Stories, smiles and Seuss — kids celebrate reading
Big Sandy Community and Technical College celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday with Head Start, Kindergarten and first-grade students from Paintsville Elementary School on Thursday, March 6. The event was sponsored by the BSCTC Library.
A living history
In my younger days, the word “history” was perceived as sort of a bad word and meant absolutely nothing to me except as a dreaded — and very boring — subject I had to suffer through in both high school and college. Who’d a thunk that now, some 50 years later, the History Channel is one of my favorite channels on TV? Just goes to show, I guess, that time can change a feller.
But when I was a kid, I had no sense of history regarding the world in which I lived, especially my own surroundings. The coal company for which my daddy worked; the church and school I attended: even the water I drank — extracted via the squeaky, metal pump placed strategically among several houses in the camp — were simply taken for granted. The history behind those things and how they came to be, was the farthest thing from my mind.
At home, when it came my time to go to the pump for the next bucket of water, never once did I ever wonder when, and by whom, that well was dug. It was just there for me to use, to drink from, for Mom to cook with, for me to bathe in before school and church services on Sunday mornings. The pews and song books and the little King James Testaments were already in the church building when I arrived, and it never entered my mind that it all had to have been purchased by somebody.
The same with school. When that bell rang after recess and we lined up to enter the building, I never once gave thought to who might have been responsible for the state-of-the-art structure in which I was being taught, or who furnished the salaries (as meager as they were) for those responsible for instructing me in my basic educational needs.
As far as I was concerned, all those things could have been natural formations, like the hills that surrounded me; the clouds that danced and pranced over me as I shot cap busters at other boys my age as we let out war whoops and re-enacted the cowboy show we’d watched at last Saturday’s matinee.
In those days, I didn’t know, nor did I care, that more than 30 years before I was even born, a group of entrepreneurs in some far away city, had sat down with construction and mining engineers and mapped it all out. But it was several decades before I gave any thought to such things.
Even though I had no sense of history, one thing those days did, however, was help me store memories of a hundred summer evenings when life-long friendships were formed as I played until darkness drove me indoors; when my most important thoughts consisted of the best places to hide in order to avoid detection by whomever was “it” in our nightly game of kick-the-can.
Thanks to the History Channel, I’m reminded that even the most seemingly insignificant thing has a past, and I’m encouraged to give thought to all those things that meant so much to me in the days of my youth. When viewed from that perspective, “history” just may not be such a bad word after all.
Take a number
For those of you that may not be aware of it, failing to call months in advance for a medical appointment could prove fatal. I discovered this the hard way while suffering with a bad head cold a few weeks ago, I attempted to see a doctor.
I walked into the over-crowded waiting room and approached the receptionist.
“Do you have an appointment?” she asked?”
“No,” I replied, miserably. “I wasn’t expecting a cold.”
“Sign here,” she said, pointing to line 87 on the waiting list. “Fill out these forms and take a seat.”
I found a seat between a woman holding a baby and a man with a hacking cough.
“Bad cold,” the woman asked, as a sneeze doubled me over in my chair.
I nodded and blew into a Kleenex, “I hope the baby isn’t too sick.”
“She isn’t so far,” the mother said coldly, as she placed the blanket over the baby’s face. “Would you mind turning your head in the other direction?”
This put me on eye level with the man and his cough.
“Emphysema?” I asked?
“No,” he coughed, “TB I think.”
“Excuse me,” I said as I held my breath and found a seat three aisles away.
“I couldn’t help overhearing,” the woman seated next to me said. “You’re the woman who forgot to make an appointment.”
“That s right,” I replied, as I placed a bottle of nose spray in one nostril.
“I always make an appointment,” she said. “That way I just have to wait until I get sick”
“Does it take that long,” I asked.
“Well, most of the time is taken up filling out forms. It makes the time pass faster, then you can sit back and try to guess which number they’re going to call next.”
“You mean they don’t call the numbers consecutively?” I queried.
“Medical cards come first, followed by miner’s cards, insurance, credit cards and travelers checks.”
“I was going to pay by personal check,” I said.
