Once Upon A Time


Photo from the Internet

When our kids were growing we took them to the Chambers Street Medical Clinic. The architect of the building had been environmentally conscious of his task and built it without disturbing a stand of oak where a few families of squirrels lived. Over the span of 18 or 20 years several generations of squirrels came and went. But one thing remained the same, the the small pharmacy attached to the clinic always kept a store of peanuts for them. The squirrels had access to this store each time the door was opened. For years I watched the parade. Finally, one day, a squirrel was waiting for someone to open the door. My turn had come. I pushed the door open, but the squirrel didn’t move. He just looked at me. “You’re opening door the wrong way. You have to pull it open,” he pharmacist said from behind the counter. I followed his directions. The squirrel scampered inside, chose a peanut and then then headed for the trees.


Sarah, one of our granddaughters, had scared herself silly with a TV spook movie. Then she decided one of these monsters was hiding underneath her bed, waiting.

Her mother’s bird, the African Gray, a parrot having the run of the house, came waddling down the hallway at that moment.

“HELLO!” he shouted from the doorway.

My Fraternal Grandmother


Many years before blogging came about I began keeping a paper journal. I still do. It is a record of my life. I use a Papermate Sharpwriter or a wooden #2 pencil. Seldom do I use a pen. The thought of writing something that I cannot change when I’m brainstorming goes against the grain with me. Though I seldom make corrections of any sort. I’m more comfortable knowing I can.

This morning was #2 wooden pencil day. And when I began the first line the need for sharpening was apparent. That discovery reminded me of my fraternal grandmother. A former school teacher – long before I came on the scene – probably embedded that habit because fountain pens were the norm in those days.

Though I didn’t realize it, she was my literary partner. From the time I ventured out on my own until she was no longer able to communicate, she wrote letters to me, one every other week. And they were always scribed with a #2 pencil that was in need of sharpening. Sometimes she included a poem. Often it was one of her own. Sometimes it was borrowed with the author’s name at the bottom, also in pencil.

She was always at the ready. Once I asked a question concerning English usage. She answered my question in detail. A few weeks later a well-thumbed copy of the Associated Press Stylebook arrived in my mailbox.

The last letter I recall receiving from her arrived about 51 years ago. I still miss them.


Each day we draw closer to Trump taking over. I’ve never seen a more in-your-face individual. He is a real live bull in a china closet. He seems bent on tearing this nation apart. Everything he values seems based on the almighty dollar.

During my air force years I watched newly appointed commanding officers occupy the CO’s office and immediately start changing everything within their reach. I can’t recall one who surviving the test of time.

I can turn a blind eye to most of Trump’s antics, let him rant while I go about my day. But I’m deeply concerned about his messing with my wife’s healthcare before he even has the key to the Oval Office door.

Since March 2016 my wife has suffered two heart attacks and two seizures. One day while she was in the hospital for 27 days last March I held her hand and literally talked her back from death’s door after the nurses had given up and waited for her to die.

She takes nine different medications at seven different times each day. Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, and Humana have so far manage to keep the cost of these medications affordable.

Maybe ACA doesn’t work for everyone, but so far I’ve been able to keep my wife of 54 years alive.

I’m not sure Trump is going to let me keep her another year. And there is nothing I can do about it but write this post.


A Christmas Collar


Mr. Black received a Christmas collar last year. He loves to hear it ring. Last year it was stored in one of our daughter’s Christmas decorations, so she mailed to him.

He recognized it and when he saw me approaching with the collar he recognized it and he stretched out his neck so I could put it on him.

If I shake one of the bells he will shake to make them all ring.

100-Day Challenge – Day 23 (Revisited)




Mama’s Boy

Mr. Black, aka Mama’s Boy, a name he answers to more readily his only a few teeth left, as mentioned in an earlier post. Therefore, we insist that he eat only enough dog food to keep him regular and healthy. The bulk of his diet comes from the table – we, too, are old. Tonight it’s was cheese soup and toast. Last night he enjoyed beef stew over rice. For his rations we purchase small, paper bowls. He know where they are kept and he has laid claim to them.

Late last week I had some apple butter on toast. Barb doesn’t care for it so I dined along. And I used one of his bowls.

He knew where it came from and he assumed that anything served in his bowl should be his to enjoy. He was not pleased when I didn’t share.

Mr. Black Returns


The post-hospital rules stated that there were to be no pets during Barb’s healing period. So Mr. Black has been boarding with our daughter in Texas. Things have gone well, so she 300 miles to bring him home.

He has been with us eleven years. He settled in quickly. It was almost as though he had never been away. Of course, has no idea how much we’ve missed him during these past weeks.

I coaxed him to look at me as I snapped his likeness, but he was more concerned with the sound of a barking dog.

Barb’s Update

A long period of time has passed,since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been busy. Barb’s health has been in a down spiral since September 2015. Numerous visits to physicians, specialists, and clinics seemed to help. But apparently these measures were only delays what was in the offing – a heart attack.

On 5 March we relocated from the Dallas area to the small town of Crossett, Arkansas. It was a good move. The neighbors are friendly, the weather is decent, and above all it is more affordable. However, shortly before midnight our first night she awoke me with severe chest pains. An ambulance transported her to the local emergency room where the physician on duty determined she was suffering a heart attack and transported her to the Arkansas Heart Hospital in Little Rock.

On the 7th she was fitted with a pacemaker and after she had stabilized we returned to our new home.

Two weeks later she suffered shortness of breath. After determining an excess of fluid around her heart she repeated the trip to the local ER and then another middle-of-the-night trip to Little Rock.

The physicians also discovered fluid around her lungs and began removing it. The removal process continued for about a week, so long that I’ve actually lost track of time. One day simply became another. Today is number 13 continuous at the Arkansas Heart Hospital. Yesterday the fluid removal was finished – somewhere in the order of 3 measured liters. This morning the oxygen was removed.

She’s weak after so many days in bed, but she’s now eating 3 squares, walking, and caring for her personal needs. We are hoping to head home Monday or Tuesday.

As for me, the 13 day stay has been more comfortable than I imagined it could possibly be. They fed me, gave me all the coffee and tea I wanted, and a pillow, blanket, and a semi-comfortable place to spend my nights near her bedside.

During these days I’ve read everything people have left behind the lobby. After exhausting that source I began downloading books from Project Gutenberg. However, creating something has been out of reach. My creativity has been a train wreck. Once home a few additional domestic duties will become my responsibility. I’ll get into the swing of it, and eventually I’ll build some speed.



Image from Wikipedia

In the course of spending a lifetime with a person we share many stories again and again and again. Such is the case with Barb and I.

During the years of Barb’s youth there was no television on the Oregon Coast. And when it eventually became available there was only one channel. As a result many Saturday nights were enjoyed at the Egyptian Theater watching a movie. As a rule candy bars, soft drinks, and popcorn were part of the Saturday night norm. Her mother was headed for the concession and asked everyone what they wanted.

“What do you want, Barbara?” she a asked.

“U-NO.” Barb replied, her attention more on the movie than her mother’s question.

“I do not know. What do you want?”

By this time Barb realized what she’d asked and explained that U-NO was the name of the candy bar and everyone laughed.

Barb and I have been laughing at that workout joke for 50 years and we are still laughing.