A Reason to Defer Sainthood

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I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard him say it. I stayed up late and listened to the whole blooming speech a second time to make sure I got it right. Today, I read the transcript and convinced myself that I heard him say it correctly. President Obama proposes to go on a mad shopping spree to save us from ourselves and it won’t cost us a single dime. HOW? Some one clue me in.

My only answer is he will tax the living bejesus out of the entire population including those who don’t have any income to tax.

Four years ago he went on TV to tell us about his Trillion Dollar Stimulus which was going to fuel the shovel ready infrastructure projects the country so sorely needs. Falling bridges, crumbling roads, you know all the stuff we use everyday. To my knowledge he squandered a trillion dollars and not a single bridge got built.More Kool-aid folks, that is what it is. If he can produce all he talked about without it costing a single dime, I’ll personally nominate him for Sainthood. OOPs I’ll have to wait for the election of a new pope before I can  consider that one.

 

Learning the Meaning of Dysfunctional

Dysfunctional Family

Dysfunctional Family (Photo credit: Chris Pirillo)

Many times I have read a movie description which proclaimed the film to be about a dysfunctional family or couple. I never truly understood the meaning of dysfunctional until a few days ago. Peg and I were planning our thanksgiving meal.  You must understand that Peg and I are widows who married. We have two sets of kids, two sets of grandkids, two sets of traditions, two sets of nationalities. This marriage isn’t like our first ones when we married young and stayed with our partners until “death do us part.” Because we started young we grew up together as a family. We adopted the good from our parents and families. These became traditions for us. It wasn’t long before I adopted the traditions of my young wife and she modified the traditions of my family to fit in. Together we set up a new tradition that was exclusively ours. Peg did the same with her husband.

Here we are in our mid-seventies trying to make everyone happy. Simple things like “what time should we serve?” become a major debate.

“My kids all have to work and can’t come until late.”

“Well, my kids have young children and they can’t stay late.”

Suddenly, the meaning of dysfunctional began to roll through my mind. Is this what they mean? Suddenly, two families merged into one begin behaving outside their norms. Will we ever live long enough to create a new tradition that melds the two families together?

If we do succeed, it will be because Peg and I will concede and drop hosting the holiday meals by delegating the job to our children and grandchildren, who I am positive will make us happy by providing our favorite traditional dishes from all nationalities.

I look forward to this year as the most dysfunctional Thanksgiving ever.

Twinkie Diplomacy

I’m too busy preparing for Thanksgiving to add many words. I think the picture tells the story.

If I Were the Devil

Paul Harvey, 2005

Paul Harvey, 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul Harvey now deceased commented frequently on radio. His popularity was worldwide. I loved his daily noontime show The Rest of the Story kept me tuning in for more. He took stories from and about real people and made them fascinating. A friend sent this video which he did in nineteen sixty-five. Two things strike me about this piece. First, it sounds like it was written about today’s problems. Second, he is spot on with his analysis.

Happy 236th Birthday America!

Ronald Reagan inspired the country each time he spoke. This address especially befits America’s 236 th birthday. Isn’t it wonderful that we have Youtube videos to look back and remember when leaders like President Reagan could lift the spirits of our entire population.

Received from a friend.

Happy Independance Day

I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE

FLAG,

OF THE UNITED

STATES OF AMERICA ,

AND TO THE REPUBLIC, FOR

WHICH IT STANDS,

ONE NATION UNDER  GOD,

INDIVISIBLE,

WITH  LIBERTY

AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!

KEEP IT LIT!!  KEEP IT LIT!

for all of our other military personnel, where ever they may be.

Support all of the troops defending our Country.

And God Bless our Military

who are protecting our Country for our Freedom.

Thanks to them, and their sacrifices, we can celebrate the 4th of July

We must never forget who gets the credit for the freedoms we have,

of which we should be eternally grateful.

I watched the flag pass by one day.

It fluttered in the breeze,

A young Marine saluted it,

And then he stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform;

so young, so tall, so proud.

With hair cut square and eyes alert,

he’d stand out in any crowd.

I thought how many men like him

had fallen through the years.

How many died on foreign soil;

how many mothers’ tears?

How many pilots’ planes shot down?

How many died at sea?

How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?

No, freedom isn’t free.

I heard the sound of Taps one night,

when everything was still.

I listened to the bugler play

And felt a sudden chill.

I wondered just how many times

That Taps had meant ‘Amen.’

