Archive for February 2012
Janice was among the first members of the Michigan Polio Network where I desperately went when I thought all hope of any hope for my life was gone. A career down the tubes. A body quickly following suit. But Janice and Charlene Bozarth, then-president of MPN, pumped and punched and pounded and pled until I started breathing again. Very Slowly at first.
“We need a newsletter, boy; can you put one together for us?
“Put some of that experience in your briefcase and pull it out when we need help.”
Roger was the legal beagle, always there, always willing to give hand.
Seems like we were all guided by the hawk-eyed Janice. She never missed a trick, even when she failed to point out foibles and missteps.
120224-25: Dr. Julie, Definition of Special Friend (February 24-25, 2012. CBFL apartment. Cincinnati OH)
As some of you know I’m sending a “death letters” (I suppose you could call them “goodbye” letters) to friends and kin as I begin preparations for transitioning to a new plane, I know not what.
The purpose is to try to tell folks why they’ve been so special in my life.
The result has been several like-responses and a lot visitors I honestly thought I would never see again.
Two such sets of visitors this weekend. Dr. Julie Avery, my friend for more than 25 years, drove to Cincinnati from Lansing MI, and Janice and Roger Gross also special friends from my days with the Michigan Polio Association.
We reminisced over two days…and … let me tell you .. it’s impossible to catch up…but we did share words and sentences and paragraphs and pages, each and every one filled with warmth and humor and love. I reveled. Tiring? Who cares?
I met Julie when I woked for the Michigan Department of Education where I was editing a Special Education Instruction booklet and she for VSA MI (Very Special Arts MI). She’s in the process of retiring from the State of Michigan where she’s worked for years at the Michigan State University Museum.
When she left, the impact the never seeing her again was deep and heavy and a heavy sludge of hertache, as I imagine will be the case with all my friends and even some of my kin.
She took with her a bottle of my favorite alcohol, hard apple cider, to share with Steve.
O’Charley’s is not a place I would choose for Lunchbunch even though I was strongarmed to make it my choice. Too “normal (uninteresting)”. Interestingly, to me, anyhow, O’Charley’s was created by a guy from Henry County, Tennessee, which is also where I’m from. But certainly NOT the kind/quality of food found on most Henry County tables.
Still it’s close so we can come back here afterwards for Scrabble. Unless there’s a change, Phyllis and Bob will join CB and me today. (Uh Oh! Bob begged off claiming a cold – I susect it’s drinking that swamp water even though he declares he’s immune to all the bad bugs in it.) Willie is on the second leg of her latest Scrabble (copyright til you die) scramble. From Las Vegas to bumper park Vermont and points far far away.
While Willie was playing real Scrabble (copyright til you die) we three settled for having fun. Bob settled for semi-vigorously sucking his rubber protected left thumb at home as he lay his head in his loved one’s beloved lap.usu
Willie followed her usual pattern of beating the heck out of the field in the early birds and slowly down a tad in the latter part of the tournament.
Meanwhile back at CB’s and my apartment we had all the fun and chatter, too. I beat Phyllis – it’s a miracle! – then quit while I was ahead. CB won twice over Phyllis who was definitely off her game – Phyllis who could pick us all off at a hundred paces without blinking an eye.
Hope I enjoy it… Haven’t been a foodie yesterday or today.
Connie the hospice nurse comes over at least once a week. Checking on which meds are which and how many and up or down or sideways. Lots of medicine and oxygen. ANNNNDDD it’s beginning to help. Truly not as bad as the pills she pushes.
and bangalang lang lang! We were on time in time plus a few this morning. Lake Manor: 16 different kinds of fudge (of which I bought 16 bites)
and the best doggoned salad buffet there ever was piled on a conservative buffet table in this ole boy’s lifetime (which I bought 39 – 42 bites). Must have been lousy nutrition; it was way too delicious to be good for me… or anyone else. Even under deep purple and pink hypnosis.
