Thursday, April 16, 2015

Notes from the Home - March 21, 2015

     What's well begun is only half done, they say. Whether or not the following was well begun is for others to determine, but it never got  beyond half done. Spring fever set in and I was overtaken by ennui. I like ennui, the word, that is. I learned from my mother. I first saw the word as I was looking over her shoulder while she did  a crossword puzzle.
     "You made a mistake."
     "Right there. E-N-N-U-I isn't a word."
     "It most certainly is," she said in a tone of voice that made me think I was the only person in the English-speaking world unfamiliar with the word ennui.
     What I really like about the word, however, is its euphemistic quality. I feel so much better about myself when I can write, "I was overcome by ennui," instead of the literal truth, which is, I have been as lazy as hell, as inert as dirt for three weeks.
      At ten-thirty on the morning of Thursday, March 19, a fellow from Convalescent Care rode away in my wheelchair. At noon, he was back with the chair, which now had new tires on the drive wheels. I might not have been ecstatic - of, relating to, or characterized by ecstasy or a state of sudden, intense, overpowering emotion - in the technical sense. I don't think I was in a state of sudden, intense, overpowering emotion. Although, I would have been had he told me they needed to keep the wheelchair for a week or two. Then again, that wouldn't have been sudden, intense, overpowering emotion of an ecstatic kind. It would have been more of the "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" variety.
     The new tires make it possible for me to resume going outside and wending my way around Covenant Woods' drives and parking lots, which I hadn't been able to do for nearly a month. Those jaunts are often the most enjoyable moments of my day. And now that spring has arrived in Georgia, the trees have blossomed and everything is greening up. It is beautiful.
     Friday morning I stopped to talk to James, who was on his way to repair an air conditioner. He was full of memories. Thursday afternoon, Isaiah Crowell, the Cleveland Browns  running back and son of Debbie Crowell, the director of Personal Care at Covenant Woods, spent a couple hours here. He was accompanied by a local media guy, whose name meant nothing to me. But it did to James.
     "We went through junior high and high school together," James said. "And we were on the football and basketball teams the whole way through. He was a hell of  an athlete. He played in the NFL for a year or two."
     One of the residents asked Isaiah when he realized, "hey, I'm really playing in the NFL."
     "The first game of the season; we played Pittsburgh. Early in the game, I got the ball, ran a few yards and got hit hard. As I got up, I turned to see who'd hit me. It was Troy Polamalu, That's when I knew."
     It was music to this Steelers fan's ear.
     James can talk for hours about playing for Carver High School and all the notable athletes, like Isaiah, who have graduated from there. But he had work to do. I steered the chair toward the duplexes. Janet, who came to this country from England a few months ago, was outside for her morning smoke. The last time I'd talked to her, she said her furniture had cleared customs and was on its way to Columbus.
     "It got here. The problem was finding a place for it all. See that?" she said,asked, pointing toward several large boxes in the carport. "They're going to my daughter's. Now I'll have a bedroom of my own when I visit her. I won't have to kick my grandson out of his bed."
     A few doors down, Sandi was busy putting packages in her car.
     "I found somebody," she said. "We're getting married in a few weeks. He lives in Alabama, in a cottage. His parents built it in the early fifties. It's a cottage. They built it so they could get away on the weekends. There isn't a closet in the place. That'll make it tough for this woman. But, I'm looking forward to it."
     Back by the main buildings, I was making my way through the parking lots when Amy, one of the dining room servers on her way to work, drove up behind me and laid on the horn. She drives a Chrysler convertible with a silver body and black top. It could be the Oakland Raidermobile, and I tell her she drives the way Jack Tatum played football.
     "Who's Jack Tatum?"
     "He played for the Raiders, back in the day. They called him The Assassin."
     "Hey, I like that."
     A very pleasant start to the day made possible by the wheelchair's new tires.






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