where your parts start to kink, wrinkle and fail.  At least now many of them can now be replaced.  I'm sure some day, they'll just take a few cells from your body and grow a new "whatever" you need fixed. 

Hubby nodded with that expression of someone in pain who is trying to remain upbeat.  He has a high pain threshold...but I've known him since he was 17, so I can take one look in his eyes and discover the truth.  Four years ago this surgeon replaced both of his knees, about three months apart.  The surgeon remarked at the time on how dense Hubby's bones were...joking that he went through 2 saw blades for the first surgery, making him buy "diamond tip blades" for the second.

We ran the gauntlet of the world's longest fill-in-the-blank medical questionnaire   (so long that Hubby said, "You know the answers.  Let me know if something stumps you."), to the "let's talk payment plan", being weighed, x-rayed and talking to the P.A., who we knew from the previous surgeries.  (And yes, they allowed me to go back with him, which meant I got to listen to 10 minutes of hunting stories before a plan was made.)

Oddly enough, it was the "payment plan" that proved most...interesting.

I wrote a check for the day's visit and the lady asked me for my driver's license.  When she was noting the number, she looked up with a smile and said, "Hey, I'm one of those!" as she pointed to her name tag, which bore my maiden name.  I asked who she had married, only to discover her name had never changed.  So, good southern gal that I am, the next question is always, "Who's your Daddy?"  When she told me, I instantly recognized the name and smiled. 

"You know who that is?" she asked, rather surprised.

I did.  First I offered my condolences, because he had passed away within the last year.  She was amazed I knew that.  I replied I remembered him in a way only a kid could and I hope she wouldn't be offended.  

When I was growing up, I called him "the Funeral Cousin."

Intrigued, she asked me to explain.  I shared that when I was a kid, it didn't matter which one of our clan died, her Dad always attended the funeral.  I recognized him immediately, but for some reason, could never remember his name.  Every time I would ask Dad, he'd tell me, and I would say, "Oh.  The Funeral Cousin."  Thankfully she wasn't offended and even smiled.  I asked who her Granddaddy was and since I handle our family tree, I knew her Granddaddy and mine were brothers.  When we exchanged names, she remembered my Dad.  We laughed about the small world moment and moved on to the next room.

As I sat in the exam room, waiting for Hubby to get back from x-ray, it made me think how many times I'd sat in a room like this when Dad had cancer.  Waiting for x-rays.  Results.  News sometimes good, but invariably bad.  Yet Dad had the same "I got this!" spirit that Hubby has when dealing with a physical problem.  Then for a moment, I got the oddest lump in my throat.  Somewhere from the back of my brain, where good memories generally dwell, came a sad one.  Today was the day in 1995 that we buried my Dad.

Then just as soon as the tears wanted to fall, something made me smile.  Of all the people who came to Dad's funeral, I only remember speaking to a fraction of them.  The one I remember?

The Funeral Cousin.  He came up to me at graveside, hugged me tight like a father would and told me what a good a man Dad had been.  Thanks Alfred, for always being there. 

Part of me wonders if our Dads were watching this morning, mine shaking his head that I couldn't remember a simple name and hers laughing that he'd had a nickname that still stuck from my childhood.  I wonder what they thought, seeing their girls together this morning, trying their best to help others.  I'm hoping they'd be as proud of us as we were of them.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Eye of the Beholder

My 2 and a half year old niece, Gracie, likes to come by with "Nana" (my Mom) to visit me at work on Wednesday afternoons before I go home.  There are a variety of objects in my office which she has claimed are now hers.  One is a "Sheep on a stick" sent by my Scottish poet friend, JoAnne McKay's twin boys years ago.  Their names are John and Luke.  After telling her where the sheep had come from, I asked what she'd like to name the sheep.  With a grin she declared, "John Luke!"   With thoughts of Capt. Picard running through my head, I congratulated her on the name.  She now comes in, tells me "Hi", then heads straight for the corner, advising she's going to retrieve John Luke. 

So when she's not drawing on the chalk board (my Center was originally a school and  3 of the rooms have old fashion, green chalkboards in them, the width of the front of the class), she finds new things to enjoy.  Both my niece, and her 18 year old off at college brother were both adopted the day after they were born.  But I think maybe I'm rubbing off on them.   "Nana" took one look at my tissue holder and declared it gross.  Gracie took one look at it and....

and started laughing.
That's why I got it...because it makes me laugh through allergy season.

Then there was the pen. 

It's a silly shape and she immediately latched on to it.  After playing with it for an hour, she promptly burst into tears when I told her she had to leave it at the office.  I wanted to get the "guts" out of it before she played with it again.  As she threw her arms around my neck and sobbed uncontrollably, I simply whispered that John Luke needed company until she got back.  She agreed.  

 In a happy moment...

What I love the most about the imagination of a child is that whatever is fresh in their brain, they apply.  I asked what she was going to "name" the pen (since she's named almost everything in my office).  She smiled and said, "Jesus!"  

Nana shared that at daycare, the kids had learned "Jesus Loves Me" that week.  So Miss Gracie decided it was a good name for her new friend.  

I didn't have the heart to tell her it was a pen from a Weight Loss group that meets at my Center.  Considering how many versions and portraits there are of Jesus, her version made me smile.

Thumbs up, kid.  Keep being creative.