February Photos

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Monday, December 17, 2000 - Accidents of the Scary Sort, & Other Interesting Stuff

           Last Sunday afternoon I awoke from my nap to find Victoria already awake.  I heard a small noise in the kitchen, so I trotted myself out there to see what she was doing.  

There was Tad, stretched out on a kitchen chair, Victoria’s favorite ‘bunny’ blanket (it has pictures of little pink bunnies printed on it) over him, with only his head showing--and there was Victoria squatting down in front of him, holding a spoon full of cottage cheese up to his mouth.  He was eating away, smacking like anything.  

“Whatever are you doing?” I exclaimed, and Victoria jumped like she’d been shot.  

She leaped to her feet, crammed the rest of the spoonful of cottage cheese into her own mouth, and said around the bite, “I was just giving Tad a lick, and he’s full now.” 


By nighttime last Sunday, it was snowing hard, blowing like anything, and was only three degrees.  The windchill fell to 45° below zero.  The schoolchildren of Jackson & Company were all hoping there would be no school the next morning...and the adults were hoping it would not be too, too cold to work.  But at the moment, the fire was crackling away in the fireplace, and the coffee was flowing...and all was snug and toasty.

         They got their wish: there was no school Monday.  And Larry was able to work.  It was snowing and very cold, and extremely windy; but the crews had a basement to strip of its forms, and strip forms they did, in spite of the weather.  How much snow did we get, I wonder?  

         Hmmm…Where the wind blew the snow away, there was .00000001” of snow.  Where the wind blew the snow into a pile, there were 12”.  Therefore, I assume we received an average of 6.000000005” of snow.  

         Am I discussing the weather again, eh? 

         Yes.  The weather is a worthy topic.  I know this, because the grocery store clerks talk of it all the time, to one customer after another: “Cold out?  Plastic or paper?  Got your More card?” 
But one poor kid invariably gets rather flustered: “Plastic out?  Paper or More?  Got your Cold card?”  

         He tries to recover himself: “Mard clout?  Caper or Lard?  Cart your mold core?”  

         So you see, the weather can get you all sorts of places.  

         Teddy and Joseph went out scooping snow that morning.  They made good money, too...  One lady without fail gives them twice what they ask for. 

         Teddy says timidly, “Uh, er, well, would $25 be all right?”  

        “Why, of course!” says the lady... and she hands first Teddy, and then Joseph, $25.  That’s $25.00 apiece.

         “I like you boys,” she explains, and gives them a warm smile.  

         When they were finally too cold to shovel any more, they headed off to Wal-Mart, where they spent their newly-earned money on hockey skates.  May the lakes stay forever frozen!  

          Remember the story I told last week about the children for whom Dorcas was babysitting who peeled out of their shirts when they were dining on soup?  Here’s a post I received in response to that, from my Uncle Howard:

         “Your letter reminds me, when Robin (my cousin) was school-age, he would turn over
his plate, then put ice cream on the clean side and eat it.  One day the preacher’s boy was there.  When dinner was over, Robin turned his plate over and put some ice cream on it.  The preacher’s boy never said a word; he just did the same.”

          I wonder, did that start a trend that could turn out to be in vogue?  Are there significant factions of humanity who, having learnt this Ice-Cream-On-Clean-Side-Of-Plate Technique from a small preacher’s boy in years gone by, are even now teaching it to their offspring, and someday it will be the Hoyle and proper and genteel thing to do in polite company?  

         Teddy had a terrible cold, and shoveling snow didn’t make it any better.  His chest and back hurt when he took a breath.  I diagnosed him with pleurisy and told him to take an aspirin, but he, being skeptical of his mother’s diagnostic abilities, asked me to call the doctor for him.  After hearing all Teddy’s symptoms, Dr. Luckey offered his diagnosis:  Viral Pleurisy.  

          Ah-ha!  So “take an aspirin and call me in the morning if you’re not better” really WAS the appropriate treatment, for once.

          Joseph has an abscessed tooth.  The dentist prescribed an antibiotic and gave us an appointment for next week.  I should’ve gotten the Amoxicillan Friday, but…you will understand why I forgot to get it, when you read the rest of the letter.  I will get it today; I must not forget.

