Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Shaman - His Agonies, his Ecstasies, his Poetry

      This guy walked into an ER - about forty years ago - intending to make some extra money while working on his surgical residency and after taking care of some rather challenging patients over several of his free weekends, he found himself re-thinking his career choices.  His conclusions, as I know you've guessed, launched a ground-breaking specialization.  Surely it will come as no surprise, then, to you, that the highlights of this experience - his experience - of eventually becoming an Emergency Medicine physician will be shared here.
      Imagine my surprise, however, given the 'glum chum' atmosphere prevailing in this household since he retired, as I watch my fingers labor over the keys this evening, at my election to write about it.  And as is my wont, I am moved to at least try to parenthetically illustrate some of the emotions, motivations, and evolving processes of his specialization with excerpts of poetry.  More specifically, the crafted meanderings of Dorothy Parker which I mention up front lest anyone be confused by 'gender specific' pronouns.  This specialty is populated by men AND women; so too will be the artistic commentary about it.  Starting now.
      (Her mind lives in a quiet room, a narrow room, and tall.
With pretty lamps to quench the gloom and mottoes on the wall.
There all the things are waxen neat and set in decorous lines; And there are posies, round and sweet, and little straightened vines.
Her mind lives tidily, apart
From cold and noise and pain,
And bolts the door against her heart, out wailing in the rain.)
      The first ten or so years Doc worked with a group of family practitioners who, wanting more regular schedules, forfeited their private practices and joined together to work exclusively in the ER.  Naturally, our boy was the 'young upstart', all energetic, sponging up knowledge and experience, the "go to" guy in the group.  And his slower-moving, less excited and far more easily fatigued, colleagues were all too happy to let him 'go for it' - his it, theirs, that of the community - just wound him up and let him be the "Road Runner" of the group.
Young, leisure-suited, Doc Leavy, Jr.
      So it was that his experiential and exposural base grew exponentially.  Always a voracious reader, he would perch on the cutting edge, literally, of emergency procedures, encouraging them to follow suit - a 'following' to which they were most definitely NOT suited.  He was the rising star; theirs was setting peacefully at dusk, having walked the dogs, checked the ripening honeydews or snap peas, drawled a bit but mostly nodded off, 'listening' to the Missus. 
      In 1976, a new hospital was built in Chesapeake and Doc's group won the contract to operate the Emergency Department.  In that this was their second facility, they hired more new docs and our boy was elevated to Chairman of the new facility, a position daunting to his partners but abject Manna to him.  Throwing himself into it full bore, he wrote protocols - for the hospital, for the emerging EMS System of the city, for the ER itself.  The patient population grew as did the  body of knowledge about their presenting pathologies and the treatment thereof.  It's called progress.  Our doc embraced the challenge, learned new techniques and procedures, attended major conferences in this evolving specialty and would return re-charged, ordering new equipment, urging, teaching, spreading  the news that broadened the base knowledge required of the receiving, attending physician in the ER.  The younger, newly-hired docs gobbled it up.  The old school, hard core, resistant founders of the group balked.
      (If I had a shiny gun, I could have a world of fun
Speeding bullets through the brains of the folk who give me pains;  Or had I some poison gas, I could make the moments pass
Bumping off a number of people whom I do not love.
but I have no lethal weapon - Thus does Fate our pleasure step on!  So they still are quick and well
Who should be, by rights, in hell.)
      Enough.  By 1980, Emergency Medicine became a legitimized specialty, IE, The College of Emergency Medicine administered an official Board Specialty Examination nationally.  Doc Leavy and a friend  - soon to be a partner - were the first two Emergency physicians to take and pass the national boards in the state of Virginia.  With that, our boy moved on to the largest group in the area.  Based at a teaching hospital which established a medical school and became a Level I Trauma Center, he forged along, ahead, beyond most of his colleagues and for thirty years treated the most fragile, compromised, life-threatened people in our community at all of the facilities which this vanguard group covered.
