Archive | March, 2013

Sybel’s Memories

27 Mar

We planned our camping trip to Shoal Bay carefully, making sure our canoe, bikes and lawn chairs, as well as the food for the five night stay were included. Our camping companions included Vera and Buddy, Charlie and Doris, and my sister Lorene.

Buddy and Vera arrived first and parked thier camper in the “honeymoon suite”, so-called because the campsite, located right near the beach, stood in a lonely isolation from all the other campsites. A black top driveway led to two trailer slots, and the third camper fitted nicely on the end of the driveway, perfect for our kind of family camping and fun.

Before we got completely set up, with our name board and decorative lights hung outside, we heard the honking of a Canada goose. He came running, reached his long neck out, expecting a handout.

“Got any bread?” Al asked me.

“Sure,” knowing what he wanted it for. I rummaged around my grocery box, found the bread and handed him a heel.

Of course feeding the goose made him our constant companion for several days. One day Al walked up the steep hill to the bathhouse, and busily lathered up for a shave when he heard the awful honking outside. He put his shaving gear down, looked out the door, and saw the goose waiting impatiently for him to come out. “How did that goose know I was there?” He wondered. Not hard to figure out, as that goose followed him everywhere.

In the morning I took my watercolors, pad and small table under one arm, and my lawn chair under the other and walked down to the beach to paint the bay and the mountains beyond. The goose came running up the beach and poked around in my painting supplies. No bread there, and soon he waddled on up to the camper for his daily bread handout.

One morning Vera, buddy, Al and I decided to take our canoes out and paddle around the point and out to the highway bridge over the creek.

We turned our canoes right side up, fastened seats in, donned lifejackets, tossed our paddles in and carried it down to the shore. Al held the canoe close to the shore while I climbed in, and I held steady with my paddle while he climbed in. We paddled a few feet out in the water to wait for Vera and Buddy to get situated too, then turned our bows into the waves and headed out.

We paddled slowly, savoring the day when Al said “look who’s behind us.”

I turned to see our friend the goose paddling along behind us. Soon he reached us, paddle between our two canoes and settled down for the trip. Occasionally he would dive under and come up on the outside of one of the canoes and swim alongside for a while.

We heard the putt putt of a fishing boat in the distance. As the boat drew near the fisherman spotted the goose paddling along with us. They watched as long as they kept us insight. We made quite a picture.

As we paddled parallel to the shore we saw several pairs of geese, followed by their goslings, swimming along the shoreline, but our friend made no attempt to join them.

Later in the week that goose deserted us, and we didn’t understand why. We discovered later that someone down of the marina began feeding him M&Ms.

Dry bread can’t hold a candle to M&Ms.

Sybel’s memories, ghost houses

7 Mar

We drove through Quintin, Oklahoma, the day of aunt Sadie’s funeral, out to the Quintin Cemetery. After the committal service I wandered through the cemetery, reading names of family members, friends and neighborhood families on the simple gravestones.

Driving back through Quintin, my brother Charlie pointed to a pleasant meadow at the edge of the woods, that crowned a small hill.

“That’s where our old house stood” he said, “and there is where the Mings’ house stood, and there the Higgins lived.”

“Oh yes, Hazel and Verna Mings lived on that corner. I remember them.”

Only one house still stood, all alone, and neither Charlie nor I could remember the name of the family who lived there.

“Up there where that group of outbuildings are is where Sylvester Mills lived. He was in my room in school. He was Indian,” I mused. I kind of liked Sylvester when I was in the fourth grade.

As Charlie drove along the gravel highway I looked at the Prairie remembered as a child and it had shrunk, or so it seemed to me now. Other memories, long forgotten, floated through our heads as we continued our journey.

“There is where grandpa and grandma Butler lived. They had a storm cellar. We stayed all night at grandma’s house the night Merle was born.”

“When Al and I were first married”, I continued, “we came with mama and daddy over to Quintin to see grandpa and grandma. It came up a storm and everyone headed out the back porch door, across a few feet of the yard to the cellar door. Al didn’t want to go to the cellar. I think he was more afraid of what might be in there (like snakes) then he was of the storm.”

I looked back over my shoulder as we drove on by and headed out of town. I probably will never see the place again. And perhaps the assortment of cousins, grown up since I had seen them last, had children and grandchildren of their own.

The only tie we have left is the tie to Butler blood kin, and the only one I know who still lives there is my cousin Bill Butler. I Know of no other.

Sybel’s Memories Al goes to the hospital

6 Mar

Truly it was an unplanned visit! The work is progressing nicely at the Barling First Baptist Church on work night. Al was pleased as he put away his tools and started for home. He had parked car by the first sidewalk, instead of the second, as he usually did. Since Barling First Baptist has two front doors, it has two covered sidewalks. The right hand one is the most used, but Al had parked near the left door. The lights out, the door closed behind him, he walked down and stepped towards the car… Only the pavement dropped off there, and Al lost his balance and fell heavily against the car. Brushing it off, he assured the men he was okay.