          Tuesday was Lawrence’s birthday, but since several of his grandchildren and I would be having orchestra and band practice that evening, it was celebrated Monday night.  I was sick, so I stayed home; and Larry and Dorcas stayed, too, to keep me company.  That is, that’s what they said they were doing; but Dorcas took the opportunity to make use of the other computer, which for once was free of sundry siblings, and Larry took the opportunity to warm up the recliner, which had gotten itself a wee bit chilly, sitting as it does directly in line with the front door.  Teddy, you see, had taken the younger children out to Lawrence and Norma’s to deliver his present to him, and to bring home some cake and ice cream.  

           I’ve been wrapping scores of presents, including cute little snow shovels for Caleb and Victoria, and china dolls for the three little girls.  Victoria’s is musical, and rocks back and forth in time to the music.

           Tad went outside at about 8:00 p.m. Monday evening, and didn’t come back home all night, nor yet the next day.  Various members of the family went out looking for him often, nearly freezing to death in the process.  By the next evening, we had begun to resign ourselves to the fact that we might never see our beloved little cat again, and the children were indeed sad.  

Where could he be?  It was so bitterly cold…  We thought perhaps he was in somebody’s house.  He’s such a sweet-tempered little animal…we fervently hoped he hadn’t come to any harm. 

And then, about 11:00 p.m. Tuesday night, TAD CAME HOME!!!  Teddy was sitting at the other computer, playing a racing game and waiting for the water to warm back up so he could take his turn in the shower, when (imagine this) he happened to notice movement through the narrow slits of the vertical blinds.  It was Tad, sauntering along the brick ledge under the front window, meowing and wanting in.  

Teddy rushed to the door to get him.  He brought him in, purring like a sewing machine...  (uh, that is, the cat was purring; not Teddy) and the little thing was hardly cold!  He had been in somebody’s house, hadn’t he?  Dumb, dear little pussy cat.  Dumb people, who keep somebody else’s cat.  

We, on the one hand, hope nobody mistreats Tad; but on the other hand, we certainly don’t want him to get the notion that anybody ELSE is as nice as WE are.  The children were overjoyed that he was home again--and I was, too.  I really had been afraid he was gone forever.  

Going through the bank drive-through (a tunnel-like affair between Columbus Bank and the jewelry store next door), we had to sit and wait for a few minutes while the people in the cars ahead of us completed their transactions.  We watched the electronic message scroll through on the sign above our heads…  The word ‘Victory’ went past.  

“Hey!!!” cried Victoria, “It’s my name!!!  She turned to me, smiling, eyes bright.  “How did they know I was in here?”

Tuesday evening I practiced with our orchestra and band, discovering, as always, that I needed to write more music for this one and that one.  Aarrgghh!  Is there ever an end to it??!

Furthermore, I was sick.  I had a cold, including but not limited to sore throat, earaches, swollen glands, beriberi, neuralgia, hemiplegia, and water on the knee.  Keith and Esther, and Bobby and Hannah were waiting for me when I got home, both Keith and Hannah clamoring at once for This-and-That-Extremely-Urgent-Necessary-Thing-They-Needed.  

Keith needed music, Hannah needed help with sewing.  She’s using (or trying to use) her mother-in-law’s sewing machine, and it isn’t working.  And Hannah’s own machine refuses to zigzag.  Ugh!  I didn’t feel like helping anybody with anything.

But hot coffee and Extra-Strength Tylenol soon improved the world in general, and me in particular, and I decided that it was plumb nice to still be needed by my all-growed-up-kids, after all.  I wrote music, presented a small sewing tutorial, and sent everybody off as satisfied as warthogs in a blueberry patch.   

(Reckon those all-growed-up-kids-of-mine would take offense at that?)

I once decided that I wanted to be exactly like a great-aunt of mine whom I saw when she was about 86.  I was 12.

We went to her house to pick her up and take her somewhere, and before Daddy could get out of the car and go up the long series of steps to her front door, the door flew open, and Aunt Leta came dashing out.  She put her hand lightly on the railing, and ran down those steps lickety-split, grinning at us all the way.

I want to be just like that, I thought, when *I* am in my 80s.

