Archive | March 2020

Trapped

I arrived home from work and found Arnie standing at the kitchen counter making himself his favorite snack, a cheese and summer sausage sandwich. Pulling off my coat, I opened the entryway closet and hanging it on a hanger, commented, “There’s a sharp edge to the wind this afternoon despite the sunshine. Clouds are moving in from the west. Maybe tonight we’ll get our first snow.”

Taking a big bite from his sandwich, my husband replied with smug satisfaction, “It’s a good thing I made a point of pounding in the fence posts for our snow fence this afternoon. In the next few days, the ground will probably freeze and then it would be too late.”

Eyeing the last of the sandwich disappearing into Arnie’s mouth, I guessed, “You won’t be looking for an early supper tonight, so I’m going to change the bed and do the laundry before I start cooking.”

Looking out of the dining room window at the big blue barn across the yard, Arnie mused, “I should probably go out and feed the cattle now instead of later. The longer I wait, the less I’ll feel like going out there.” Busy with my own work, I wasn’t sure when he actually went to the barn. Continue reading

Corduroy Road

After emptying the sterilizer, I stepped back into the labor room hallway to check on how things were going with our only labor patient. The labor and delivery nurse walked out of the mother’s room. Glancing at me, she ordered, “Set up the delivery room. We’ll be moving our patient there as soon as I call Dr. Rice. This is her fourth baby, so when it’s ready, it’ll come quickly.”

Pulling a surgical cap over my hair and covering my nose and mouth with a mask, I entered the delivery room. First, I opened a supply kit on a large wheeled table next to the delivery bed, then I took a sterilized package of delivery instruments from the shelf, opened the outside wrap and placed them next to the placenta basin without touching the inner wrap.

By the time I returned to the labor room, the nurse had already unplugged the bed and pulled the mother’s IV pole behind the headboard. Waving a greeting at me, the soon-to-be-mother grimaced with her next contraction. The nurse and I guided the wheeled bed out of the labor room, through the delivery suite hallway and into the setup room. By the time we transferred the mother to the delivery bed and I’d pushed the wheeled labor bed into the hallway, Dr. Rice had arrived, capped, masked and freshly scrubbed-in. Continue reading

Weigelsdorf

As I crested the hill, my eyes immediately focused on a farmyard on the west side of the road. Arnie and I had lived there from 1974 through 1979. The mobile home we had lived in and sold to the new owner was gone. In its place they had built a house. Many of the trees and shrubs around it were ones that my Mom and I had planted the summer I raked and seeded the lawn. Spotting a tall pine tree in the back yard triggered a memory. We had struggled to dig it up from a local ditch, unable to believe that a small sapling could have such a long taproot!

Shock filled me as I scanned the rest of the yard. Across the driveway where there had once stood a large blue barn, four silos and a small handful of stonewalled sheds; was a skinny, skeleton that merely traced the defunct barn’s outline. The landmark barn was disappearing.

The farm had belonged to the Weigel family. Bachelor brothers, Max and Leo, had been the last proprietors.  My husband and I had moved our mobile home there in 1974 from a lot in Marshfield. We were told that we lived in the center of an area some people called, Weigelsdorf. All the farmers living near this crossroad were Weigels or people who had married into the large Weigel family. Continue reading

Bumps and Thumps

Snuggling down under a large quilt in my rocking chair on a cold winter night felt so right. The best part of my self-indulgence was that my conscience was clear; I wasn’t being lazy. During the day I had washed two loads of laundry, swept, vacuumed, baked bread and cooked a nice supper. The furnace in the basement kicked in with a roar. I smiled. During the summer when I had had it installed; I worried it would be so quiet that I wouldn’t know when it was running. Ruefully, I reflected, “With it directly below where I’m sitting, it sounds like a jet engine revving-up to take off.”

As a new widow and fully responsible for my home, I had quickly become aware of the sounds in my house and what they mean. The old furnace was working right when; augers kicked in, pellets clinked down the chute and the noisy blower frequently started up with a roar. Well pump clicks told me when water was being drawn from the well. Snow falling from the upper roof make loud crashes, but apparently do no damage.

Sometimes I learned new sounds. One day I was in the dining room when I heard a loud thumping sound coming from the upstairs hallway. It sounded like a kid was running from one end of the house to the other. My heart pounded. I was home alone. Slowly walking toward the staircase, I spotted Louie my white and black cat on the landing. A few seconds later, Shadow the black and white cat joined him. They had been chasing each other. I picked Louie up. He looked soft and fluffy, but tipped the scale well over twelve pounds. Still, how did he manage to sound like an elephant heffalumping down the hallway? Pets make surprising sounds. Continue reading