Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What's REally Important

Yesterday I wrote about the stuff stolen from the cabin.

Tomorrow Wick will have surgery on his arm.

The stuff that was taken was just stuff. As Wick said, a year ago he was just praying that I would live one more day.

Today I am praying that the surgeon will have the skill to restore Wick's hand and that he will regain total function.

Compared to the risk of losing each other, stuff pales by comparison.

As the Bible says, our true treasures are in Heaven, where no rust corrupts, no moth consumes, and no thief can steal what is truly valuable.

Tomorrow... we have been hoping for two weeks for this surgery to be scheduled, and now it is less than 12 hours away. Jeana will go with him, since I still can't drive. I will stay here with the grandkids, and pray.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


We were away from the cabin for more than two weeks after Wick's incident, and apparently, while we were gone, we had uninvited guests.

Unwanted guests.

They took Wick's air compressor, a satchel full of tools, the computer printer, and a digital camera.

They also took most of my jewelry. Not the junk. No, they are much too discriminating for that. They only took the good stuff.

The pearl necklace Wick gave me when I graduated from high school.

The ruby ring I got when I finished my PhD.

My grandmother's opal ring.

Things that have comparitively little monetary value, but to me were priceless.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Banking on the Kindness of Strangers

Last week Jeana took us to see a surgeon regarding Wick's arm. We had to drive a long way, on unfamiliar roads, and for a long stretch we were on a toll road.

As we approached the toll road, I said I needed to make a pit stop. With all the meds I take, that's a pretty frequent request.

Unfortunately, the lead-up to the toll road is rather desolate--no convenience stores, or fast-food places, or anything else that we could see. Finally, the last exit before getting on the toll road, we saw a bank.

I told Jeana to pull over at the bank. She said, are you going to ask to use their restroom?

I said, any port in a storm.

As I hobbled through the door with my cane, a lovely young lady with a charming smile asked, how may we help you today?

I said, may I use your restroom?

She could have just pointed, but she walked me across the lobby, past the tellers and the glassed-in offices, to a door leading to a hallway where the restrooms were.

With a gracious Vanna White motion, she said, Please let us know if there is anything else we can do for you.

Wow. How lovely, to be treated as a welcome guest, even though I did not have any legitimate bank business to transact, and don't even have an account at that office.

Aren't people kind?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Drugs, Mayhem, and Chihuahuas--The Saga of Little Bob

One night Jeana and I were talking about our friends Bob and Deen. I happened to mention their little dog, Bob. Jeana wanted to know why they would name the dog the same name as the owner.

So I started telling her about Bob, who is Frankie's only doggy friend.

Now this is an East Texas story, which I pieced together from different sources. I can no longer remember who told what part of the story, but the most noticeable feature of all the narrators was the sense of place--the East Texas way of telling a story, rambling from one thing to another, from one person to another, and all told in that deep East Texas vernacular.

I have consolidated all those voices into one narrator, and tried my best to reproduce how those voices sound.

Wall, y'all ain't been in the neighborhood long enough to know who is who and what is what, but y'all know that house that's right opposite y'all's house on the circle? [We live on a road that makes a full circle.] The one with the fenced yard?

They's just somethin' about folks as would fence up their front yard. Don't seem very welcomin' somehow, does it? Like they don't really want you to come visit. Don't set out on the porch, nor in the yard, nor come 'round nobody else's place neither. And they had a big boy, nearly growed up, and he don't go to school, nor work, nor nothin', far as any of us could tell.

Never seen his daddy hit a lick at a snake with a stick, don't know as he ever worked much either.

The mama, now she had a whole passel of them lil ol dogs, you know them little Mexican dogs, like that'un on the Taco Bell ad, that always said Yo, Key Arrow Taco Bell [yo quiero Taco Bell]?
Them lil dogs ain't big as a minute, none of 'm.

Wall, she had a whole herd of them lil dogs, and she sold'm to folks as wanted one. But then they fell on hard times. Couldn't even pay the light bill. Said they just couldn't afford to feed so many dogs, no matter how little, and just opened the gate and turned 'm loose on the neighborhood.

Wasn't long after that the laws showed up. Just went right in through that open gate, busted down the door, and hauled 'm off to jail.

We always suspected they was dealin' drugs or somethin'

Lots of folks took one of 'm, just picked 'm up off the road. [We are back to the dogs now.]

But a few of 'm hung around, all skinny and scrawny, and lookin' pitiful.

Joyce, across the road, she felt sorry for 'm, and she took up with lil Bob. He was so skinny an' poor lookin', she just had to feed him.

Then, o'course, he kep' on comin' round to her house, lookin' so pitiful, she just couldn't turn 'im away. But you know she's got two dogs already. That big 'n, the one with the crazy blue eyes, that she calls Sonica cuz they found her at the Sonic, and that little'n that looks sorta like them Mexican dogs, that she calls Puppy--that Puppy is mean as a snake, she'd as soon bite you as look at you.

