Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Buggy Bound

Imagine this:

You're in northwest Arkansas, home to the Ozark mountains, but you're not in the mountains. You're in the modest town of Springdale, population about 70,000.

You take a walk. You stride past green groomed lawns, smart-looking houses, and occasionally under a canopy of trees. It's summer, so you've work up a touch of sweat.

When you turn a corner you see—way down the street—a big brown box-like thing tumbled on one side. So out of character on this residential street! You pick up speed until you're standing by it. It's not a box, more like a trunk with wheels. You grab it, set it upright. My goodness, it's a baby carriage, an old time carriage, who knows how old it is.

But you know who might like it, your friend, Mary Ellen Johnson.

You set the carriage upright. Its wheels turn. The big buggy is in fine shape, rolling ahead of you to Mary Ellen's home. This is not the first time you've found treasures alongside the road and captured them for folks that might like them.

When Mary Ellen sees the buggy, she squeals. "Oh, look what you've got for me! It's a Stroll/O/Chair buggy, made in New York City, so sturdy, so well-built. Looks just like the buggies I saw at the New York orphanages when orphan train babies went for walks."

She rummages in her purse, comes up with $175 for you, and you saunter out, the money warming your pocket.

But that not the end of the story. 

The buggy belongs in Concordia, Mary Ellen believed. At the National Orphan Train Complex there. She'd given NOTC her Orphan Train Heritage Society of America, Inc., when it became too much for her to handle.

Mary Ellen planned. 

Her daughter gave the buggy a good scouring, and it cleaned up beautifully. 

Mary Ellen called the NOTC museum curator, Shaley George, to see if the buggy would be welcome there. It would be. 

Shipping prices totalled $175, just what she'd paid for the buggy. She would take the buggy herself, but she no longer drove long distances.

Then her grandson, Marcus Bowling of Fayetteville, Arkansas, dropped by. "I got some vacation days I got to take or lose. Any place you'd like to go?"

"Concordia, Kansas." 

Eight hours after they set out, Mary Ellen, Marcus, and the buggy arrived.

Shaley greeted them. "We'll put the buggy in the foundling section of the museum." And there, in the old depot that's NOTC's museum, the buggy resides.

See a picture of the buggy and read a longer story by Sharon Coy, staff writer for the Blade-Empire. Just click or cut-and-paste this:

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Got No Time for Nothin’ Anymore

Maybe it's my shoes. 

I'm not kidding. 

When I presented my narrow feet in the store my doctor recommended, the clerk refused to sell me shoes without ties. "You need ties to bind your shoes to those skinny feet of yours." 

But think of the time I could save using Velcro!

Or maybe it's my glasses. 

I own one pair for everyday and one for the computer. Each pair requires a case. "Be sure you use the cases," my optometrist cautioned. "That way you won't have to clean your glasses so often." But the hours I waste switching glasses and cases, hunting nor only for the mislaid spectacle, but also for its absent case! 

Or my pills. Once I took none, but various doctors intervened. Now it's levothyroxine in the morning (and wait 30 minutes before you eat anything), and simvastatin at bedtime, and the rest of the vitamins and prescription drugs scattered with meals three times a day. 

Every week I sort pills into boxes, a big blue box for the dining room pills and a little white box for the bedroom pills. Seems like I'm always sorting pills or looking for a box or swallowing pills. Oh, the time wasted!

Or I suppose it could be my chronic dehydration which makes me drink twenty-plus cups of water a day to keep my piss as transparent as the urologist ordered. All that filling of glasses and downing water does use a lot of time.

Or it could be the exercises. 

Oh, it's not the basic exercises, the stretches, the weights, the cardio, though that does use up an easy hour a day, seven days a week. 

It's the add ons. 

Each time I see a doctor, she adds on an exercise for me to perform. So in addition to my regular exercises, I do an Epley maneuver to halt dizziness, rotary cuff exercises, bladder squeezes (2 drills x 3 times), five different finger workouts to offset rheumatism, a variety of tinnitus gymnastics, two nightly foot exercises to wake up my numb feet, and a thirty-part workout repeated three times, twice a day, to straighten my posture. 

Or maybe it's just my bad habit of listening to medical people.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I Bartered My Bed

Stan Isler had been dead two months, but I kept on buying things for him as though he would miraculously move from New Hampshire to Nebraska, as we had planned.

I bought him a huge Turkish bath towel, eighty inches long, and blue, his favorite color. 

I bought him an ample queen-sized bed. 

I even bought him the house I now live in, twelve rooms and a two-car garage, much too large for one person. 

Stan's death (car accident) had been so sudden, I kept on acting as though he still lived.

That was September 2004.

When Jack Loscutoff showed up in 2007, Stan's bed converted into Jack's. Oh, his and mine. Together we pounded Stan out of the mattress, the springs, together we curled up and slept, sliding Stan onto the floor.

Then Jack died, and I hated to sleep by myself in that huge bed. It brimmed with Jack's energy.

About that time, I noticed how heavy my wash was. When I stripped that mammoth bed for its laundry trip, I needed a wheelbarrow to handle that weighty bedding.

I began to snivel. And what am I going to do when I get so old and tottery that I can't navigate the stairs? I'll have to swap bedrooms, that's all. But this gargantuan bed's way too big to fit in that pint-sized first-floor bedroom.

But mostly, I needed a new smaller bed because every night when I whip my jumbo covers aside, Jack shows up on his side of the bed, wanting to snuggle. I mean he's been dead eleven months already!

So I did it. Bought a twin bed, electric pad, linens and comforter. Felt so sly. I knew that Jack couldn't tumble into bed with me on such meager terrain.

Now Queeny is gone, and in its place stands a modern skinny twin. The electric pad is in place and, on top of it, the fitted bottom sheet, and two pillows.

But just as I flung the top sheet across the bed, Jack showed up! 

He looked bearish, as in our early days, and he laughed and reached across the narrow bed and shook my unsliced breast. "Did you think you could get rid of me THAT easily!" 

And we slipped down, side by side, on that skinny bed.

"Don't you remember, honey," he whispered, "when we bounced up and down on my narrow hospital bed in the little first-floor bedroom? A nearly daily duty. And no one ever fell off."

Afterwards, I heard him leave, chuckling.

I shook my head. 

What can I say? 

My massive bed is gone, so is its burdensome bedding.   

Now I'm free to swap bedrooms if need be.

But Jack? 

I guess I can't pull one over on him.

Indeed, I'll bet that if I stripped my house bare, Jack would blow in to roll on the wooden floor.