Well...  perhaps I won't be able to skip down steps in that fashion, but I promise you this:

I shall be grinning!
           I got to feeling better, about 2:00 a.m., so I wrote the music several people needed.  I emailed one person:
Your music is done!  At least, I think it is.  If there are any problems with it, just let me know.  I will send the music to school tomorrow...that is, I will try to send it to school.  But if my urchins escape the house without it, please ask one of your siblings to request from one of my kiddos that they kindly go home, open the front door, walk down the front hallway (being cautious not to trip over any wayward hangers various hurried souls may have left as booby traps on the floor), turn the corner and sashay into the living room, march straight to my desk, and retrieve said tenor music for ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ off my desk.  They can take the alto music, too, and give it to whom it may concern...(who plays alto?)  I thought I should write the alto, too, so the parts would go together nicely.  (Uh, nicely, I hope.

I am also sending the music as an attachment, which doubtless will not open, because you haven’t the Mozart32 program.  If you would like to download it, I would be delighted to let you borrow my disks.  It is on two floppy disks, and really doesn’t take up as much memory as you might expect.  If you had this program downloaded, we could send you your Christmas music ever so easily!

The person responded that they would like to download the program, and asked how much they should pay me.  I replied:

             "Let’s see.... hmmmmm.... I think I will charge.... ummmm.... $80 per disk.  That way, I will make a 50% profit.  And thanks!  I will buy you each an extra sock for Christmas."

              She answered, "Just make sure the socks match!"

I then wrote, "We are sorry; we have discerned that the lady of the domicile bespoke herself too soon when she said she would actually buy said socks; the $80 per disk fee is not enough to cover purchase of same.  Therefore, we trust you shall be satisfied with several of the slightly used [albeit clean] [we hope] variety.
"Further, the powers that be have determined that to send matching socks is not possible without a total recount of all socks in the Jackson Domicile, and that would entail considerable hardship by the Jackson young’ns, since they have long held a custom of placing one sock from each available pair at opposite ends of the abode.
"Therefore, we believe that one and all of you should affix in your minds to be content, therewith, with whatsoever sock ye shall find yourself."


"The Management"

               She wrote back, mentioning that sometimes people at her house insisted that they'd thrown their socks down the clothes chute -- but one was most definitely missing.  So I answered:

"Clothes chutes are lean, mean, desperate, hungry things.  Whatever you do, don’t throw one of the kids down it!  Or the dog.  You might never see them again!"

             Teddy and Amy went to Norfolk to do some Christmas shopping.  I fussed at Teddy:  “Gloves, hats, coveralls, Heet in the tank!!!!”  But when I told him to be sure to take along his long johns, and Hannah and Dorcas went into peals of laughter (they know he hates long johns with a passion), he said he thought it was time to head for the door.  hee hee  We told him that he could just wear those longies on top of his jeans, since it would be a bit hard to sneak them on any other way “unless you cut them in strategic places”, said Hannah.  
             Thursday Larry was working in Omaha.  They get quite a few jobs in West Omaha, where there are many new homes being built.  It was cold and snowy, but they were still able to work.  The men went to Sam’s Club Warehouse after they were done, and several of them bought a substantial quantity of Christmas presents.  Imagine that!  Have you ever heard of such a thing??!  Men buying Christmas presents together. 

             You do know about Sam’s Club?  It’s a warehouse established by the man who started the Wal-Mart chain:  Sam Walton.  At Sam’s, almost everything is sold in large quantities.  Larry bought a big pack of coughdrops, granola bars, and juice for us, and also two packages of gloves --10 pairs in each package--and a package of three leather gloves.  So now a good many of the men and boys on our list are marked off.  

            Guess what???!!  Weather.com published three of the five pictures I sent them!!!  I’m famous!  Not rich; merely famous.

            Ooops...  Caleb just landed with a crash on the floor in the kitchen.  He and Joseph are having a ‘football’ game with a triangular piece of paper...  Caleb must’ve been playing TACKLE paper football--only he tackled himself.  He’s laughing; guess he’s okay.  

           Friday afternoon, Teddy had a major mishap…  and he not only rearranged OUR schedule, he rearranged the ENTIRE CHURCH’S schedule while he was at it.  

          He was on his way to his friend Reggie’s house to perhaps play a game or two on his computer, because they didn’t have to work that afternoon, on account of the weather.  Reggie was driving his pickup ahead of Teddy, who was in his own pickup... and they took a ‘shortcut’ (those things have a habit of winding up being a ‘longcut’) through Pawnee Park (ostensibly to check on the ice at the pond).  

