Studly Doright Gets His Own Post

Today marks Studly Doright’s 40th year with the same company. He started out on the very bottom rung in the maintenance crew and steadily climbed to the position of Area Director. We still are slightly amazed at how far he’s come with only a high school education.

The rise to AD included multiple moves, first from Texas to North Dakota, then to Kansas, followed by our first stint in Florida, an 8-year detour to Illinois and finally (we hope) back to Florida.

He shared with me the email from his Vice President announcing this anniversary and I got teary eyed reading it and all the follow up emails from the folks he’s worked with over the years. I’m married to a special guy, but I didn’t need to get that information from others. Still, it’s so nice to read all the memories others have of his time with them.

So here’s to Studly! Thanks for being the hardest working, most consistently trustworthy guy I know.

Peace, people!

Memory Glitch

Memory is an odd thing. There are happenings from my past that I remember with certainty, and I’d argue vehemently with anyone who suggested that my memories might be corrupted by time or experiences pre- or post-event. Or even that the memory wasn’t even my memory.

The truth is, though, that memories are subject to outside influences. Perhaps we’ve heard a story so many times that we believe we actually were part of the story. We’ve incorporated the ideas into our own psyches. I knew of this phenomenon, I just never had real evidence of it until recently.

Studly Doright and I were reminiscing the other night about an event that occurred twenty years ago when we lived in Great Bend, Kansas. Our dog had developed an infection in one of his toes and I walked him over to the veterinarian’s office just around the corner from our house. Our daughter, Ashley, accompanied me.

The vet took us back to the examination room immediately and looked at Snapper’s puffy paw. Apparently the dog had gotten some sort of seed embedded in his nail and it had become inflamed and contained a hefty amount of pus that needed to be drained. I held Snapper while the vet swabbed the dog’s paw with antiseptic and Ashley looked on, the scent of alcohol heavy in the room.

All went well until the moment the vet lanced Snapper’s paw and blood-laced pus came pouring from the infected area. I heard my daughter moan and watched her eyes roll back in her head as she began falling to the floor. I was holding the dog and grasping for my daughter’s arm to keep her from hitting her head on the floor. Meanwhile, the damned vet stood there laughing!

Somehow I managed to slow Ashley’s descent without dropping Snapper, as the vet calmly told a story about watching a big strong cowboy faint watching his horse undergo a similar procedure. Ashley still ended up on the floor, but not at full velocity. The vet bandaged the dog’s paw as poor Ashley lay unconscious. She was only out for a few seconds, but woke up thinking she’d overslept and missed a band concert scheduled for that evening.

We paid the vet (who I never took any of my pets to again) and slowly walked the block and a half home. Ashley, other than being a little disoriented, didn’t seem to have sustained any injuries, and we related our story to Studly Doright in full gory detail when we returned home.

Over the course of twenty years, Ashley and I both have told the story dozens of times. Never once has Studly Doright been at that vet’s office with us, that is, until he told the story during our little trip down memory lane. According to him, he was the one holding the dog. He was the one who kept Ashley from hitting the floor. He was the one who became exasperated by the vet’s silly nattering. No amount of arguing with him could convince him that his memory was false. Hell, I began wondering if I was the one with the faulty memory.

Then while at Ashley’s home in Illinois for Christmas I asked her to recount the story. She did, almost word for word the way I wrote it above. Studly couldn’t believe his ears; although, in the face of such strong evidence he began to realize that perhaps he had internalized the details of our story to the point he’d convinced himself that it had happened to him. He won’t quite admit that he was wrong, but he is no longer adamant that he was there.

It’s kind of fascinating, isn’t it? That the brain can trick itself into believing something. It makes me wonder what memories I have that aren’t accurate, or that aren’t even my own. Like that memory I have of Han Solo and me kissing on board the Millennium Falcon as we evaded Imperial ships on our way to Cloud City. Don’t you dare tell me that never happened!

Peace, people!

Christmas Climb

Studly Doright and I celebrated Christmas with our daughter and her family in Port Byron, Illinois. We laughed, exchanged gifts, watched the grandkids’ delight as they explored their new acquisitions, and ate way too much. Our daughter’s in-laws came today, and we really enjoyed our visit with them over lunch. I am so happy knowing that our grandchildren are loved so much by so many people.

I could’ve shared a great many photos from today, but my favorites, by far, were these taken by our son-in-law:

That’s Studly and our youngest grandchild exploring in the woods behind our daughter’s home. The two took off on a walk, crossed a creek via a fallen tree, and climbed the steep banks rising from the creek bed. When they returned to the house their cheeks were rosy and one of them was severely out of breath. I’ll let you guess which one that was. (Hint: It wasn’t the one wearing the unicorn bike helmet.)

We’ll start our trip home tomorrow. I’ll be sad to leave, but we’ll take with us wonderful memories of time spent with the ones we love. I hope your Christmas Day was filled with love and laughter.

Peace, people!

Still More Photos from the Road

Technically, Studly Doright and I weren’t driving today. We’re staying at a hotel in Le Claire, Iowa, across the river from our daughter’s house in Port Byron, Illinois. Still, though, we are away from Doright Manor so any photos I take are fair game. Plus, I’m worn out, so coming up with a new title was beyond my present capabilities.

Our hotel is right on the Mississippi River, and our room has a river view.

We have a lovely balcony, but the weather is a bit too chilly for hanging around outside.

Last night my daughter, granddaughter, her friend, and I attended a dinner theatre production of Annie. The evening was part of our granddaughter’s birthday gift–her big day is December 26, and often it gets kind of lost with all of the other holiday activities. The dinner theatre was a perfect way to celebrate.