“That’s too bad,” she stated. “You could be here all night while they run a credit check on you.”
I waddled to my feet and searched for a pay phone.
“Honey,” I said when my husband answered, “if I’m not home by Thursday take the roast out of the oven.”
“Are you all right?” he asked.
“I’m not sure,” I said, weakly. “I may have TB.” I walked back up to the receptionist’s desk and asked if she could fill out a prescription for me.
“That’s against policy,” she snapped. The doctor will have to see you first so he can determine the nature of your illness.”
“I know what’s wrong with me,” I said, impatiently, “I have a cold.”
“So you say,” she smiled. “I’ve seen people in better shape than you drop dead right in front of me.”
They must have died from the wait I said as I fell to my knees coughing.
“Lady, don’t make a scene. There are sick people here,” she said pointing to the angry mob behind me. If you insist upon seeing the doctor you’ll just have to wait your turn.
I dragged myself back to a chair and started to fill out the forms. I noticed the woman sitting next to me and I said to her, “I’ll give you ten dollars for your number.”
“You’re not sick, you’re crazy!” the woman exclaimed. I’ve been here since three o clock this morning and my labor pains are two minutes apart.
“Fore, a voice called from the inner office.
“That must be your number,” I said.
“Oh, no! she replied that’s the doctor practicing his golf game.
When my number was finally called, I was placed on a stretcher and carried into the office where a nurse took my blood pressure and told me that the doctor would be with me in a moment. After I had been on the table for over an hour the nurse reentered the room and said that the doctor had been called out on an emergency. She then explained that she had given him my symptoms and he said I should take two aspirin, drinks plenty of liquids and come back in the morning.
“You can make an appointment on the way out,” she said.
Have a great week, and don’t forget to Smile Awhile!
(Some things never change. This was written in 1978 when I wrote for the Highlands Magazine. I was given permission to reprint this article.)
Education and Common Sense
The world is upside down
I am really distressed about someting my country is about to do.
I have always been proud of the reason our nation was formed: how the Pilgrims came to our country so they could worship God in the way they wanted. I have loved the fact that we could go to any church that would have us—or no church at all, if that was our desire.
I have always sent my children to public school, and, as a public school teacher, have realized that teaching my own children is much harder for me than teaching a roomful of other people’s children . I am no fan of home schooling, but I have many friends who have successfully home schooled their children and, I suppose, kept them from many undesirable influences. Everybody to his own notion, (as the old lady said when she kissed the cow.)
I have been distressed these days at reports of so many illegal immigrants coming into our country and getting the jobs, the free schooling, medical care, and other perks of living here and not bothering to go through the proper channels of becoming a citizen.
This morning I read on the Internet about a Southern Baptist family in Tennessee who came here from Germany because they were being forced to send their children to the state schools that taught tolerance of all sorts of activities that the parents are convinced that the Bible teaches are sins. They came to Tennessee so they would be allowed to home school their children and teach them to be good Christian citizens.
They are members of a church in the town they settled in. The father has a job, is a deacon and pianist at the church.
Now, it seems that THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT is about to deport them, as OUR GOVERNMENT does not think that making the children go to a school where they are taught beliefs that are opposed to their parents’ beliefs constitutes persecution, so they do not deserve to come here.
Their friends in their town are very upset, and, it seems, helpless. They want to defend their friends, but how?
I wonder, since President Obama has threatened to overturn laws with his pen, why he can’t just, with one fell swoop, let this law-abiding, hard-working, Chrstian couple come into the United States as free citzens who can home school their children the same as any of their neighbors can?
Maybe we can look the other way, and not prosecute, like they are forced to do in Arizona when the workers come in all sorts of ways, and don’t even try to become citizens.
I am going to pray that the Tennessee family gets to stay and live here, teaching their children Christian ethics.
And we all need to pray that our world will be turned right-side-up in the near future.
P.S. I finished my column and sent it to both papers and a lot of other people. I turned my Face Book on and behold! I got a post saying that the Department of Homeland Security has decreed that the family I just wrote about will get to stay indefinitely as long as they don’t commit any crimes Praise the Lord! Maybe the world will eventually right itself after all!