      So many recollections of working with him were shared at his send-off salutes.  The night he was head-butted by a crack patient, losing five front teeth.  He got treatment, of course, but returned to FINISH HIS SHIFT!  He'd been spat on, verbally abused, reported (insensitivity - refusing to give a drug-seeker narcotics) and feared while respected by the nurses and EMT's.  Known for his Irish temper - and propensity to throw things - they spoke of learning to duck (or give him the RIGHT thing at the first request) to steel themselves against crying (or leave the room but provide a hardened replacement) of learning more from him than from ANY other source. 
      Because his motivation was pure even in the moments his manner may have been rough - "We are just NOT going to let this patient die or hurt or lose a chance at healing.  That's why we're here - to DO IT RIGHT BECAUSE WE CARE!" This refrain was repeated by doctors, nurses, techs, EMT's, even patients in attendance at his 'farewell fetes'. 
      (Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song, a medley of of extemporanea
      Their job is not pretty.  Which is why they recalled how much they'd laughed with him as well.  This phenomenon is common in any group of people who work together in an atmosphere where at any moment a man, woman, parent, child, priest or thief can slip away.  The miracle doesn't work.  And the 'miracle workers' cry.  But there was the day "Administration" circulated a memo suggesting a more homeopathic approach in the ER and Dr. L.  went out and bought ferns , hanging one in each examining bay;  looked the other way as the nurses became more and more confused as to why a paranoid schizophrenic was getting increasingly paranoid (because Doc's own son, working as a tech in the ER, was whispering eerie little nothings over the PA system that the patient could hear); absolutely refused to get a new car, driving a Chevy Impala convertible that was SO shabby, he once left the keys in, top down & ran in because he was late.  The car was running ALL night in an open lot and no one even tried to take it; refused to quit smoking but could ALWAYS be found, so concerned was he about the weather and therefore his patients' safety en route to their homes, that he sacrificed ANY free time he may have had to go out - in all weather - to the ambulance bay and check the skies.  And pity the nurse who, finding him to say, "Dr. L., Mr. X is going south."  Thinking of 92 year-old Mr. X, he'd snap back, "Then what the Hell are YOU doing out here!"
      But he also had that little way of always sliding on to sit next to a child on the stretcher when asking her questions.  And he could always be found sitting with the family -  shedding a few with them - after having to tell them their loved one didn't make it.  One of his partners calculated that over these years he had seen and treated over one hundred fifty thousand patients.  And so MANY of them would not be here today had he not.  And ole "tuffy" took it like a champ, last night.

      (I think no matter where you stray, That I shall go with you a way. Though you may wander sweeter lands, you will not soon forget my hands.  Not yet the way I held my head, nor all the tremulous things I said.  You still will see me, small and white and smiling, in the secret night. 

BUT NOT FORGOTTEN  - Dorothy Parker Poems)
Later, Lorane. . . .

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


  •       One of life's treasured joys, for me, is basking in the glow of the shining, new, inchoate little people whom - in our family - we call grand peeps.  Theirs is a world of infinite possibility, potential, possessions designed only for them, powerful emotions, and - on a REALLY perfect day - potato chips, with dip, maybe.  Sharing slices of their developing wholeness - priceless!  And they share this bounty freely with Grams - aka Gigi, for those who are still struggling with the hard "g".  In turn, I love telling them stories, answering their questions, all with as much animation and drama as arthritic joints will allow.  Of course we do 'silly' stuff, too.  We march, hop over imaginary obstacles - sea horses, ladybugs, sleeping kittens - don real or invisible costumes, sing many an old and lately some more current tunes.  I've decided that the magnetism of our relationship, the siren who sings SO sweetly that I must follow her to their lair is freedom.  Their reality is completely free - a luxury that growing up will ultimately snatch away.