          They rounded a corner, went through the ‘tunnel’--an underpass under the highway--and met a carload of girls in a red mustang.  Reggie went past okay, thinking to himself that they were driving rather recklessly--and by the time they met Teddy, they were squarely in the middle of the road.  Teddy moved over----too far.  His rear tire slipped off the edge of the road---which was icy and slick---and the pickup slid right into the ditch.  He was only going 15-20 mph, but the ditch was steep--about 4 feet down.  At the bottom were short posts with a cable running through them, such as many parks have, and Teddy hit a couple of them, and his rear tire went over the cable.  

          Reggie saw all this happen, turned around, and came rushing back, while those girls continued blithely on their way.  The ditch was too steep for Teddy to get back out of, so Reggie took him to Tom and Dwight Tucker’s nearby autobody frame repair shop to ask for help.  Tom came back with his wrecker, and they set about trying to remove the pickup from the ditch.  But with the tire over the cable, it just wasn’t coming.  

          Now, one of the posts Teddy had hit was quite loose, and they thought they could just pull it up and lay it over, which would make the cable lay down.  So while Reggie and Tom got a grip on the top of the post, Teddy reached down to pull on the bottom of it---and that’s when it happened.  

          There were large folded-over staples at the bottom of the post, and Teddy didn’t see them.  It was on one of those that he cut his finger.  It’s the middle finger on his left hand, and it was a two-inch diagonal cut.  Somebody took him back to Tom’s shop, and he called me to tell me what had happened. 

         Tom, meanwhile, kept trying to extract Teddy’s pickup from the ditch.  Teddy said one of the Tucker’s (I assumed Dwight or Tom) could take him to the hospital right then, and I said that would be okay, since it was almost time for the children to come home from school.  I said I would come to the hospital soon, if I needed to.  I imagined a cut that would need a few stitches.  

         Well, it was only a matter of minutes before my police scanner started going berserk, with dispatcher and police alike ranting and raving about a pickup that had damaged property at the park.  The driver, doubtless a convicted felon, had escaped, and Tom Tucker was his accomplice.  Something like that, at any rate.

          I had not realized that a) there was property damage and that b) Tom was removing the pickup without calling the police.  

          So I got meself to the phone in one quick hurry to call the police and tell them what I knew about it.  They were yelping ‘‘TEDDY JACKSON!!!” into their handsets loudly enough to make my mother’s hair stand straight up on end--and I knew she had her scanner on.  

         Well, I told the police all that I knew, and they were promptly on the horn howling for Columbus Hospital, and asking if Teddy was there.  Nope; couldn’t find him.  

         The reason the police got their long hooked noses into the affair was because a park service man came putt-putting his way through the park, saw the felonious escapade of Tom & Wrecker versus Pickup & Poles, and called the police, all breathless and excited, because HE was the sole witness of The Fiasco, and perchance entitled to Laud and Honor because of it.  

          I called back to Tom’s shop, and one of their workers answered.  

        He thought most probably Delmar, Tom and Dwight’s father, was taking Teddy to David City Hospital…and the weather and the roads were worsening every minute!  Aarrgghh!  I would sure enough have taken him there myself!  

        I called the police back and relayed this possible bit of possible data to the impossible dispatcher.

      In the meantime, my mother was getting herself all in a tizzy.  She called me... and then my Call Waiting beeper announced that somebody else wanted me.  I took just enough time to assure Mama that Teddy was still, for the most part, hale and hearty, with only one small digit involved in the catastrophe; he would surely live--and then I answered the other call.  

         It was Delmar, calling from his cell phone.  They were almost to David City.  Teddy, you see, assumed I knew he was going to David City, on account of our family doctor being there; I, on the other hand, assumed they would surely head straight for the nearest emergency room:  Columbus Community, on account of the weather.  

        He called later from the Clinic to tell me that the doctor had found a severed tendon, and they were not equipped to repair it at that small hospital.  Further, it would do no good to bring him back to Columbus, because the doctor here who does such things was gone until Monday.  So the doctor had already set up a tentative time for surgery with an excellent doctor in Lincoln.

         I called Hannah’s house, and Bobby answered the phone: “HelloisHannahthere?” 