Inquiring minds want to know
Old friends are a treasure to be valued. Grandchildren, great grandchildren, are precious jewels, a reward beyond price. I have both of these in great measure.
Recently, one of my grandchildren, Amanda Marie Fannin Webb, who is grown, is married and has children of her own, developed some unusual health problems. These began when she got up one morning to be about her day’s routines.
It began when she attempted to take that first step from her bed. She found then, that she was unable to walk. As she desperately tried to do so, she discovered that from the waist down, she had no sense of feeling. Later, that day at the hospital, after tests had been done and nothing had changed, she was told that she had a couple of bulging disks, one of which was pressing against her spinal cord, which was producing a kind of paralysis.
They told her that because she was still very young, (19) they hesitated to do surgery, for which we are all thankful. They also told her it was possible that this one disk might shrink, thereby taking pressure off the spine, but if the paralysis persisted, or got worse, to get to the hospital immediately.
Thankfully, she has improved, but not before she broke a glass in her hand that cut her palm so deeply it severed two tendons that had to be repaired, the palm of that hand requiring seven stitches and intensive therapy. Thus, my family had to marshal our resources to help Mandy take care of her two babies so that Tyler, her husband, could go to work.
Earlier during this time, old friends Sid and Betty King called me from Michigan. Sid was the base singer in our gospel singing group during the years we traveled and sang for the Lord. Since my family moved home to Kentucky, these good friends often visit us, and I go to Michigan when I can to spend a few days with them. So I knew Sid would not take amiss what I said to him at that time.
“Sid, it is good to hear from you and Betty, but would you mind if I got back to you? We’re having a crisis situation with Mandy here, and I want to keep the phone line open till I hear from her mother who is at the hospital with her?” I asked.
“Of course not!” he answered.
What with one thing or another, it was almost a week before I returned Sid and Betty’s call. When I did, I was sure that they were calling to tell me they would probably come visit as soon as the weather warmed up, but of course, that sure hasn’t happened.
“Well,” Sid told me. “We probably will come to Kentucky some time this spring, but that was not why we called. We wanted to tell you about Henry.”
“What’s wrong with Hank?” I was referring to Henry Eisingah, whom we all called Hank. He was the tenor singer in our group, and though we didn’t see him as often as we did Sid and Betty, we thought of ourselves as old friends, good friends.
“Hank had some minor surgery, did well, and came home the next day.” Sid told me. “That evening he noticed that his legs felt numb, and when he tried to walk, he couldn’t. So his family took him back to the hospital, where they gave him a couple of shots, told him it was a reaction to the surgery, but that he would be fine, and could go home. By the time they got him there, he was beginning to smother, couldn’t get a good breath. So they turned around and went back to the hospital, a distance comparative to someone traveling from Paintsville to Ashland. This time at that hospital, they gave him oxygen, then when his levels were back to normal, they sent him home. Once again, his family had to take him back for a third time, because now the only thing in his body that he could move was his eyeballs, which he could blink once for yes, and twice for no. This time he got a doctor who knew exactly what was wrong with him. Hank was having an episode of the Guillain Barre Syndrome. For some time now Hank has been on a respirator, but is beginning to improve in slow stages.”
Sid goes to see him, almost daily. After Henry was able to move a finger to cover his tracheotomy in order to speak, Sid came in one day to hear Hank singing a song about the Lord. How wonderful!
Guillain Barre! If I was ever taught about this condition I surely have forgotten it. However, I am reminded that new diseases come upon us all the time, and as inquiring minds want to know, I went to my computer to learn what I could about this. I read then, that the condition was named for the two French doctors who first diagnosed it, that it is a polio type paralysis triggered when the body’s own immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system in response to some other infectious ailment.
It could be caused by an episode of flu, or measles, or any such. It can be caused by an enteric type diarrhea. In fact, Andy Griffith was once diagnosed with Guillain Barre. Now I wonder about those reported cases of the 10 children in California with polio type reactions after an illness. Was this what it was? I sure would like to know. However, for myself, and even as I pray for Hank, I am thankful that my Mandy didn’t have it.