      (I'm reminded of this blessing daily as I walk our Beagle around the neighborhood.  This because Bridie is a slave to routine, absolutely worships at the altar of repetition, offering gifts, little 'forget-me-nots' along the way in canine gratitude.  And so we pass, wave, greet the same folks in the same order daily.  Ours is a quiet, relaxed neighborhood.  The prevailing temperamental climate, or 'Zeitgeist' as the philosophers might say, is peaceful, contemplative, big on reverie as the community has decades of living on which to dwell.  This pleasant, friendly insularity breaks - or at least leaks - at one home-pass each stroll.  This when we're walking by the truly picturesque home, which keeps itself tucked back thirty or so yards from the road, belonging to - we'll call them Bubba and Opal.  There was a time when I looked forward to a breezy, warm - always interesting - chat with Opal.  A lady whose life has been a swirl of vibrant activity, color, the Arts, travel cannot but entertain, enrich with each exchange.  She had chosen a lifetime behavioral pattern of freedom and, like the peeps, relished sharing it.  Until, like a breeze building to a gust, her candle was snuffed.  Opal's memory has been snatched away.)
      I often find it odd that with all the trappings of amusement modernity has bestowed on our peeps, they much prefer the telling of what 'long ago' was like.  Having assured them that when I was little - I'm afraid they'd have trouble forming the "Gigi YOUNG' image, so I go with size - I read by lamps, not candles; we had running water; my Dad drove a car, I can progress to the games we played, the friends we had, the toys we cherished.  We lived on a dedicated "Play Street"  in Brooklyn.  Early each morning two policemen would dutifully roll two tall iron poles, set in bases of cement discs and topped with a round yellow metal sign announcing "Play Street" at each end of the block.  So, from six AM until six PM NO cars or trucks could drive on Jewel Street.  There were two exceptions: the occasional horse-drawn wagon of a green grocer and Johnny, the ice-cream man, who drove a white "Brinks-looking" refrigerated Good Humor truck in the Summer months.  Both were occasions of opportunity.  As soon as the green grocer had concluded sales and gently urged his ancient steed forward, there'd be a race of old, babushka'd, shovel-wielding women down their respective stoops to be the FIRST to get to the horse's droppings - the most prized of fertilizers for backyard veggie gardens.  (What is it Robin Williams said?  "You're only given a little spark of madness.  You mustn't lose it.")  Of course Johnny presented the high-point-of-the-hot-day potential - a creamcicle, ice cream cup, fudgecicle and a variety of cones.  The peeps can listen endlessly, wide-eyed and alternately grinning or pinching pinching their noses during a fertilization scoop.  "Tell us what it was like - you know, playing on YOUR street.
      (Weather notwithstanding, Opal ALWAYS leaves her ornately carved, white, two-seat er bench, careful not to spill her iced drink or forget to bookmark her page, and runs to greet us in the street. arms waving akimbo, a dance step or two for Bridie before bending down for her daily Beagle smooch.  Opal has always worn a stunning gold choker, usually sporting a dangled oval olive-sized sapphire.  There were times when, after admiring it I'd take a stab at warning her of its potential for reeling in an "artful dodger" or Southern Gentleman old thief.  "Oh, Bubba's home!", she'd laugh in that truly self-enchanted way with Bubba's meticulously-painted backdrop - their house - behind her.  Sometimes, we actually met on the street when Opal and Bubba were walking their two white poodles.  I'd be coming out of our driveway and see Bubba.  I felt like greeting him in Farsi because sure as sh  _ shootin', Opal would be seventeen feet behind him with poodle # two in tow.  Then, seen any bluebirds yet?"  to which I'd respond in the negative.  "Can't be-leeeve it!", from B.  "Why I saw a FLOCK of 'em swarming out from your point other day."  Well I had seen ONE marble-sized, robin's egg blue egg in the grass by our trash cans out back.  I've YET to see ONE bluebird ". . .so perty, takes yer breath away!" One can only hope, Bubba, I'm thinking.  Bubba's civic project that year was building tiny, wood bird houses, asking permission to trespass on your property and nailing one of these things to a tree.  He lines them with some fetchingly-malodorous hay which, he says attracts this particular blue bird which, if you've not had a respiratory arrest from the sight of it, leaves you AND your property free of pesty insects.  And, of course, grants shady Bubba presumed legitimate entrance onto your property.  You CAINT make this stuff up, my dear readers!)
      The peeps do remarkably well at reading and, if ability fails them, they've inherited that marvelous quality of "making it up" without skipping a beat - a skill my oldest son had mastered;  I had admired; my husband, when he finally caught on, flew into an Irish rage and would grab the textbook and thump the kid on the head with it.  SOOO macho.  And when he sleep-walked at age fourteen in a three floor plus finished attic house and Mom had to find and lead him back to his bed, I'd spend that thirty minutes of adventure recalling the reading sessions of yore. 
