Ready to go … almost

            If leaving an item or two behind hints a reluctance to depart, Dear One obviously had mixed feelings about attending a men’s retreat last weekend. Whatever his feelings about the weekend’s events, I welcomed the prospect of a couple days by myself.

Before Dear One could go, we needed to drop a couple packages off at the post office and then pick up our other vehicle from the mechanic.

“I put my suitcase in the van so I can go on to camp from the shop. I will be leaving for camp in plenty of time to be there early,” he said as slid in behind the wheel. He drove down the street, onto the highway and took a left to the post office. As we approached the building he asked, “Hand me the packages.”

I reached behind the seat and came up empty handed.

“I don’t see them.”

He stopped, got out, looked under his camp gear and behind the seats. “I guess we left them at home. We have time to go home and get them.”

We veered away from the post office, turned off the highway and drove down our street. I found the packages where I had laid them down while I looked for a book to read in the van.

Back in the van we went back down the street, onto the highway and to the post office to drop off the packages. He still had plenty of time to pick up the car and arrive at camp early.

At the mechanic’s shop, we parked near the repaired car. He hauled out his suitcase. When he started to close the door, I thought I saw something partially hidden and forgotten, “Did you get your sheets and blankets?”

“Ohhh. I forgot them. I will come back to the house and get them.”

“All right. See you there.” I held out my hand for the key. I was ready to go home and have the house to myself for the evening.

At the house, I gathered up a blanket, sheets, towel and washcloth and a couple pillows (one for his head, one for his knees.)  As soon as he drove into the driveway, I scooped up the bundle and carried it out to the car so that he did not lose any more time.

“There’s your sheet, towels, blanket, pillows. Did you get your toothbrush? And comb?” I asked about the comb only because when we travel he frequently misplaces his and asks if I have a spare. Last year I went on the offense and bought a package of combs to distribute in the cars and suitcases.

“I have my comb,” he said as he started for the door. Then he stopped turned around, “I need to get my toothbrush.”

“Take this glass,” I said, handing him a plastic cup. I knew he would want one every time he took his medication.

I held my breath as he walked out the door, climbed in the car and backed out of the garage for the third time in an hour.

The garage door rumbled down. I flopped on the couch and sighed with contentment. I had begun searching for a show to watch when the garage door began grinding gears again.

He poked his head in the door, “I forgot my Bible.”

I waved hello and good-bye from the couch.

Again he climbed into the car. He had suitcase, clothes, toothbrush, comb, linens and Bible. He did not return. Dear One arrived at camp in time for a short chat with the other guys before the dinner bell rang.

And me? Well, I remembered everything I needed to revel in some peace and quiet: I simply laid back on the couch, pulled up a blanket and soaked up some alone time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Laundry then and now

 I watched the young woman hoist a basket of laundry, and I commented, “More wash to do?”

“With children, there is laundry every day,” she said abruptly.

Somehow it reminded me of a conversation with a friend who picked up her sons after a morning at my house. “So what did you do?”

“I washed clothes,” she said.

I didn’t say it, but I thought, “you had all morning and all you did was laundry? The washing machine and dryer do all the work.”

I knew that was not all. I did laundry for our boys who were the same age. I did laundry on automatic pilot. That began with the first baby. Before any middle of the night feeding, I sleepily shoved a load of jeans or white clothes into a machine. In the morning I had a stack of jeans, shirts and nappies to fold. Years later, when one son decided he would use the extra space in the laundry room as his bedroom, I tiptoed in each morning to start a load of wash before he awoke. Later, before work I switched clothes and sorted clean clothes into piles. Laundry happened every day.

Still, I experienced nothing like what my grandparents and mother tackled. My mother once said, “At first, I had to take the diapers down to the creek to rinse out.”

I am sure she welcomed the convenience of a wringer washer to agitate the clothes before she fed them between the rollers to wring out the water. Today laundry detergents and fabric softeners emphasize “fresh smells.” Mom, my grandmothers and my mother-in-law hung clothes to dry and never needed anything for a “fresh smell.” Their clotheslines insured fresh smelling clothes from spring to fall and freeze dried clothes in the winter. Have you ever seen frozen jeans and shirts? They stack up like cards and stand stiff as a board without a body in them.