         “No, she’s at the school,” he replied.

        “Teddy’scuthisfingercanHannahstaywiththekidstillDorcasgetshome...” and on and on as fast as my tang could toungle.  

          If a tendon is not repaired fairly quickly, you see, it could be the end of function for that finger.  And I did not know the time frame for such things.  The doctor later told me that he has done successful surgeries three to even five days later; but it is always better to do it sooner--as soon as possible.  

           Hannah was at the school helping Helen Tucker, Hester and Lydia’s teacher, grade papers.  

          She came dashing over here, and Bobby arrived, too, in about three minutes flat---and in his hand was his cell phone and cord, for me to borrow.  He’s just like his father and his Grandfather Wright before him---always thoughtful, always ready and willing to help, always kind and generous.  

          I called Susan and dumped the Christmas Program practice into her lap.  

          Then I called Robert, my nephew with whom Larry was working.  They were in Omaha.  I told him what had happened, and asked if Larry could somehow make it to Lincoln.  Soon the plans were all made:  I would drive to David City and take Teddy on to Lincoln; Bobby would drive their car to Fremont, where he would meet the men on Robert’s crew...  Larry would take Bobby and Hannah’s car on to Lincoln to meet us at the hospital, and Bobby would come home with the crew.  Keith loaned Larry his cell phone, so we could stay in contact with each other.  

          In five minutes I was turning east on Howard Boulevard.

          The roads were slick, but the Suburban drives well.  The biggest trouble on the way to David City was the little old man in a vehicle in front of me who was on the way to town with the eggs, and therefore had to slow for the slightest bump, in order not to crack them there hen apples.  And I couldn’t pass him, because the traffic was too heavy.  Ah, the hair-pulling aggravation of it!  If one could just get by with boosting such a soul, puddle jumper and all, into a nice, soft, snow-filled ditch (I’ve got the perfect grille guard for it)--near a farmhouse, of course, so he could quickly find shelter (and a market for his eggs), and not freeze to death.  (I have no Malice in my heart; only Evanescent Vexation.)  The roads would then be a friendlier, less exasperating place.

          At the David City clinic, I found Teddy with Delmar, in one of the examining rooms.  Dr. Luckey himself, though not on duty that day, had popped in to the Clinic a few minutes before I arrived, and he came into Teddy’s room to see what had happened to him.  

          “This isn’t what you wanted to do with your Friday night, I’ll bet,” he remarked sympathetically.

           Teddy smiled, and I replied, “No, it’s thrown a dreadful monkey wrench into his date.”

           The doctors and nurses laughed.  We hurried out to our cars then, with the doctors and nurses wishing us well and admonishing us to drive carefully.  I learned that when the doctor was examining Teddy’s finger, wiggling it around, probing into it, and asking Teddy if he could wiggle it on his own, Teddy has passed out.  Oooooooooo!  Those doctors!  Why do they do that???!!!  

           It wasn’t our beloved Dr. Luckey, that’s for sure.  Dr. Luckey is gentle and careful.  That’s why we go there---because of Dr. Luckey.  

           Once upon a time, when Hester was about two, she said, “I know why his name is Dr. Luckey; it’s because we are really, really lucky he’s our doctor!”  

           I made sure to tell him so, the very next time we saw him.  {He’d probably wondered often about just that very thing:  “Why is my name ‘Luckey’?”}   He is the World’s Best, Can’t-Be-Beaten-Ever Doctor.  Not opinion; just plain facts!  

          We were ten minutes this side of Lincoln when Bobby’s cell phone rang...it was Larry, calling me.  He was half an hour or so behind me.  

         The drive to Lincoln is about 75 miles.  I didn’t dare use the cruise control, because of the ice, and my leg fell asleep and my foot acquired pins and needles in it, from holding down the gas pedal.  I complained.

          Teddy, on the other hand, sitting there with his finger swathed in bandages and having had no painkiller, suffered in silence.

          We have a friend (small sidetrack) (but a necessary one) who’s a bit funny…he has to take medication for a few problems he has...but we love him, just the same.  Mort can be droll…and a bit of an oddity (or else all the rest of us are odd, and he’s normal).  

           Nevertheless, we like him, and he likes us.  