But his neck got sore and a day or two later we made a trip to the emergency room for treatment. Al decided not to go to aunt Sadies funeral as his neck still pained him dreadfully. I had gotten me a new permanent and a ride with the rest of the family here, so I went ahead to the funeral. I was surprised and pleased to hear her pastor say how active she had become the church, and nameed shut-ins she had visited and other kinds of deeds she had done. The pastor read my favorite passage of Scripture, John 14:1-6.

After the cortage to the cemetery, where I wondered after the committal service, I saw graves of people I had known in my Oklahoma childhood. Charlie drove us around Quintin afterward and I saw the vacant lot where our old  school stood, and remembered the names and houses of several the neighboring families. I had a lot to tell when I got home.

Al’s neck continued to hurt, and I woke up on Saturday morning to find his side of the bed empty, and discovered him in a chair in the living room. Soon he came in and said “I think I need to go to the hospital. It feels heavy right here in my chest. I may be having a heart attack.”

Recalling the instructions I passed out with the plea for money gifts for the American Heart Association “before you call the ambulance give the patient aspirin, it may save his life.” Well I didn’t call the ambulance, but I gave him an aspirin, and dressed as quickly as I could, and drove him to St. Edwards Hospital before daylight. It is about 3 miles straight down Rogers Avenue from Barling. He walked into the emergency room, sat down and gave them all his medical information, before they got a wheelchair and took them to a room, and monitor on him.

I called brother Mark, our pastor, and then Charlie. We have a camper for sale and had two men call on Friday and they plan to come and look at it on Saturday, so Charlie came over and stayed, but they never showed up. (We still have the camper, too much to worry about it now.)

The nurse got a wheelchair and moved Al out, then he was put on a stretcher and moved room 3402 and hooked up to an IV. I settled in beside his bed, where I stayed for two days and two nights. The nurse found a breakfast for him, but he didn’t feel like eating, but I was so hungry so I ate it. After a while Charlie came to the hospital to check on him, and said the two men never showed up to look at the trailer. Boy, that was the least of my worries right then! When Charlie went home he emailed all the boys for us. David Called at the hospital and talked to both of us. Dan and Joan says a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, which is still blooming today on my long table in the dining room area of the kitchen. (I kept in the hospital room until today, since I know he’s coming home in the morning.)

When I got home I called Willie about the church building project. Told him where to pick up the finished boards Al and I stained on our patio, so he could finish around the sound booth, since the carpet people were coming in a day or two, and all the work in there needed to be finished before the It was laid.

I picked up the mail, and there was a box with my new Easter dress and shoes and I was glad to get them in the house. I checked them out, and they will be nice for Easter.

I stayed with Al for two days and nights and I was there when they did the sonogram. What a fascinating thing that was there on the TV screen, a moving picture of Al’s heart, in full color, as it pulsed and moved. Later the technician enlarged parts of it for a better look. At one point Al said “that looks like a valve.” And the technician said “it is.”

Two men came in from Fianna Hills with Al’s doctor. One of them an Episcopal minister, grinned and flipped his fingers and told Al he’d given in the last rights! Al loves to tell visitors about it. The other doctor said “there’s nothing wrong with your heart!” I gave him the “praying hands” sign and he smiled at me.

When it was time for the stress test, I watched with a worried look on my face, as Al walked out surrounded by nurses, with his hand clutching the back flap of the Johnny, trying to keep it closed. One of the entourage of doctors and nurses said “well I don’t know what they’ve got you in here for!”

One of the nurses in his room was a little oriental girl and she told us her story and showed us her diamond ring… Later on she filled in more details of her six year courtship before she finally agreed to marry the guy after he became a Christian like she is.

Al had oxygen from tubes inserted in his nostrils, monitor cords fixed to his chest, and his name tag on his wrist. Most of the time he slept. I sat beside him patiently. He told me to bring a book to read but I haven’t done it. One of the nurses brought in a beautiful bouquet of flowers from Dan and David called us, and Paul called us. He was so good to have these boys to talk to. A comfort to us.

At 3:40 a nurse came in and changed all Al’s batteries. She said they have a room where they monitor the heart batteries. Later when Dr. Calloway came in he unhooked the tubes. They have about decided that the pain was caused by his blood pressure being too high, and are giving him medicine to lower that.

I came home during the day to pick up the mail and feed Bill Bailey. This day Al told me to stay home and get some rest tonight and hopefully he’ll come home tomorrow.

Mary Addy (from our church) call to see how Al is, and tell me the people at the center have signed a card for him… where should she send it, and I said “home.” She reported that Bobby Belt taught our class Sunday night, and did a good job. So now we know who we can ask to teach it while we are in Maine. Our teacher died of heart disease since we were in Maine last.

What the heart gives away is never gone. It is kept in the hearts of others. Robin St. John.

We keep you all in our hearts.