In the days before wrinkle free clothing, laundry chores included ironing. While my grandmother, born in the late 1880s, knew the drudgery of needing to heat her iron on the stove, the electrical iron cut time and effort for the next generation. With all that in mind, most folks wore outfits more than one day rather than today’s habit of a couple outfits every day. To facilitate ironing, Mom sprinkled my dresses with water then rolled them tight to let the moisture saturate the garment.

Of course with five little ones, she did not always finish ironing in one day. To keep the clothes from drying out she stuck them in the freezer or the refrigerator until she had time to iron. My sisters and I began ironing handkerchiefs very young. I used to iron every week. Now, if clothes cool in the dryer, I turn the dial to “de-wrinkle” and wait for the “all done” signal to tell me to grab hangers for them before they wrinkle again.

Laundry is much easier now. Last year, my nine year-old granddaughter quietly washed everyone’s clothes during Cousin Camp.

The first day she simply asked, “How do I start the machines?”

“Push the Power button and then the Start button.” She stuffed machines, pushed buttons and distributed clean t-shirts and shorts to the others and declared it “Fun!”

Fun or not, clothes and linens must be gathered. Someone must sort clothes, place them in machines, add detergent and put them away. That someone can be mom, dad or a child. My granddaughter found it easier and quicker than my grandmother did. Still the chore takes time. One thing that will always remain true, no matter how automated laundry becomes: children guarantee that the laundry basket never stays empty for long. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The seatbelt that saved her life twice

The screech of tires, smashing of glass and impact of metal against metal abruptly ended my friend’s ride home from work. Having her car totaled and herself bruised shocked her. In time however it revealed a life saving miracle. 

 “A school bus was crossing in front of me at the crossing. I stopped. A truck came into the construction zone behind me. The driver was messing with the radio. He did not see the bus and ran into the back of my red Toyota Corolla.”

The safety belt stopped her body from flying forward. The impact left her bruised and shaken.

“The seat belt pressed across my chest at an angle,” she traced the line on her torso. “My back hurt. I went to the Emergency Room where I was X-rayed. Nothing was broken. That was in the spring. I did not need to return to the doctor for injuries.”

Her car would never drive her home again. She was sore for days. Still she looks back on the accident with thanksgiving and declares, “That was the accident that saved my life.”

“Four months later, my breast hurt. I went to the doctor.  He did an ultrasound, examined me and traced a line of blood clots from the shoulder across the breast and to the side. The blood clots were from the pressure of the seat belt. He said, ‘It usually goes away on its own. But if it is bothering you, you can have surgery to remove it.’”

After four months of the clots not dissolving and the pain persisting, my friend wanted to be done with the pain. She asked for the surgery. They made the arrangements and she checked in for the procedure.

After surgery, the doctor came to the recovery room. “It’s a good thing you had that accident. When we opened you up we found cancer behind the blood clot. We removed the clot and the cancer.” He had sent it to the lab where it tested positive for cancer.

Of course, she made an appointment with an oncologist who asked to have the biopsy and the records forwarded. During her appointment, the specialist checked her lymph nodes to see if the cancer had spread. It hadn’t 

“Just to make sure there are no stray cancerous cells, you could have chemotherapy and radiation to address any potential problems,” the specialist said.

By the end of the year my friend was still cancer free and finished with the chemotherapy and radiation. Since then, every year she has had another check-up and another “all clear” report. She rejoices exuberantly, “Jesus is still working miracles. He used the common things to work His miracle. The accident happened, but I was wearing a seatbelt and stopped when I was supposed to stop. I followed the rules and did what the experts said to do.”

         Another blessing came in the form of  no complications after her surgery plus she remains cancer free in the years since then.

“Only Jesus knew I had the lump. He used a student messing with the radio, the accident, the seat belt and the doctor to cure me. The specialist said that the seat belt that caused the blood clot also cut off the blood supply to the cancer.”

Some people would call it all a fantastic coincidence.

My friend declares, “Jesus still does miracles. He used the seat belt to save my life twice.”

