Help! I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up!

My husband I are both retired RNs so we frequently spot errors in commercials.  The other evening, one of those frequent “Help, I’ve fallen and can’t get up!” commercials came on.

Bud watched the poor woman intently for a moment and said, “I know damn good and well she didn’t fall.  She didn’t piss her pants.”

He knows whereof he speaks, having worked on a physical rehab floor for more than twenty years.

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A Hog a Day Part 11


One of Daddy’s coworkers also indulged in the hunt. I loved hearing the stories they told.
Slim was a God-gifted liar, so well-known for his lying, that anyone who repeated one of his tales had to buy coffee for the group. One day, Slim came rushing by several of the fellows standing around at work and one of them called out, “Slim, stop and tell us a lie.”
“I ain’t got time.” He called over his shoulder. “Martin Bishop just fell in Smokestack 19 and I’m on the way to call an ambulance.” He rushed on as the other men took off in the opposite direction to check out the accident at Smokestack 19. They were breathless upon getting there and found Martin hard at work, totally unaware that he’d just been tragically killed. I guess they all had to buy their own coffee.
Slim and his wife, Ida Ruth, had a large family. Like many men of the time, his work was done once he left the job. One blazing August afternoon he came home to find a workman, a man of his acquaintance, digging a ditch that ran along the right of way in front of his place. The man was stripped down to his undershirt in the sweltering heat with sweat pouring off him. Slim stopped to talk and sent one of the kids for a glass of ice water. “Man, it’s too hot for you to be shoveling in this heat. Git on out of that ditch and let Ida Ruth finish it!” I don’t guess Ida Ruth heard about it, because there was no murder.
Mike Parsons had been raised in Arkansas and considered himself an authority on all things Arkansas. No one could mention Arkansas without getting an earful of his knowledge, experience, or connections. He must have had a hundred sisters, since he had a brother-in-law in every town. It was getting a little tiresome and Ray Marshall decided to set him up. “I’m going to come in to work tomorrow telling a wild tale about a town in Arkansas I made up. Y’all follow along and see what ol’ Mike has to say.”
The next morning at work when they stopped for coffee, Ray started his story, “Any of y’all ever heard of a little town up in the Arkansas called Catscratch? I was driving through there one time and………”
Mike Parsons jumped in. “Sure, I been there several times. My sister married an old boy from there. He raises them big pink tomaters just outside Catscratch. They got a real nice little place.”

Peace

imageI am an early riser, not by choice.  Thirty years of getting up at four-thirty as a nurse has reset my internal clock so Most often, I still wake the roosters.  I’d be happy to roll over and doze a while, but once my eyelids flap up like cheap window shades, sleep has fled.

On a recent visit to relatives, I found myself watching an autumn sunrise as I dawdled over a cup of coffee.  No one else moved.  As light peeked through the trees, one cup of coffee stretched to two and I heard the first of the birds getting about making their living.  I happened to notice my reflection in the window and took a photo to capture the quiet


moment.  Just as the sun broke through the trees, I heard gunfire from the woods behind the house.  The peace of the morning shattered for me and the deer.  I hope that one got away to enjoy the peace another fall morning.

How to Get Your Yard Work done in Three Simple Steps

My dad had a fool-proof plan to get his yard-work done easily and painlessly (for him).  Let the leaves and tree debris pile up pretty high in the fall and spring.  Mention casually a couple of times, “You kids are gonna’ have to clean up this yard in a few days.”  Let a couple of days pass so they hope you’ve forgotten or gone blind.  Come home from work on Friday afternoon in a jovial mood.  This works best if you are normally a real grouch.  It’s best if one of your brothers is visiting and your kids ask to spend the night with Cousin Becky, Susan, or Joey.   Implement step #1 

“No, Y’all  have to clean the yard tomorrow, but they can stay with you if they want to help.”  

He was serious about them staying, always hoping to get a little of work out of them.  Even though there were no Einstein’s in our family, no cousin was ever that dumb.

“No, I am not staying!  I don’t   wanna’ clean the yard!”  They were in the car before the screen door slammed. 

Traitors!

