Notes from the Home - October 2, 2013



   Fall has arrived in Georgia. When I rolled out of bed at six Thursday morning and opened the porch door, it was seventy-five in the room. Three-and-a-half hours later, it was seventy-four in here. The sun was shining, the sky was clear, the birds were singing, and a squirrel in the tree outside my window was looking around for food. The day was off to a promising start.
  
   Grandson Hayden turned three yesterday, and I received a couple presents. I called to convey my birthday wishes, and Beth gave the phone to Hayden and said, “Say, hi Grandpa.” And Hayden said, “Hi, Grandpa.” Of the million or so words in the English language, “Hi, Grandpa” are the loveliest.
   Then I asked Beth if they’d gotten the stuff I’d sent Hayden. The stuff included Hayden’s Book of Beastly Beasts and Wacky Wildlife, a collection of my goofy triolets, some illustrated with Russ’ drawings and others with pictures I shamelessly grabbed off the Internet.
   “He hasn’t seen it yet, but I bet that’s going to be his new favorite bedtime book,” Beth said.
   She still knows how to melt the old man’s heart.
  
   It had been over a week since Ralph came down for dinner. Then one day, Isabelle said he was feeling a little better and was much more alert. He’d even gotten their checkbook out and paid some bills. The following evening, Isabelle came down late and got her meal to go. She was having a hard time holding back the tears. She said Ralph had a rough day; his blood sugar was extremely high and he was having trouble keeping anything down. A hospice nurse was in the apartment with Ralph. The nurse had talked to a doctor and had given Ralph a couple shots. Isabelle was hopeful but also very concerned. Sunday morning, Ralph went to the hospital. Isabelle isn’t sure if he will ever return.
  
   Lorraine died last week. She and Bert moved to Covenant Woods six weeks ago or so. Every night this week, their son and daughter-and-law have had dinner with Bert. They have spent their time together laughing, and I can’t help but think of the weekend in San Antonio for Mom’s funeral.
   Last night, I overheard the son telling about a guy who went to Alaska to hunt and while there he accidently cut his leg. Rather than seek medical help, the man used duct tape to dress the wound and continued the hunting expedition. By the time the man returned to the lower-48, however, gangrene had set in, and his doctor told him the leg needed to be amputated. Unfortunately, the doctor amputated the wrong leg. When he realized his mistake, he quickly went ahead and sliced off the other one, too. When the anesthetic wore off, the man called his lawyer and told him he wanted to sue.
   “To be honest,” the lawyer said, “you don’t have a leg to stand on.”
  
   When Judy came to give my apartment its fortnightly cleaning, she closed the door and said she had to talk to me. It seems that Judy, who is white, babysat a friend’s son for several years. The lad is now sixteen, and his mother is quite concerned because he has fallen in love with a mixed-race girl.
   “She wants me to talk to him and get him to stop seeing her,” Judy said. “What should I do?”
   I told her, if the boy is sixteen, and the mother is really determined to squelch his desire, she should tell him the girl is the nicest, most wonderful young lady she’s ever met.
   “Going with someone of another race was a big no-no when I was growing,” Judy said.
   “But if all the things that were once no-nos were still no-nos we’d still be living in the trees.”
   “I guess,” she said with a complete lack of conviction.
   The next day at dinner, Eleanor told us about a new resident whose attitudes on race hadn’t changed since the 1950s. When an aide went to help her with something, the resident announced that she didn’t want any “damn blacks” helping her. Only, she didn’t say blacks. When Janet went to clean the woman’s apartment, she was told to leave. “I don’t want any damn [blacks] cleaning my apartment.” Janet left and Judy was sent in her place. The resident took one look at Judy, whose hair is kinky, and told her, “Get out! You look like a damn [black]. I want to talk to your supervisor.” Judy went and got Irene, the director of housekeeping. Unfortunately, Eleanor didn’t know what happened when the resident met Irene and discovered that she is black.
  
   This morning I was listening to the radio. The disc jockey, John Esworthy, who works for Minnesota Public Radio, was talking about a trio named for a city “famous for a team called the Mud Hens and as the hometown of Corporal Klinger on the MASH series. They call themselves the Toledo Trio. Hey, it’s classier than Ashtabula.” An Internet search revealed that Mr. Esworthy once worked for WKSU, the Kent State radio station.

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