Not the best of circumstances but one that proves the truth of First Thessalonians 5:18 “In Everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The seatbelt that saved her life twice

to vax or no to vax

            To be vaccinated or not to be vaccinated. Whichever you choose, someone will declare it wrong. In January, my husband had Covid. We both quarantined. For three weeks, he laid around the house coughing, totally drained of energy. I rested with him for a couple days and then made a quilt.       During those weeks, vaccines slowly trickled across the nation for certain folks given “first dibs.” As the list of approved recipients grew, hubby, 81, weighed the issue back and forth. With his recovery so recent and his body full of anti-bodies, he decided, “I have already had it. Besides I haven’t a flu shot since my one and only shot in the 1960s.”

         Some reports suggested waiting to be vaccinated if you had the Covid. He chose to wait. He felt confident that he had immunity.

         As Covid variations crept into the headlines this summer, he again debating vaccination. Weary of the discussion I emailed three sons: the pharmacist, the avid researcher and the one who works in social work every day. They all wrote back, “Get the vaccine.”

         “I think I’ll get the shot before we go to Texas,” hubby announced bravely. He hates shots.

         “You should wait until we return. Sometimes people don’t feel well for a couple days after a vaccination.” I explained. We traveled. Then he went to the County Health Unit.

         “The needle was so small, I did not even feel it,” he announced when he returned. He pulled out a large card and said, “I could have had $20 toward another fishing license, but I already have a lifetime license.” He handed me a million-dollar scratch off ticket. “I debated accepting it. Then I realized I didn’t buy it, so I would not be gambling. Do with it what you want.”

         He is a statistician. He knows the odds of losing the lottery.

         I googled “How to play” and watched a YouTube video on what to do. Holding a pair of blunt scissors, I scraped just enough of the symbols to see if anything matched or had a symbol that meant, “look closer you might have won.”

         “Looks like you might have $50 for this spot,” I mumbled.

         I carefully matched all the top numbers with the bottom ones and found one match. “I think you won $50 for this match.” I held out the ticket.

         He blandly looked at it. “Now what?”

         “Take it to the corner store. They should cash it.”

         “Okay,” he headed out the door.

         Fifteen minutes later he returned, grinning, laughing and waving a $100 bill. “Look! At this!” He looked like the kid who just grabbed the brass ring on the merry-go-round.

         “The man asked if I wanted to buy more lottery tickets with it,” he laughed. “Of course not. That would be gambling. This is an unexpected gift.” He really had only expected the shot and the band-aid on his arm.

         I snapped a picture of his huge grin, the crisp $100 and the band-aid. I posted it on Facebook. Some liked it. Some didn’t. He missed all of it. The next couple days he slept round the clock as his body adjusted to the vaccine. The third day he hopped out of bed, “I am going to mow the lawn before it gets hot.” And he did.

         In a month or so, he will do it all over again: the lawn and another vaccination. He is not planning on winning another lottery prize. He does however plan on doing what he can to avoid a bout with Covid for another three weeks like he suffered in January.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on to vax or no to vax

Traveling to Texas

An ad for Chip and Joanna Gaines’ “Fixer-Upper” show in Waco, Texas flicked across the screen. “I want to go see the Magnolia Silo someday,” hubby said.

“Okay. Let’s go this week,” I opened my computer and googled distances. “We could also go to the Dinosaur State Park. You want to see the footprints in the rocks. It’s an hour west of Waco.”

His face lit up at the mention of another item on his bucket list. He opened a hotel reservation website and began comparing prices.

Wednesday morning we found a parking spot near the bakery beside Magnolia Market at the Silos and purchased a breakfast cookie to eat outside on the patio of cement and artificial turf. The Gaines like artificial turf. It even covers the child-sized baseball field surrounded by food trucks. Artificial turf maintains the image of a perfectly-trimmed village green between the small shops and the quaint chapel Joanna had disassembled and moved to the site.

Inside the shops, I found perfectly matched and balanced color schemes in neutral colors. The furniture layouts feature perfectly coordinated 1960s hues of hospital green, grey and tan with books wrapped in papers of the same colors on the shelves. Obviously, the shop is not a bibliophile’s dream living room arrangement.  I pierced the sterile setting and pulled books off the shelf, opened them to read the titles and glance at the contents. 