      But they prefer oral story-telling - which is fine with me.  Leave the book reading to the 'teachers' in these pre-schools that run on blatant thievery.  And 'street-play' and Brooklyn "toys" are still at the top of the charts.  I would say our most valued/versatile 'toy' was the steel/aluminum roller skate that you attached to your shoe with - ready? - your "skate key".  Good.  We raced, played skate-hockey - no cars on a "Play Street" so we could ALWAYS field a team on Jewel.  In the fall, we build 'scooters' from an orange crate, a two by four and worn-out skate wheels.  (Crate nailed vertically to board which is mounted on four wheels - two front of board; two rear.  Then elaborate, very individual painting/chalking of crate for "The Races".  The girls got to sit in the crates and monitor the action, giving their driver tips on dodging, veering, speeding up, stop-spinning 180 degrees for a 'head-on' etc.  GREAT sport.  Of course there was stick ball year round: Pink Spaulding ball "pitched" off the third or fourth step of a stoop, he swings.  Or standard pitching with measured, chalk-drawn bases.  Chalk was indeed a mainstay: bases, Potsy, "I declare War", cartoon faces - then rub hand in colors on street and paint own face.  Those WERE the days.
      (Not long ago, both my husband and I were 'kidnapped' by Bubba in the evening - en route home/wine.  "Got a minute?  I want you guys to see for yourselves who Opal really is."  We both poin- ted to Bridie as the poodles were already raising bloody hell just inside their front door.  "Oh, I'll just tie her leash to Opal's chair.  She'll have shade, water.  She'll be fine."  Opal was already doing a slow, tango out of the house with a bowl of iced water.  Bubba had launched into a history of Opal's career as an artist - in all media and his own, humble career at the Ford Plant as an engineer from which he started his own international engineering firm post Ford retirement.  His accumulated evidence of their dual careers was staggering in amount and a KO bore in delivery.
      Then the Tour began.  Overwhelming doesn't touch it.  Opal's paintings - oil, pastels, palette knife, lithography - was wall to wall times at least seven rooms.  The living room had a decided twenties feel - tres Isadora Duncan, flapper, Zelda and Scott, Art Deco and ALL with a haunting attention to detail.  Rounding a corner we passed a hallway leading back to the front hall through a door the transom of which had been replaced with a magnificent stained glass window Opal ferreted out of a pile of cast-aways at a yard sale.  That hall's walls were all adorned with stills - of edibles.  And then the kitchen, looking out on the Buddha Alter-inspired garden apprentice piece but dominated by an island centerpiece the panels of which had been retrieved from a storefront in Rome.  Two by four foot panels on either side were each consumed by large, round, brightly-painted faces with Keane-portrait eyes.  One end was a very happy young woman; the other a crying young man.  The side five by four panel was of two large, round, faces - a smiling version of the happy woman cheek to cheek with a coyly-smiling woman who, the story went, had taken smiley away from crying man.  Oye.  And Opal had repeated versions of this tragedy on the floor tiles in the kitchen.  We processed, Phil and I open-mouthed, down another hall - first into Bubba's "study" - incredible large paintings of horses, races, the Kentucky Derby and his rifle collection, then to Opal's magic room, adorned with old photos in frames like gold, but more burnished, of her and her mother - obviously/admittedly the inspiration for the ladies in the twenties art.  Little china dolls, lace dresses, baby-sized, artfully displayed.  It was all pastel and floral and soft and OPAL.  Then back to the front hall - dominated by an ornately-carved bird cage, as wide as the bay window through which it is seen from the street.  SO eerily telling.  Opal's art is continual movement - what we know as history whereas Bubba's functionality reaches an omega point where there is no longer a need for material production.