When a flag had draped a coffin

of a brother or a friend.

I thought of all the children,

of the mothers and the wives,

of fathers, sons and husbands

With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard

At the bottom of the sea.

Of unmarked graves in  Arlington .

No, freedom isn’t free.

Enjoy Your Freedom

and

God Bless Our Troops.

In Pursuit of Reason

The signature of Thomas Jefferson, 3rd Preside...

Image via Wikipedia

During a recent vacation trip, Grandma Peggy and I visited Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. The visit is on my list of things to do and see sometimes called a “bucket list.”

We enjoyed every moment of our time there. I love touring mansions, and this house is definitely a mansion. Jefferson spent a lot of his energy and time designing and building Monticello. His ideas for the layout are definitely unique. The level of detail within the rooms is amazing. Jefferson loved science and incorporated many slick little features to make his dream house work for him. For example, the twin doors separating the living area from the main entry hall  has a unique feature. One has only to open a single door, and the matching unit swings open automatically. The right hand door is independently actuated by the one on the left. The mechanism is completely hidden from view. The door opens as if by magic. As we walked up the stairs to the entry, I noticed a dial on the ceiling rotating to and fro. The letters N,S,E,W encircled the dial. Above the porch, on the roof  a weather vane danced with the wind. The dial on the porch ceiling danced in unison. All the man had to do is to look out at his porch ceiling to find which direction the wind came from. Useful? Perhaps, but certainly novel.

During the tour of the house, A peculiar device jumped out at me. We were in his office. There, placed on his writing desk sat a pantograph. The guide explained that Jefferson wrote many letters and made a copy of everything he wrote. The pantograph was his copy machine. SInce he saved copies of his writings, Historians have a trove of material to research.

While in the museum bookstore, search the racks for a biography. Another item on my bucket list is to read the biographies of the presidents. I had started with Jefferson years ago, but the book wasn’t readable. It was one of few I never completed. There were many biographies on the rack. Choosing the right one seemed impossible. Grandma Peggy pulled one down, looked at the price and said, “how about this one?” I took it from her without examining the jacket. The book titled “The pursuit of Reason, The Life of Thomas Jefferson,” by Noble E. Cunningham, Jr. turned into one of my best historical reads.

Cunningham’s style and my reading taste coincided completely. I found reading easy and entertaining. The one negative is that the print is small. Even though the book is three-hundred and fifty pages it took me as long to read as a five-hundred page novel. One of the biggest impressions Cunningham left on me was the parallel between Jefferson’s problems, during his two terms in office as President, with those of current affairs. He served as the third president. Only Washington and Adams served before him, yet one of his major concerns was the effort by the Federalist party to disregard the Constitution. In fact, Jefferson himself had problems adhering rigidly to the Constitution. During his negotiations to buy Louisiana from France, he realized the need for an amendment.  At the same time, he knew an amendment would need two or more years to realize. He feared losing the deal, and took it upon himself  to use the executive power of the office to buy the land extending to the Mississippi.

Jefferson wrestled the slavery issue from the time he authored the Declaration throughout his political career, but in his personal life he owned slaves and did not emancipate them. His daughter inherited the slaves upon his death. He spoke of emancipation often, but always pushed the problem to a younger generation. In other words, he kicked the can down the road. Where have we heard that before?

I am glad I read this book. My respect for Thomas Jefferson increased by one-hundred fold. He is a bigger man than I imagined.

Forward Progress

Mount Everest from Kalapatthar.

Image via Wikipedia

A major step to recovery came when I got to sit up on the edge of the bed for the first time.  What’s the big deal, I thought to myself?  Two nurses came in to help slide me over sideways to let my legs hang off the bed.  The nurses lifted from under the arms and around my back to raise me into a sitting position.  Wow! my head started spinning. I had not been off my back for a month.

Meals were a joke because I took nourishment through a feeding tube.  The first thing they did after inserting the tube was to extract a bunch of vile looking fluid from my stomach. A nurse pulled green fluid from my stomach  for a couple of days before she got the okay to feed me. She did the reverse and pushed a syringe full of milky white fluid into my stomach. Just a shot glass full at first, then gradually increasing the amount over a period of days to a full eight ounces.  I felt the cold liquid stuff going down the tube.

Why did they have to feed me through a tube?  I couldn’t swallow.  The polio damaged the nerves controlling my neck muscles.  If I tried to sip something I would  drown.