Anyways, she couldn't keep lil Bob cuz of her dogs, she was scared they'd eat him up, so she calls Bob and Deen and asks 'm to take lil Bob.

Now Deen, after her chows Sam and Pam died, she said after somethin' happens to Tabby, that lil black cat, she ain't havin' no more animals.

But she seen lil Bob, and he didn't weigh but two pounds, just skin and bones he was, and she couldn't turn 'im down.

She carried him home, and took him to the vet, and fed him up til he weighed more 'n five pounds--real plump he is now.

Bob, he didn't care much for havin' a dog with his own same name, so they tried to change it, but he wouldn't pay them no never mind no matter what they said, unless they called him Bob.

Wick said it would be easier to change Bob's name than to change the dog's name.

So we call him Bobby, or Little Bob, and he just loves on everybody that comes around, licks on 'em, and wants to sit in their lap, and just wags his tail til he nearly wags hisself off his feet. Cute as a button, and real smart. Hardly ever barks, except at the cows.

He's a good little dog, that Bob. If you like them lil ol' bitty dogs.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Not an Early Morning Sort of Person

I've never liked getting up early. I need time to wake up, to gather my thoughts, to drink coffee, and pull myself together.

When I worked, I liked to get to school about an hour early, to get organized and ready for the day ahead.

I still get up early, to have time with Wick before he leaves for work, but he doesn't expect much more than minimal communication, a little snuggling, and a few kisses before he goes out the door.

Morning at Jeana's house is different. Saturday morning.... I was not at my best.

First, I had to get up earlier than I wanted, because Frankie insisted on going outside at the crack of dawn.

Then everyone else was up.

All those kids' smiling faces.

Paul Simon's Graceland playing in the background.

Jeana making coffee.

Scott chirping like the early bird who gets the fat, juicy worm.

All that cheerfulness--it's downright depressing.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What Next?

On Nov. 7, we will be looking back a whole year at the beginning of my hospitalization. I am still far from where I want to be, but still making slow but steady progress.
We have been talking about my progress, and how our relationship with each other has grown during this year, and how much closer we are for having this experience.

Thursday morning, my cell phone rang before 9 a.m., which is unusual. When I answered, a woman's voice said she was calling from the school where Wick teaches.

This is not a good sign.

And I was right. She was calling to tell me that Wick was being loaded into an ambulance as we spoke. He was pushed through a plate glass window, by a student. He was bleeding copiously. The paramedics were applying pressure to try to control the bleeding on the way to the hospital.

So far, up to now, not being able to drive has been just an inconvenience, mostly a matter of waiting for Wick to have time to take me somewhere. Now, I wanted--needed--to get to the hospital to meet him at the emergency room, and I couldn't.

I called Jeana, who agreed to meet him at the ER, find out what his status was, and call me as soon as possible.

It was a long wait, which I could only fill with prayers for his safety, and the skills of the people treating him.

I called his cell phone twice. The first time he sounded fairly normal, even though I could hear the paramedics in the background, questioning him and talking to each other.

The second time, he sounded tired, almost drowsy. He didn't know if they had given him something for pain, and I was afraid he was suffering from the blood loss.

Finally, Jeana was able to call, to tell me more details about what had happened, and what was being done in the ER.

Apparently, the student in question had been a behavior issue even before school started that morning, and Wick was taking him to the campus police officer to discuss his attitude and actions. The student didn't want to go. He struggled with Wick, finally pushing him hard enough, and catching him off balance enough to send him through the window.

He had several cuts that needed stitching up, and had lost a fair amount of blood. The worst news is that some tendons in his right arm were severed, and affected his ability to use three fingers on that hand.

His building principal and an assistant superintendent from the school district came to the hospital to see how he was doing, and to tell him they supported him. His principal brought him out to the RV park, where Jeana was to meet me.

Jeana brought us to her house to stay until Wick sees the surgeon, and we know what is going to be done. Right now, his right arm is in a splint, thickly covered with gauze and ace bandages from shoulder to fingertips.

For a "one-armed" guy, he manages pretty well, but I am having the opportunity to return in very small portion some of the help he has showered on me this past year.

So here we are, staying at Jeana's again, only this time is for Wick, instead of for me. We are hopeful that he will recover full use of the arm and hand, and be able to go back to work after surgery and physical therapy.

Not exactly where we thought we would be, a year ago. Praise God for keeping Wick from bleeding to death, or being injured much worse than he was. Thank God for the people at his school who tried to stop the bleeding, for the paramedics who got him to the ER so quickly, for the nurses and doctors who stabilized him and pieced him back together with all those stitches. And most of all, thank God for Jeana and her family, their willingness to take us in, take care of us, share their home and time and family worship with us.

How do people get through scary experiences, if they don't have God to talk to?