      Of necessity, then, he must display Opal, HIS Opal because her art - her images - enter into consciousness as synthesis - a CONSCIOUSNESS OF SOME THING.  And that is why they are dynamic, creative and will always be useful.  She does not remember them.  We could never forget them.  Bubba can never have her genius, her art so he garners meaning/importance of Bubba via a warped 'she-chose-me-and-her-taste-is-infallible' construct.  "She was quite prolific.", as he's escorting us out.  Hmmm, I think.  Indeed.  You were but a tiny pellet in her enormous arsenal. . .)
      I do try to stress with the peeps that when I was little I had and did lots of things because they weren't pre-fab.  And it was fun.  And our "things" - like the wicker doll carriage, cradle and high chair Grandpa made for my baby dolls, were beautiful.  Maybe some day, I'll tell them the story about when I was four.  I put all my stuff in my doll carriage and was standing by the door of our fourth-floor walk-up apartment when my Mom asked me what I was doing.  ""Surely, we're leaving here, right?" 
Later, Lorane. . . . 

Saturday, September 24, 2011


      God only knows when I was ". . .Last Seen" and, hopefully, no one was REALLY paying attention.  I can only submit that I have been 'seeing' and pray my attention span is as short as science says it should be during this decade - of living, not history w/ a capital 'h'.  By the calender, it's been almost a month - since I've spoken to the "faithful four" - not to be confused w/ how many times I've spoken to myself.  (You get NO back-talk, so it's a favorite activity)  And, you can bet your socks or MLB Playoff pick winnings or ninth grandchild that it was NOT due to loss of interest - sighing is Rude - but rather b/c so MUCH has been going on - globally but it does trickle down - and @ the haciendas.  What with "Netflix" changing its DVD format, the Economy, the legions of network/computer changes - Google + = WHAT??? - the Economy, the political debates, traveling - oye -, buying, wrapping, presenting B-day gifts, the Economy, the "R" - word developments, keeping up with the kids, friends and the Economy - the not-so-merry-go-round does not stop - and there IS no brass ring.
      (I DID have some heirloom ring jewelry re-created - by a real jeweler.  I mention this b/c a) it wasn't mine, 2) I'm clueless in this arena and 3) it meant a lot to the little girl-recipients to have something - besides me - that can be legitimately labeled an "antiquity".  In fact, whilst entertaining myself with the aforementioned activities, I've also been delving into the history/potential value of some "antiquities" which have been in my possession but either forgotten or ignored for years until "the Economy" became such a hot issue.)
      You know, I was truly surprised at the high temps on ole Beantown when we flew up for Mia's party.  Of course the tykes felt nothing but wet joy, and we hydrated them often, but they jumped in that plastic sauna for at least  4 hrs.  Ah,
youth and energy and that elusive ability to sustain arduous activities for extended periods of time.  Even more stunning was the recovery made by The Recliner, once home again, with wrenched back-that-he-does-not-need-evaluated, who, knowing the "R"-word party was upon us, rallied after a mere six days, rising quite early on THE  day, running - metaphorically - errands, tending to medical review reports, answering correspondence, well, obviously a tad anxious.  But when the children - ours - arrived to fetch us, they were glowing, SO excited and obviously anxious to get going because they had arranged for  - TA-DAH! - BOB.  This gentleman, along - actually beside - his limo - awaited us in our driveway.  Photo-op extraordinaire.  Bob was great - @ pictures, music, stocked bar.  Bob was The Man and, thank fully, The Recliner actually seemed to relax as we S-L-O-W-L-Y made our way to a quaint, ocean side, restaurant where, upstairs, the "Party Room" - where the stunning view of the ocean and loving friends and colleagues waited to greet - and HONOR -  him.  That it was deserving is a given.  That they got him there will go down as the most memorable accomplishment in the history of his Emergency Medicine
      (This grouping of antiquities to which I referred includes a pair of caduceus-shaped, black, Civil War-era andirons.  They were given to me many years ago by a close, VERY Southern, friend.  She told me that they'd belonged to her great-grandmother.  It seems that when this gentile lady got word that General Sherman was a-marchin' South, she kept her wits about her and post-haste buried them - the andirons - in the back yard - along with the family silver.  Needless to say, yours truly has been all about researching this noble tale.  More specifically, the research has focused on andirons - "firedogs" to you historians - Civil War decorative architecture, iron art and the like. As I relayed to KD via email today - you'll be saddened to know she thinks she's losing her hearing.  Naturally, this awareness makes me use 20 pt. type and bold fonts when I write to her - like she'll better get the message - because I just KNOW she'll be able to either encourage my pursuit OR see through the hyperbole of Some Southern women and tell me that most likely great granny's tail remained seated in the wake of this hysterical rumor.)