          Anyway (this story has to go here) (no choice), he once told the men on the crew, “I was driving along on a slick, icy road one day, cruise control on” (everybody held their collective heads), “when I hit a patch of ice, slid, and went into the ditch…and if I hadn’t have had my cruise control on, I’d’ve never gotten back out of that ditch!”  

          Teddy told me this story on the way to Lincoln, and we couldn’t quit laughing, in spite of Teddy's poor finger.

          We arrived in Lincoln at about 7:00 p.m.  We had signed in and finished all the paperwork, and they were just getting Teddy ready for surgery when Larry arrived.  I tell you, THAT was one face I was happy to look up and see!  

          Teddy was absolutely, totally, wholly mortified because---the nurse removed his boots and socks for him.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA 

          Ahem.  Excuse me.  I’m not laughing at my beloved Teddy; really, I’m not; but he made such hilarious faces at me!  I declare, that kid can screw his handsome face into more goofy contortions than an electronic facemaker.  (Huh?  You don’t know what an electronic facemaker is?  Tsk, tsk.)

         And then she scrubbed his good hand, because he had the grub of the day on it.  He’d been working, and men who work in construction have embedded This-and-That on their hands that will only come off with an Act of Congress.  She encountered a few callouses-- (calouses?) (kallussses?)  Oh!  Calluses!  That’s what they are!  I get all mixed up between calloused people and callused hands.  

         Anyway, the nurse said, “You’re a hard-working boy!” and Teddy’s ears turned a particularly vibrant shade of pink.  

         When she finished scrubbing Teddy’s hand, endeavoring and failing miserably to get it spotlessly lily-white, she went and washed her own hands, and I said, “Look, Teddy, she had to sterilize her hands, after trying to wash yours!”  

         The nurse laughed, “No, no!  That wasn’t it at all!” 

         (But it was, of course.)  

          They gave him some sort of partial block, so that his arm was completely numb, and he was slightly groggy.  After a bit, they asked him if he would like to go to sleep, and he said yes.  The anesthesiologist then gave Teddy enough anesthetic to induce a light sleep.  The doctor thought the surgery would last an hour and a half...but it took almost three hours, because a large tendon, a small tendon, and a small nerve were severed.  

         The surgeon was a small, thin man of about 55, friendly and professional at the same time.  He said that although it will take some time to heal--perhaps 3 months--it should finally be almost as good as new.  They had originally planned to keep Teddy in the hospital over night, so as to continue the intravenous antibiotic, but they allowed us to go home on account of the weather, which was expected to be much worse the next day, Saturday.  

         I was glad to hear, when I called home to give everyone a status report, that my sister Lura Kay had postponed the Christmas Program practice until 1:00 p.m. Saturday, partly because of the weather, and partly because Susan didn’t know some of the songs the children were singing.  

       We left the hospital somewhere around midnight.  The doctor had called in a prescription for a painkiller at a Walgreens not far from the hospital.  We stopped to get it, and also to get some tapioca pudding and chocolate milk for Teddy.  While the pharmacist filled the prescription, I found myself some magnifying eyeglasses for use when reading very small print or sewing very small stitches.  I am slightly farsighted.  I can tell you what brand of sneakers a gnat is wearing when he executes a flyby at 5,000 feet, but I have trouble with the small print in an Atlas.  Oh, I can see it all right, if I just try; but the attempt makes my head pound suddenly, as if somebody had walloped me in the forehead with a sledgehammer.

        The glasses are too big for my head (and face) (that’s the drawback to being a pinhead), but…Ah!  I can now tell you that Shageluk is directly to the west of Iditarod, Naknek is due east of Ekuk, and Goodnews Bay is just across the peninsula from Togiak.  Kipnuk and Kwigillingok are in a perfect northwest line from Quinhagak, and Eek is straight south of Napeskiak and Kwethluk.  Wheeeeeee!  I can read the Atlas again!!!--and all because of a little pair of $9.99 glasses such as Slim, of the Gasoline Alley comic, bought himself.  

       One learns all kinds of things, reading the comics.

      ’Course, Slim’s cheapy glasses caused him all manner of quandaries and predicaments; but he is the kind of dolt who would have all manner of quandaries and predicaments with or without glasses, no matter what sort they be.

