Archives for : November1956

Taking Thanks

Being grateful for the goodness in my life only feels like half the answer to the annual giving of thanks food holiday.  I appreciate Steve and the kids, my own family and friends, but living a good life takes some effort. Steve works hard at being a good employee for his company and he cares about the guys he works with. He doesn’t often talk about them but there have been times when he has discussed a group effort made to help one of them during some short-lived crisis.

I encourage the kids to be good friends with others and play fairly.  My girlfriends can always be counted on to lend a hand and support one another.  I know that even Mother Jones would help me if I needed her.  My mother is a good advice provider when I ask her opinion.

For my own part, I keep up my end of the bargain in housekeeping and child rearing.  I try to be on the lookout for ways to support Steve.  If he asks my thoughts, I provide them willingly. The random tests in life have been easier to handle so far and everyone I know is grateful for peace.  The thought of going through another wartime still scares most of us.  As long as our memories remain intact, being grateful will be easy.

Thankfulness requires two parts – giving and taking.  We stop each year to remind ourselves of how good we have it and we give thanks.  For the rest of the year, everything we do each day takes the best of us to show how grateful we are for life.

The Monster

Orange has never been my favorite color; not even close.  It looks good on pumpkins and sunsets, but that’s about it.  Teal, turquoise, or even cowboy pink seem more suitable for every day.  Khaki and olive drab had better days years ago.  Maybe Snowball, our cat, has the best idea since white is always fashionable and clean.

Daisy has a sudden new obsession with colors.  The first time I turned on the heat this month, she took a few crayons and placed them on the heating vent.  Apparently, she wanted to create a new color because as they softened, they melted together into a big ball of angry.  It was a good experiment but the  outcome wasn’t quite what she expected.  The rainbow effect was less than attractive.

Junior has been determined lately to drive his bike like a daredevil when riding with his friends.  The result of his trying to use his bike to jump a short concrete barrier in the parking lot of the funeral home at the end of the block was an bad accident.  He arrived home with a bloody red face.  It was difficult to see the actual cut with so much blood around his eye.  He wasn’t crying but his pals had to guide him home after the failed jump and subsequent skid.  The bike got a little twisted too.

Luckily, Gail was over my house when it happened so I felt sure that she would know what to do.  Instead, she started shrieking when she saw the blood on Junior’s face. I grabbed a clean rag and dabbed at his eyes.  They both opened and then I saw the real cut.  In a perfect line with his left eyebrow was a deep slash.  I held the towel to his eyebrow to try to stop the blood.  At that point, I ordered Daisy and Gail’s kids into the back of her car and told her to get us to the hospital emergency room.  Gail couldn’t even look at me and Junior as he sat with me on the front bench.  I put pressure on his eyebrow all the way.  As I explained the situation to the person at the registration desk, Gail lined the kids up in a row in the waiting room.  She had begun to compose herself.  When Junior and I emerged from the treatment room later, Junior was able to show off the line of stitches that repaired the damage.  The doctor had talked Junior through the whole ordeal.  His shirt was a pink blood-stained mess and not salvageable.  I am not that good of a laundress. Gail clutched him closely as we left and the other children alternately gasped and giggled at his face.

I had never seen Gail lose it before.  More surprisingly, I maintained control when I had to.

Steve had arrived home to find the house empty with my car still in the garage, blood on the kitchen tile and toys left in the middle of play on the floor.  I had not left a note in my haste.  When he saw the twisted bike by the back door, he made some assumptions and was getting ready to call the local hospital.  He was glad to see the whole group of us return.  Gail gathered up her kids and left for home, still a little shaky.  I am sure a strong cocktail was in the plan before starting dinner.

I explained what happened to Junior and asked Steve to order pizza delivery for dinner.  Junior and I went off to gently wash off his neck and change him into his pajamas.  The children retold the story from their perspective as we ate.  I wasn’t sure if Junior was embellishing the size of the barrier he was trying to jump but it made for a dramatic tale.  Daisy was able to tell the part about waiting for Junior to get his cut repaired.  Gail apparently paced up and down in front of the kids while they all sat stoically.  Steve hugged both kids for their calm in the face of terror.  They ran off to watch TV before bedtime.  I was then able to tell Steve about Gail’s loss of composure in the face of a medical emergency. Even better than that, I was able to relate how my cool composure handled the whole ordeal.  I was blatantly proud of myself.  Steve hugged me too but asked if I could leave a short note next time.

Junior did end up with a headache the following morning, but Daisy was able to provide assistance this time.  Daisy told Junior that his stitches provided the best start for his Halloween costume for next year, Frankenstein’s monster.  Practically speaking, he could pull it off easily. We may have to paint in the stitches by that point.

Maude’s Breakfast Pie


Bottom pie crust, unbaked

10 oz. frozen broccoli

1 tblsp butter

1 minced yellow onion

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup milk

4 beaten eggs

1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Press crust into pie pan.  Heat broccoli and allow to cool. Melt butter and sauté onion.  Allow to cool and add to piecrust. Add broccoli to crust.

Pour into a bowl and lightly beat: cheddar cheese, milk, eggs and black pepper.  Add to crust and distribute ingredients evenly.  Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown.

And Here’s to You, Mrs. Richards

Gail called earlier than usual this morning and that fact alone scared me.  I had served my Breakfast Pie to everyone before they ran off to school and work. But I know when you have multiple little children, everything takes longer and by the time Gail is free enough to talk on the phone, it’s usually late morning or some days, after lunch. The pitch of her voice reinforced the feeling that something was wrong.  I knew it couldn’t be a medical emergency because Gail was a nurse in her earlier life and she can handle any health problem quickly and confidently.  The only time Gail’s façade cracked was due to her recent inability to get pregnant.  Gail needed her children and they were growing up and leaving her without a purpose.  Gil didn’t want Gail to work even though their original plan included them practicing as a team.  Gil probably thought his abandonment of their professional plan permitted Gail the chance to raise her children without working. But Gail took great pride in being a nurse and wanted to do both.  It was unconventional but it suited her.  After all, I was crazy enough to be considering going to school.  After Gail’s kids get a little older, she may have more free time on her hands that she needed to use caring for other people.

I tried to remain nonchalant on the phone with Gail but was intrigued by the change in her habit. Her words came tumbling out of her mouth so fast that I couldn’t keep up with what she was saying. Apparently, Gil’s longtime nurse was getting ready to retire.  Mrs. Richards was old-school all the way, kept Gil in line with appointments, ordered supplies and left promptly at 5 every day so she could get home to make dinner for her husband.  Gail was afraid that Gil would hire some young nurse.  Of course, that was a threat to her and an affront to the fact that she was a nurse and could do the job.  Except that she had little children.  Gail wasn’t upset by the fact that she was raising children; she was a wonderful mother who spent play time with her kids, kept them clean and well-fed, helped them with homework and spent more time with them than Gil due to his doctoring schedule.

I suggested Gail help Gil speak to the applicants so she could help choose the best one.  Gail said that she would suggest that idea to Gil in a way that would show how much she cared about his work and use her professional knowledge.  Gail also let me know that she had an additional idea to propose that might solve two problems.  Although she did not want to share it with me yet, Gail now sounded pretty excited about the chance to get involved.

Gail mentioned that she wanted to plan a nice retirement celebration for Mrs. Richards.  She had cared for the practice and Gil for many years without enough acknowledgement. Gail didn’t want to let another nurse’s work go without praise.  That’s Gail, always looking out for everyone.