      So many stories were told about so many personal, moving exchanges with OUR doctor on the occasion of his "R"-word party that I hesitate to begin lest I repeat the cry-fest that it occasioned.  It was at the same time moving and sad for him.  But.  The kids carried the night - again - re: moving.  You see, when the last of us were outside again, in the circular driveway, - of all things, talking about the movie "What About Bob?" - I looked beyond one of the kids and saw a white, shining, 1910, mint-condition Rolls Royce with - seated behind a steering wheel that had been installed on the wrong side of the vehicle - BOB, "at-our-service."  Naturally I shouted - to no one, "That's the way WE roll!" - only to be silenced by happy nods in blissful affirmation.  The doc was overwhelmed.  More pictures.  TRES twenties posing, seated on fenders, standing on bumpers, leaning from running boards.  Absolutely exquisite stuff.  And then the S-L-O-W ride home with BOB instructing us on how to waive to the peasants!  Great fun on a night that COULD have tumbled into melancholy.
      (I 'd like to think that - knowing Ivey - her great-grandmother DID indeed clutch at her hooped skirt, petticoats be damned and plunge through the gahden to stealthily secret the Family Treasures - AND her husband's tribute to his noble, honored and well-executed medical profession.  Else why even speak of such a fuss?)
      Fortunately, the fussing went on here - what with the FOURTH B-day of yet another curly-haired grandpeep/princess.  Emma was royally hospitable to her invited subjects and a GRAND time was had by all the following weekend at HER fete.  I DO wish you could have seen her "retired" grand Dads lapping up the cake and ice cream - and beginning to enjoy the BREAK and the change.  Later, Lorane. . . . .

Saturday, September 10, 2011


      At the risk of - what the smug set would call - "pointing out the obvious", I nevertheless stoutly put forth: We have indeed been having "Stormy Weather" and me and my guy, well, in some ways, on some days just haven't "been together".  This because meteorologically and metaphorically, it "keeps rainin' all the time".  Ole "Laddybuck's" retirement from the full time practice of Emergency Medicine has had 'dear and glorious' in something of a dither.  Surely there will be some who feel that 'sharing' this experience is in "bad taste."  So be it.  I''ve provided fair warning as to my being in risk mode, this entire exercise allows room for reports of just how thin I may be wearing, we don't want your writer to wear any thinner and, frankly, this particular 'passage' in our lives is truly BENCHMARK so I've no time - nay - I've a responsibility to NOT concern myself with your gustatory judgment.  Recovery is how we're 'rolling' on this one.
     (Horoscopes, in general, are rarely on point but in the midst of this time-consuming tempest, I actually glanced at mine - in passing, the newspaper, that is - and it was all about rummaging through old belongingings and finding objects from the past which would haunt, harrow and 'happy-up' my reverie. "Hah! SELF: not rolling with reverie presently.  Or hadn't you noticed?" And that freeze-frame re-activated, causing "Action!" to proceed. If only time would allow.  It was a Lulu, dear reader but we can't t dawdle.)


      Because the headlines are - ready? - GOOD!  That said, keep in mind the reference is to the "big picture" because you already know quality of the early shots.  FAR too clear to cheer.  My Irish dervish was in NO gear.  I recall my comiserations with KD who, trying to enjoy her B-Day week, worried about being ravaged by Irene in a Rockaway bungalow - built circa 1920 - STILL gently, calmly, sincerely inquired about the "R word".  She vividly recalled humorlessly those "long morning naps", the worry, the fatigue.  MY MOST incredulous and negative images were those crafty little disappearances.  And the HIDEout!  Garage, door closed, smoking and - after being forced to put the stored deck furniture out, leaving a cavernous, depressing vacuum, selecting an injured, rescued, ancient white wicker chair on which to perch in his new smoking/reading room.  You KNOW how I feel about wicker.  Granpa and I spent hours at his last work shop, watching those calloused, old buddy hands labor at braiding the well-soaked strands of reed, suspended from twenty feet, twisting, pulling, creating the manmouth rockers that would comfort old bones as meticulously as the cradles, carriages, high chairs that would embrace, protect, carry new, tiny, helpless life.  And the old lives were re-charged as well. There will be NO desecration of the old and carefully crafted.