       Teddy’s finger, which was supposed to be numb for six to eight hours--wasn’t.  He took a pain pill, but fifteen minutes later it was worse than ever, so I gave him another.  Half an hour later it was still getting worse, so I let him take one more.  It didn’t seem to help at all; Teddy said he might as well be taking sugar pills.  

       We stopped at a gas station to wash our windshields and lights, because neither the Suburban nor Hannah’s Camry had working windshield sprayers.  (Not so nice, when there is a freezing mist falling, consisting of 50% H2O­ and 50% earthen matter.)  We had no sooner pulled back out onto the street than a police car whipped in front of me, behind Larry, and turned on his blue and red lights.  Aauugghh, now what??!  

       Larry wound up stopping right in the middle of the thoroughfare, because there was no place to turn off for blocks and blocks, since Lincoln’s big cemetery is situated right beside the road for some distance.  I drove on to a car wash, pulled in, and waited…and waited…and waited…  It turned out Larry had made a right turn on red at a corner where such dastardly deeds are not allowed.  But he was glad to have received only a warning.  

        We went to Arby’s to eat, having had practically nothing to eat all day.  The door was locked.  We walked back to our cars, prepared to go through the drive-through, which was still open.  

        Just then a longhaired, bewhiskered person went striding to the door and gave it a good jerk, nearly removing his arm from the socket.  He peered through the door at a boy inside mopping the floor, and erupted in the most horrific screaming and bellowing of obscenities and expletives we had ever heard.  He returned to his car, shouting and shrieking till his voice was dreadfully distorted.  Starting his car with a roar, he trod upon the gas pedal until the wretched thing emitted a high-pitched whine, and then he put it in gear.  There was a terrible grinding, clunking noise, and the tires spun on the snow and ice.  Then, hitting dry pavement, the car leapt forward, and we held our breath, for the idiot was on a direct collision course with Bobby and Hannah’s Camry, which Larry had parked next to the Suburban.  The fruitcake (admittedly early for Christmas) managed to miss the car at the last minute.  

        With a sigh of relief, Larry went back to the Camry.  He got in line, and waited…and waited…and waited.  But we finally got our food, ate it, and headed for home.  In Seward, we stopped at a convenience store and bought Teddy a bottle of Extra-Strength Tylenol, because the prescription painkiller was not helping in the slightest, and he was growing more miserable as the moments passed.  Two Tylenol helped.  

        We had relatively clear roads all the way to David City, but we were no more than a block out of David City when the wind hit with unbelievable fury, sending snow whipping across the ground till we could not see the road.  The gusts blew so violently, it made the Suburban slide on the ice just a bit, before the tires again gripped the road and pulled us straight.  What a gale!  It was that way all the way home, and we didn’t get there until 3:00 a.m. 

        Saturday morning, Dorcas took Teddy to the police station to file the accident report.  

       They were not really very nice; but they treated him okay.  Teenager boys are always suspect, you know.  They said there was nothing we could do about the girls who caused the accident; is that true, do you think?  His pickup, only just recently finished-not-quite, now has several dents in it, which makes him almost as sad as the injury to his poor finger.   

       We had Christmas Program practice at 1:00 p.m. that day.  It was awfully windy, very cold, with the wind chill 35° below zero.  We could hardly catch a breath, when walking across the street to the church.

      Amy and the twins, Anthony and Charles, came over afterwards, and Teddy and Amy made up for the date they missed Friday night.  Caleb happily showed the twins how to play computer games--until I told him to let them show him how to play a game or two.

       This week, somebody sent me a virus (of the computer sort)--three times!  The sender was “Hahaha”, and the email was entitled, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The REAL Story”.  There was an attachment---but the title of it was nasty, and I knew better than to open it.  DELETE!  DELETE!  DELETE!  I blocked their name after the first one I received so that I wouldn’t get more---but I DID get more.  The next day, and again the next. 
I complained to a certain computer tech, who shall remain nameless; and he/she helpfully told me that when I block a sender’s name, it will simply land it in my Deleted file.  

      Well, it didn't work that way.  "That Computer  Store," I told Larry, "is quite possibly actually a grocery store; they don’t know too much about computers.  I imagine they might know a reasonable bit about rutabagas, should I happen to ask, however."