Step #2   The next morning he’d roll us out at six am, anticipating a good day.  We didn’t talk much at breakfast, especially avoiding the words yard, sweep, work, and leaves.  It’s amazing how often a word jumps out when you are studiously avoiding it.  “Billy didn’t LEAVE any jelly for me.” 

“Don’t worry.  You’ll get all the LEAVES you want today.”  He made crappy jokes, playing on our dread.

Finally, he’d push his chair back, “Time for the friendships to end and the work to begin.”

I would have enjoyed flailing the genius from whom he’d picked up that cruel witticism.  He routed us into the one-acre yard where the lecture began.  “Now, get the wheelbarrow, rake, and yard broom.  I want all these sticks picked up first.  Then one of you can rake, the other sweep and the other pick up the leaves and haul them back yonder to the burn pile.  Now, I mean for this yard to be clean when I get home.”   

With that, he was off to whatever he had planned that day.  The task looked endless, with drifted leaves from dozens of trees, shrubs, and fallen sticks.  I would have gladly traded places with Sisyphus and his rock.

We had to fight a while before we got started.  Phyllis was the oldest, so she commandeered the yard broom, the prize implement.  Billy and I got stuck with the rake and wheelbarrow for loading and hauling leaves.  Of course, we had to fight a while before we made a good start.  Mother usually brought the little girls out and redirected us before she got back to her work of the day.

Step #3   Cleaning that yard would have been a huge job for a yard-proud person.  Three fighting kids cleaning a yard didn’t go that well.  The first time or two, we were of the mistaken belief we could make a pathetic excuse and get by with a half-done job.  Daddy was of the opinion that no well-balanced kid could get through a day  without a good whooping, anyway, so he was happy to oblige.  He frequently quoted, “I might as well whip y’all first thing in the morning and get it over with.”  A few stripes paid off handsomely in the next day’s efforts, and he had the satisfaction of knowing he hadn’t “spared the rod and spoiled the child.”  We were motivated to do the job right.      

Yes, indeed, Daddy knew how to get his yardwork done in three easy steps.  Just so you know, I am not advocating this plan.  

Patio Redo for Less Than $250

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October is as close to heaven as you can get in my corner of Louisiana.  The blazing heat of summer has abated, the weather has cooled, and I decide I’m going to make it, after all.  We just started pulling together a project that has been in the works for a long time,redoing and enclosing our patio.  We still intend to put down a tile floor, put glass doors across the opening, and paint the ceilings ng

All the furniture you see here is an amalgamation of Goodwill, thrift shop, repurposed, and utilization of materials on hand except for a few dollars worth of supplies.  Bud is wonderful and loves a project, so all I have to do is come up with an idea he likes and we’re on it.  The big wicker rocker to the left cost $50 at Goodwill a couple of years ago with a broken rocker.  It retailed for $650, but with wood and paint Bud had on hand, he repaired and painted it.  The rocker on the left upper center was a relative’s castoff, and was spray painted for less than $2.00.  The yellow wicker on the right cost $20 in a thrift shop, paint $2.00 for cost of $22.  One sister gave me the green chair frame, and I covered it in fabric another sister gave me.  The only thing it cost was the seat cushion, and paint on hand, so it cost less than $10.

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Now the ceramic top table took $6.24 in new tile and utilized leftover tile from another project.  We had the grout and ceramic glue on hand.  Bud also had to buy the screen-door stripping for less than $10.  He did have to buy half a sheet of plywood to make the table surface.  He built the pedestal for another table more than twenty-five years ago, so this is it’s second incarnation.  He estimates total costs of table, $80 to $100 if he had had to purchase all the materials today.

The chairs at the table are from a thrift shop.  Total cost, including purchase price of chairs, paint and pine for the seats and the polyurethane finish was less than $40 a chair.  Together the table and chair set might have cost $120, but we still have paint and polyurethane left.

A dear friend built the potting stand in the corner from a decrepit screen door and salvaged materials from a barn demo and materials she had on hand.  I love it.

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The fountain came from a friend and has been on my patio more than twenty-five years.  Best of all is the view I am so grateful for, as I sit in my patio writing.  It is priceless and free, like all the best things. I am so blessed.

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Blackie and the Great Diaper Monster

My grandparents, Roscoe and Lizzie Holdaway, a few months after her stroke.  She was about 4″8″ tall.  Note the large, black purse on her left arm.