      (Just how I felt when fetching, organizing clothes for Julie and Mia's up-coming visit tomorrow.  Yes!  I've barely finished un-packing from our divine five days in Boston celebrating Mia's B-Day and family in general and now - drum roll - Julie's coming down for a week, WITH Pwincess Mia, to celebrate Dad's B-Day, attend his "R word" party with ALL co-workers, fam and friends AND to scoot up to Richmond because they have a buyer for their house!  Hip, hip. So, up to my ears in clothes and plans, I run into Mom's Persian lamb coat.  The VERY precious coat I was getting ready to take to relic rehab so I can present it to some lucky gal at Christmas. Might as well get a look at this challenge in the light.  And I did.  SELF:  KNOW this was handled by an ace cleaner soon after her death.  What IS this sprinkling of ecru lint marring these silken black curls-of-a-coat???) 
      The ONLY blemish on our otherwise perfect Beantown visit was a back injury incurred when Dad insisted on helping and - on the last day - wrenched his lower back while closing a stubburn hatchback after our last errand.  I had Mia out of harm's way, busy building up her nearly hysterical excitement as Mommy extracted two dozen magically colorful, wretchedly-behaved, helium-filled baloons and Poppy gave that machine's rear door an Enola Gay Ka-Slam.  Resuming an upright position proved excruciating.  And nary a merry soul was the wiser. He doesn't DO treatment or injury, for that matter.  It was Pwincess Day, the Pwincess Jumper - accommodates at least twenty wildly bobbing bodies - had been delivered and inflated, the power was back on, Snow White cake and ice cream chilling comfortably and Mia's message was loud and clear, "Poppy, it's time to Paahtie!"  So no-pain-Poppy fell in. I
                                                           daresay he wisely was NOT doing any
   jumping in the Princess Jumper, but I do believe Mia jump-started his mood if not his mobility. Our day tumbled into a giggling evening whilst we called Mia's Grampy in Florida a happy singing - yup.  Grampy's B-Day, too - having prepped with inhaled helium to sing the traditional plus "The Chipmunk Song". You're NEVER too young - or old - for a "helium Happy-Song!"
      (The lint roller was a futile undertaking; I was determined to identify and remove this fuzzy disgrace; the big guns got dragged out; following the lining's underbelly - having turned the entire coat inside out, I stood, armed with Oreck, stolid and stunned, a sister to the ox.  This because I had identified the crime.  It was the lamb's fleecey fur, decades ago used to pad the shoulder area. And it had been DYED! "Ewe, too?", I shouted at coat.  And then I laughed.  It was laughter bubbling up from the irony of this old, vain, soft curly little lady's mane AND, more gratifying, from the recollection of the greeting I'd received by way of "Good Morning" today from Phil, to wit, "I really am feeling better!" ) After it took us an hour to walk to the car from the plane; after he was not able to walk or stand even for three days; after he refused to be evaluated and I was certain he'd slipped a disc but helpless to intervene, he felt better.  After all, I never doubted his self-diagnosis.  Really.  And as he went about immediately overdoing it, I thought I'd glance at the horoscpes which, all things considered, were rather prophetic.
      (The obsession with clothing had indeed harrowed - at first - my reverie, thinking of how little lamb ONCE UPON A TIME was so pretty, hanging around with Mary. But then I discovered her mischief, and although HER happiness was now in perpetuity to be found in a sleek, fashipnable and ever-loved and treasured heirloom, she had furry pals out there in this generation who couldn't have it anybetter. )   
      And with some TLC and patience, Poppy will be carrying Pwincesses on the beach before long and without a whimper.  As for me, I'll be working on MY rehab and the white reed chair.  Later, Lorane. . . .