Today is Christmas Eve, and we plan to bring the grandkids to the hotel for a swim while the parents take care of other important stuff.

In other news, this kid loves bacon.

More Pictures from the Road

On Saturday Studly and I traveled the second leg of our Christmas journey, driving from Clarksville, Tennessee, to Port Byron, Illinois. We made good time and soon were hugging our daughter and three of our five grandkids.

This is how the youngest one dressed to greet us in 33° weather:

After getting the grandkids all riled up we headed to a pizza place across the river in LeClaire, Iowa, where we played pinball and Pac-Man, tried our luck with the claw game and the fortune telling machine while the pizza was being cooked. I was too busy playing to take any pictures, but I took this one of the granddaughters posing as the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who in front of a shop in LeClaire.

There wasn’t nearly as much NASCAR style driving going on today, so my sanity isn’t in question as it was last night. I didn’t take many photos from the passenger seat today either, but we did pass a truck carrying its payload in an unorthodox manner:

Studly called my attention to this odd sight as we approached the truck north of Springfield, Illinois. We pondered for many miles how this little car was loaded onto the bed of the truck.

Other than these two pictures I only snapped a few others:

Studly got a bit excited when he saw snow on the side of the road. I hope that’s the ONLY snow we see this week; although, the forecast is calling for a white Christmas.

That’s part of the Peoria, Illinois, skyline, above. Not a great photo, but Peoria is kind of a cool river town.

As I type this, Studly and I are unwinding in our cozy hotel room with a view of the Mississippi River outside our window. We’re watching the Kansas Jayhawks play basketball while recharging our batteries for tomorrow’s activities with the grandkids. We’re going to need all the energy we can muster. Wish us luck.

Peace, people.

A Fuchsia Suit

When I picture my mom I usually see her as she appeared in old black and white photos, many taken at family gatherings. In some, she’s smoking a cigarette, in others shyly smiling. At a little over 5 feet and 11 inches tall, Mom was self-conscious about her height, but until she became very ill she never slumped. When her image comes to me unbidden, I see her standing straight, shoulders back.

Mom wasn’t a flashy dresser. She always looked put together, but she never wanted to attract too much attention. I always felt she was more comfortable in the background than in the spotlight, but then what does a daughter really know about her mother?

One year for her birthday Daddy brought Mom a beautifully wrapped box from a higher end department store. That in itself was a big deal. We were a Sears family. Our clothes often came packaged in “3 for $10” sets, so when Mom began unwrapping that elegant box her hands trembled.

When she peeled back the layers of tissue paper surrounding her gift, some of her enthusiasm had waned. She smiled wanly as she lifted up a bright fuchsia knit skirt and blazer. Of course I thought it was beautiful, and obviously so did Daddy, but Mom didn’t seem to share our enthusiasm.

She thanked Daddy who was beaming with pride, but later I overheard her describing the suit to a friend as gaudy. I wasn’t sure what “gaudy” meant, but by the tone of her voice I knew it wasn’t good.

Nevertheless, Mom wore that suit. At first, trepidatiously, but later with confidence. I hope I told her how gorgeous she looked. I hope she felt beautiful in her fuchsia dress.

I’m pretty sure that’s not the suit Mom was wearing in the photo above, but the time frame is about right. Weren’t we precious?

Peace, people!

A Hundred Dollars

This afternoon I shopped at Target and spent a hundred dollars without even thinking about it. Some of the items I purchased were necessities (e.g. toilet paper), while a couple were “wants” (e.g. hot chocolate flavored marshmallows). I didn’t even blink an eye when the clerk hit the total button.

There have been many, many times in my life, though, when a hundred dollars felt like a fortune. Past Christmases for our whole family were often funded with less than what I spent in one silly Target run.

I still remember the first time I saw, or at least paid attention to, a hundred dollar bill. I was only six or so, and I was hanging out with my beloved grandaddy at the coffee shop. Before he paid the check, he leaned over and showed me the contents of his wallet. There were a bunch of hundred dollar bills in there and I remember being in awe. I figured Grandaddy must be rich to have that much money, and I asked if he was. He just laughed, and told me no, saying, “A hundred dollars doesn’t buy what it used to.”

I have to wonder what Grandaddy would think about the value of a hundred dollars in 2018. He was a pretty savvy businessman, so I doubt he’d be surprised. One thing’s for sure, it certainly doesn’t buy what it used to.

Peace, people.

A Little Tied Up

I didn’t write anything yesterday, but I asked my granddaughter to sub for me and she did so admirably. Today I totally spaced out and got nothing written. But, I did take the grand dog to get a pedicure, and I drove our grandson to play practice, and in just a few minutes I’m leaving to escort the youngest grandchild to her hip hop dance class.

My visit with my daughter’s family in western Illinois comes to an end tomorrow, and I’ll miss being with her and my grands. I’ve been a little tied up here, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Make It So

My daughter was being prepped for surgery this morning. She’s a real trouper, following every direction, asking smart questions, seemingly super relaxed. But she has tiny veins, and when it was time for the I.V. needle to be inserted she knew she was in for a bit of an ordeal.

The first nurse searched and palpated for a friendly vein on both arms before calling in an R.N. to help. Most R.N.’s are no-nonsense, and this one certainly fit the bill. She spied a spot, injected a bit of novacain, and inserted the needle in the back of A’s hand in the span of an eye blink. I happened to be holding my daughter’s other hand at the time and probably won’t be able to use that appendage for a month or so. There were big old tears coursing down her cheeks. I don’t care how old one’s child is, when they cry, you cry. So I cried.

In the midst of her pain and tears, though, my daughter quipped, “Why can’t they invent wireless I.V.’s?”

Now there’s a plan. Could someone make that happen like yesterday?

Peace, people.