       The family that Dorcas sometimes babysits for--their children go to the daycare where she works--gave Dorcas an early Christmas present a few days ago:  Tweety Bird pjs, watch, slippers, etc.  Teddy calls her John Arbuckle, because of those slippers.  So Dorcas got him some slippers…lion-head slippers.  Big furry things.   

       Larry had to go to the store for eggs before he could make our pancakes Sunday, and he brought home blueberry syrup, too.  Mmmmm!  Teddy went to Amy’s house for dinner--driving Dorcas’ car, since the In-Transit papers on his pickup have expired.  Would you believe, they expired the day he had the accident?  Whew!  We’d forgotten about them…what if that accident had occurred the following day?!

        My nephew Robert preached Sunday night.  His sermon was about Zacharias…his unbelief, compared to Mary’s belief, when each was told they would have a child.  It sounds like Zacharias and Mary said almost the same thing:  Zacharias said, “Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.”  Mary said, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”  Sounds similar, doesn’t it?

        But we know by the angel’s reaction--in truth, God’s reaction--that Zacharias spoke in unbelief, while Mary spoke in meekness and trust.  Gabriel said to Zacharias, “Thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words.”  But listen to Elisabeth’s words to Mary:  “Blessed is she that believed!”  

        Truly, we have a God who looks on the heart.  Even when our words may not accurately portray exactly what we are thinking, nevertheless, God knows.  

        I love that story.  

        In two weeks, our missionary to Vietnam is coming.  We have supported him for many years; my father loved and respected the man, and he felt the same toward my father.  Then, on January 21st, a man from the Georgi Vins ministry--based in Elkhart, Indiana--will come.  He will preach in the morning, and show slides of their organization’s work in Russia in the evening.  

        Georgi Vins’ grandfather was martyred in Russia for his faith.  His father died when he was only a little boy.  Georgi was later imprisoned and treated terribly for his preaching.  Because of the abuse he received, he heart was permanently damaged; it is a wonder he lived through it at all. 

        We are looking forward to these services.

        There was another snowstorm Sunday night after church; winter storm warnings galore swarmed about in my computer’s Inbox.  

There was no school Monday, on account of the snowstorm.  Snowplows and loaders and dump trucks were out early--4:30 a.m.  When I got up later, I discovered Victoria already up and dressed.  

“Who dressed you?” I asked.  

“Me!” she told me happily.  Then, a bit quieter, “I had to, so the man in the loader didn’t see me in my nightgown.” 

              Victoria just brought several of her biggest teddy bears into the living room--they are almost bigger than she is--and then she went and got the broom, and was going to sweep them all off good and proper.  She said they needed to be broomed…meaning ‘groomed’, of course.  

Teddy is winning all sorts of fabulous cars on the racing game he is playing...and a lot of money, too...  He can't go to work, and he acts similar to a wild animal on a tether.  I just asked him how his finger was, and he told me it's hurting.  His finger must be hurting, because he won't say so, unless it really is.
We are thankful that at least there is the medical technology to repair such things as cut tendons and nerves, for it was not long ago that severed tendons simply meant the person would loose the use of that digit or limb.

Larry said Teddy's pickup has about $1,500 worth of damage.  Teddy feels terrible about damaging his pickup.  

Victoria is standing here watching me type... she wants me to type that she really likes her new blue curlers (we just got them at Wal-Mart), and she is going to have really, really curly hair now!

You ought to see Victoria now:  She put her curlers in a plastic jar...she put the jar inside her turquoise stocking cap with the Scotty dogs printed on it, and the white pompon on top---and then she put it on her head!  She looks so funny. 

And now it is bedtime!  Tomorrow will be another busy day, for I must practice the piano, print the Christmas Programs, practice the piano, practice with the instruments (and the young people who play them), practice the piano, return a couple thousand or so phone calls, practice the piano, take Teddy to Lincoln to have the dressing on his finger changed (his hand is in a cast-like object, keeping his wrist bent so there is no pressure on the tendons and nerve at all, for they will be very fragile for a while), practice the piano, buy the rest of the Christmas presents I need, and practice the piano.  The next day I will practice the piano, wrap presents, practice the piano, sew lace on Lydia’s dress for Christmas day, practice the piano, take Joseph to the dentist, and practice the piano.

Did I mention that I need to practice the piano?

Time’s a-wastin’!

P.S.:  Yes, I remembered to get Joseph’s Amoxicillan.