Gradually,  I got better and started to talk with the nurses and doctors, I learned I had bulbar spinal polio.  This type of polio attacks the face, neck and chest.  Luckily, my chest muscles were the least affected.  My face, neck, and right leg from the hip down were the most affected.  The result was that I couldn’t smile, swallow, hold up my head, or walk.

Every evening in the Contagious Disease Hospital an attendant wheeled a snack cart through the halls and stopped at each room except mine.  I could see the cart through all the windows. The cart had two large glass bottles filled with colored water.  One was a brilliant red and the other green.  Something about the colored drink attracted me. I longed to have a glass of each.  As the cart came closer to my room I debated with myself as to which color I would ask for – the red or the green?  The hall lights helped make the color of that fluid vibrant, and I longed to have some.  Each night, the cart passed by my room without stopping, but I played the game each time. I later learned the magic fluid was cherry and lime jello water.

Another big adventure was to stand up.  Earlier in the week I got to sit on the edge of the bed. Sitting up for a few minutes became a daily ritual. Each day I sat for a few minutes longer. It was great to sit up, especially when Mom came with Mrs. Thomas.  Sitting made it easier to write on the chalk board and to hold it up to the window. When the time finally came to stand up, two nurses came in.  Again, I thought what is the big deal?  Just let me slide off the edge of the bed and stand.   That’s just what they did.  They let me slide off the edge until my feet were on the floor. One nurse on each side held me under the arm. Each held their leg against my knee. Wow! It felt good to stand;  It also felt strange. After a minute my legs started shaking and got all wobbly and I had to sit down again.

The day I stood up for the first time is when I realized how much damage the virus did. That day also marked the start of my re-hab.  There wasn’t any facility to do re-hab at CDH, but the simple act of getting me up and out of bed was the start.  I still couldn’t swallow, but I could sit up and stand.  Later in the week, they let me take a few steps which was hard because my hip and thigh muscles on the right side were gone.  I dragged the right leg along putting all my weight on the aide. The remaining muscle groups couldn’t hold me up straight, so I leaned heavily to the left to compensate and my head just rolled around like I had a  broken neck.

A nurse started me on swallowing exercises.  She let me take tiny sips of water, just enough to wet my tongue, and encouraged me to swallow.  I strained with all my might but nothing in my throat moved.

The jello water cart came every night. Each time I saw that red and green fluid I tried hard to swallow, but nothing seemed to happen.  I was never allowed to sip water on my own for fear of choking.

One day after what seemed like a month of practicing to swallow the nurse had to leave the room for a moment. What the heck, I decided to sneak a sip of water.  I felt the muscles move in my throat and the sip went down. I swallowed!  Things were moving in there, and the water went down the right pipe. At that moment I felt like I had just reached the top of the Mount Everest.  The next day, when the nurse came to exercise my swallow muscles, I showed her I could actually do it. That night the jello water cart with the fantastic red and green juice stopped at my door.

My first day at CDH was in early August, right after my fifteenth birthday.  It was now late October.  I missed football tryout, I wasn’t managing the basketball team, I hadn’t opened a book to study and I saw my friends once in that time.  It didn’t matter, all I could do is look forward and do the best I could.

One day a nurse came to tell me the news they were sending me to another hospital.  There was nothing more they could do for me at CDH.  It was Halloween night when the ambulance took me to Michael Reese.

Leaving all the nurses was a sad time.  There were so many who worked with me, mostly students from area hospitals.  All of them were great nurses.  It dawned on me that I never met another patient at CDH because everyone was so isolated.

Two aides slid me on a gurney and bundled me up. As they wheeled me out of the room I called home for so many weeks I touched the big ugly iron lung breathing machine parked outside my door. I whispered “thanks for being there for me.” I also thanked God that I never needed to use it. The attendants wheeled me down the corridor to the ambulance dock. I never saw any of the angels who cared for me to say goodbye.

During my last few days at CDH I thought about becoming a doctor.  All of the staff at CDH was so good and nice to me. I thought of giving back to the world by becoming a doctor.  The question stayed with me and I debated for very long time. Eventually,  I concluded that even though it was a noble idea that I was not the right kind of person to become a doctor.  I decided to stay on the path to become an engineer.  The ride to Michael Reese took only a few minutes, but it seemed like a trip around the world. In my mind I saw kids out on the street going door to door to “Trick or Treat”.

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