We arrived under pretty pewter skies dripping mead here and there. We settled in at our round table… the usual one….. and we noted the absence of Wee-Willie. Where. Where could she be. Found an email: she found low air rates (riding on top of the plane’s cab in a cage with Presidential candidate Romney’s dogs) for Las Vegas and points west where Scrabble (copyright til you die!) is being played energetically with vengence where eyeballs turn bright red in the lust for victory; Willie will be absent for three weeks while we who are left behind struggle to makeup
We played where we ate (stead of the local library) to make it easier on me until the gods regenerate me.
Angie made our little group cozy and right with her bright smile and boundless energy (one day I checked,, she said, with a pedometer and found I’d walked more than 14 miles during a single shift here — wow!)
I played CB and Bob simultaneously. Lost to Bob.
Bob won two.
Bob’s ego was seen creeping slowly from his collar hole and wrapping itself around his disheveled hair, smoothing it into a fantastic pompadour.
As we play, Bob, between coffeehousing grenades, teaches us music appreciation. “You take your modern country music,” he says, iffen they’s wimmin folks, they okay with me, but them thar guys they cain’t sang a lick.”
Fle (me) says, “You crazy, ain’t but a dozen wimmin can sing worth a durn, but look at all them Ray Price types and Charlie Rich and Hank Williams, Sr/Jr/III…………
CB had a bad day at the ranch, lost them both; she was a champion in my life, however, with all the help to me whichout which I would not have been at Lunchbunch today.
My new camera worked perfectly…except the battery dried up and I started up the stairway to panic city, afraid the memory chip (little bittle memory chip) might flip out on me. CB ran into Radio Shack for one of each in Mount Orab.
Felt pretty good for the aftermath of a Lunch, by golly. Pain was pain, but the mind overwhelmed it, two falls to one and homeward bound was a pleasantness again. Startted with the Moody gathering last Monday in Kentucky.
I feel like I might be the healthiest corpse ever discovered inside hospice.
Go Fle Go!
Gigatoria sighs were heard throughout the Cincinnati apartment or CB and me on a semi-regular schedule for 3 hours at 20 after, 5 to, 12 to and, well, no one’s given me the rest of the schcdule yet.
Now comes the tough part for next Tuesday. It CB’s and my turn to choose… which means it’s me against CB and Bob… Help, Willie…. help me pull a choice out of the bag. Preferable where those bright green kiwis are served atop kobe steaks – I think they’ve made it accessible to wheelchairs.
What an afternoon! Can’t breathe well; back’s aflame; feet of a half-assed marathoner – aching and baking. So what? Shat a wonderful day. A meeting of the clan. A gathering of my favorite group on Earth – my family. Coulda been Scotland. Coulda been!
What if it was the hills of Western Kentucky! Kin of the first rate. How I do love those guys. Although I understand it’s not entirely coincidental that our gatherings are, in part, a result of my hos
Still, the more I see them, the more I reminisce about my childhood, the more I am honored to be a part of these families, even if I get a tad sad at closing time.
A sad story ’tis, howsomever, that more and more of us are findinig outselves knocked down hard by the god in charge of our health. Today, for example, Joe Frankie was/is still nursing a hand he damned nearly tore off trying to screw the top of a jar; Nick, my grandnephew, just got out the the hospital after; the same kind of surgery my cousin in-law Don had performed on him not long ago; my brother Ronald had one of his eyes lasered a week or two ago to bring his eye up to date.
ME? I guess you could call me the permanent camp gimp. Seems like that’s been me forever and has been since 1950. You believe that? 62 years ago?
The Two Rivers Restaurant at General Butler State Park just outside Carrollton, Kentucky. Where the food is fair but who gives a hoot when the fellowship is better than the half-basement of West Paris Baptist Church in Paris, Tennessee.
Inside and regally positioned for my greeting line.
One by one they entered came up to my rolling throne, dipped as if they were going to kiss my ring of greatness. All of them. I damned nearly cried, tell the truth.
“I forgot my yule bib,” I burbled to CB. “Now everyone in the two state area can read today’s menu off my sweater.” How lack of joy. How lack I am. Lack. Lack. Lack.