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Grandma had a stroke when she was fifty-eight.  The doctor came out to see her and said she’d never walk again.  Ignoring him, she scooted around in an old desk chair for about three months because she wasn’t about to waste money on a wheelchair she’d never use again.  After that, she put up with a cane for a few days till she was sick of it, then it was business as usual.  Ever afterwards, she was a little weak on the right side and her gait was off a little, but she didn’t let it hold her back.  She just carried her gigantic old-lady black purse on the left side to balance herself.  She crawled in every time the car started, and made every trip anyone else did, be it the hardware store, grocery store, or vacation.  Her stroke just made it a little easier for us to keep up with her.

She lived far enough away that she always stayed a couple of weeks when she visited.  Upon her arrival, she insisted on taking over the family laundry, washing, hanging out on the line, and folding.  We always had mountains of laundry with five kids, including two babies in diapers, so Mother was glad to have the help.   Always afraid the neighbors would talk about her for letting Grandma toddle back and forth with the laundry, she always sent one of us to help.  I always volunteered, since Grandma was known to hand out nickels when she was pleased.  I endeavored to make sure the other kids didn’t stumble into this gold mine.

The whole time I was growing up, we had a sequence of gentle black dogs, usually named Blackiefamily6.  I have no idea how many we may have had, but we always had one.  Numerous though they had to have been over the eighteen years I lived at home, they all merged into one in my memory.  One hot summer afternoon, as Grandma tottered back from the clothesline to the back door, the poor dog must have awakened from his nap in the shade only to see a short-legged, top-heavy voluminous load of fluffy, white diapers advancing toward him, lurching from side to side.

Terrified, he leapt up barking and lunged at the terrifying diaper monster, pushing her over backwards, the diapers landing atop her.  Mother had seen the whole thing and rushed out to rescue Grandma from the jaws of the slavering beast.  As soon as the dog heard Mother coming for him, he took off.  We were all sure Grandma was dead.  Mother tore at the pile of diapers only to find Grandma laughing so hard she couldn’t get up.  She had to get her laughing fit over before we could pull her to her feet.  She was totally unhurt, except for the indignity of wet pants.  I can’t speak to the poor dog’s shocked condition.

Camping

   image Dirty Dog

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We just got back from camping on the Gulf Coast.  We had fun and I learned a couple of things. First of all, if you think you might fall and bust your fanny, carry your extra glasses.  I was standing behind the trailer trying to wave Bud in as he backed the trailer up and Buzzy wrapped me in his leash, plopping me flat on my keester. I fell flat, banging right on my glasses.   I hadn’t gotten in Bud’s line of vision yet, so he thought I’d wandered off, as I am prone to do.  He continued backing up, but fortunately I was able to get out of the way before he flattened me.

Although the fall did kill my glasses, I escaped.  I was worried whether I would have a black eye, but luckily I didn’t.  If I had, I would have to have blacked both Bud’s eyes or I would have been ashamed to be seen when we met friends later.  I was able to get the frames replaced, using the same lenses.  What a relief.  I had dreaded trying to get by with just reading glasses till I could get new ones made.  I will never go off without a spare again.

Buzzy had a fine time camping as always.  We patrolled the camp several times a day.  He got to meet new dogs, see an alligator, smell the Gulf, roll in some different flavors of mud, walk on the beach, and sleep in the camper.  His favorite part of camping is sitting on the bench seat between us at meals.  He doesn’t get a place at the table at home.

Joke

A hiker falling off a cliff a grabbed a tree on his way down but was unable to climb back up.  He dangled hundreds of feet above the canyon floor below.  As the tree roots started to pull away from the wall of the cliff, he screamed.  “Help! Is there anyone up there?  Somebody help me, please!”

A loud voice boomed, ” Do not be afraid! Turn loose my son, I will save you!”

Timidly, the hiker asked, “Who is that?”

“It’s the Lord!”

“Help! Help!  Is anyone else up there?”

Tossin’ in the Coffin

tombstoneWhen I was a kid, I was fortunate enough to get to go to the funeral of my Uncle Ben. I had very little interest in and had wasted no affection on him, but did appreciate getting the honor of being a “member of the family” at the funeral. I was knowledgeable now about Continue reading