Barb the waitperson slipped up behind me and whipped a bib around me which, at first I thought was a barbershop bib. “Lady comes in has this bib but we lend it out sometimes to a few of our favorites when they come in. You’re in that group now.”
“Thank you, Barb.”
Lunch was finished with nary a splash for split or spark or crumb. Probably for the first time ever.
Desserts were superb: my favorite apple cobbler and something made of chocolate but tasted like blackberry. CB went back for dessert; next time I saw her she was back to smashed potatoes. To make sure them other eaters didn’t steal them sweets out from under her sweet tooth.
After Lunch upstairs to the mezzanine to talk and solve problems that have stumped hundreds of politiciians and to gossip about us and ours.
Bonhomie at its zenth.
I want more.
120209 I Burp Italian a Tad Better now that I’ve Eaten at Giovanni’s (4050 North Bend Road, Cincinnati. Lunchbunch. wilflebobcee); One more meal from Tony and I’ll be speaking slick as the Godfather!
Whatchoo wearing your snowsuit for, Frankie. Your teeth are chattering so loud we’re wasting the money we’ve fed into the jukebox. Man, this caesar salad dressing is greaaaattttt, or would be if it was a mite warmer so’s I could taste it. Who built this piece of shit in Cincinnati Ohio with no furnace – I don’t even see no space heater.
“I can’t stop talking, Frankie, I just can’t. I feel like my who damned head would shatter and role, crumbling down into this here hellhole if I shut my mouth for longer than it takes to suck m breath.
“Look at Joey Sushi last week.
“I’m obsessive, y’all!
“CB, go tell the waitress to get her but over here; I need some coffee. BAD!
Ain’t no waitress, you say? Jes a waiter. Well, gal, that’s the woman’s job, girl: go git him. NOW
“Fle, where dem pitchers we payin’ you to shoot til you drop? Whaddaya mean ye’re outa battery memory? Whachoo mean I gotta use my new Canon today? How can I run this show and show this show and keep it all together without missing a dance step, I ask you. I feel so put-upon.
“Speaking of which, Wee-Willie watch your step; there’s danger everywhere.
“CB go get some napkins. We ain’t got nearly enough. Look at flee: he’s overflowing his yule bib. Wowser is his ever overflowing.
“Who’s gonna get Tony to autograph the menu?
“Where is the menu?
‘I’M talking about pizza! Might get me a personal cheese pizza, see if it’s better than Noce’s or Dewey’s.”
“That’s right,” fle sed, “tie that bandana tightly there so he can’t get his mouth out until his food comes and we let him loose. Okay, CB and Willie, I figger you two have about 15 minutes to exhaust yourselves of all the gossip, rumors, reports, personal observations and everything else of value – fact and fiction – that will edify our little group while Bob is sitting quietly tied up in his chair.”
When I saw the little building sagging over what could have once been a junkyard on the east side of North Bend Road, I expected lots of beer, alcohol-fueled slugfests over semi-beautiful bargirls (didn’t see any bar boys?).
One hint were the half walls set up sturdily around all the clientele tables. Definitely not an English Garden, even a German Biergarten. More like, methinks, a Russian bar where the KGB picks on the punks with big-ass clubs and pogo sticks.
Good day at the OK Giovanni yesterday. So good we took some home: leftover puttanesca and a deliciious Italian sausage sandwich. Still good today. Bob the pizza freak took strangle pizza to which both Joyce and he made mad passionate lover for two nights and two sleepovers. (It WAS good).
Perhaps most telling, Wee-Willie walks in the door up yonder by Dayton only to have John says (in the voice of the giant who had the goose that laid the golden eggs) WHO’S BEEN EATING GARLIC? Somebody’s beeb eatubg garlic.
Tony the cook/server had a heckuva day, cooking and serving and running back to cook again and doing a pretty fair job of it all.
Calamari was about the worst pick of the day and the one that usually is the favorite of Wee-Willie and me. Just no zip.
Sorry, Tony, a 4 on the calamari.
Soup was pretty good, we all seemed to agree.