Because we visited the week after summer vacation ended, we only had a 15 minute wait for seats at Magnolia Table. The gourmet dishes looked and tasted delightful. A perfect way to check off another item on the bucket list.

We left the Magnolia complex to visit the Waco Mammoth Excavation site. The flood that buried the mammoths and other animals eons ago left a jumble of bones for archeologists to carefully scrape, brush and remove. I stood on a balcony overlooking the mammoth tusks attached to the skull. I tried to conceptualize the mammoth’s legs, possibly buried 16 feet below. There were giants in the land, in those days. The park guide said archeologists anticipated more mammoths buried all around us in graves yet to be discovered. The first bones of this nursery herd appeared in 1978. Subsequent excavations found bones for a Western camel, alligator, giant tortoise and saber-toothed cat. So many stories yet to be uncovered.

The next morning we took a path rarely traveled east of Waco and drove by the vast fields and one-room chapel built where the Branch Davidian compound stood before the 1993 encounter between the cult and the FBI and ATF. Only a small memorial wall hints at the story where the 80 Branch Davidian members and four federal agents died during the siege. Wikipedia filled in the details of the cult’s activities, leaders and its current decline.

My husband wanted to visit one other place before we headed home: Dinosaur State Park and the nearby Creation Museum in Glen Rose, Texas. The park guide directed us to the footprints in the stone. He warned us, “It has rained, so the water is muddy and you can’t see much.” We drove to the river. My husband walked down to the water, studied the rocks and declared he had found a footprint beside the water. The museum displayed molds of the prints for anything we missed and a petrified tree whose shape had been pressed from round to oval during the catastrophic flood that wiped out the mammoths and other animals.

With our daily science lesson complete, we stopped at an estate sale with a financial lesson. The estate sale’s staff said the two year old house recently sold for two million dollars. The previous owner used to drive a Ferrari and now drives a Mercedes. The sale offered appliances, furniture and pre-school children’s clothing and toys, including 27 different train themed toys. 

The ride home after checking off those bucket list items, we spent reviewing all we had seen and realized anew how dramatically life can change, disappear even and yet leave its mark for the ages to come. Flood, fire, financial ruin and paint can leave indelible marks on the landscape and lives of those around us. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Traveling to Texas

Dr. Leo Carson Davis

When I consider the upcoming school year, I recall Dr. Leo Carson Davis’ rigorous academic expectations. The first day of Geology 101, he informed us we would study rocks and write a weekly journal to improve our written communication. One man wrote “The train went down the track going ‘chooo, choo, choo.’” He filled the remaining pages with choo choos. I wrote and thought about rocks. I thought about rocks a lot that semester. Labs focused on identifying various rocks. Dr. Davis never inflicted us with the “identify all these different black rocks” test. He just scared us by saying his professor had promised it as the final exam.

I studied rocks, read about rocks and geological formations. I immersed myself into rocks that semester. I know I also had three or four other classes, but Geology 101 consumed me. Dr. Davis would not allow it to be otherwise. He lived and breathed his science. For at least a semester his fascination with rocks, nature and caves would be ours.

As a National Merit Scholar, he perpetually and instinctively studied. He said he started out with another major until he realized he spent his spare time spelunking, studying caves and rocks. He switched to geology. His office overflowed with boxes of rocks and scientific wonders. At one point, Dr. Davis told us where we could find crystals on a hill next to a highway. I described it to my husband. Our family went there and returned with a collection of fascinating crystals to add to other rocks we had gathered through the years.

I would have taken Geology 102 if I had had the time and energy for another semester with Dr. Leo Carson Davis. Instead I avoided the commitment needed to study under him until my certification for teaching science required the pre-med anatomy and physiology course. Taking a deep breath, I signed up for another Dr. Davis science class.

He had taken a refresher course before teaching the class for the first time. He transferred the information to us. The three bright young pre-med students and I, (mother of children almost their age) plunged into absorbing in one semester the circulatory, digestive, neurological and other systems of the body. My hand cramped taking notes l, which I later typed up and memorized to pass his tests. Pre-med students left his class adequately prepared for med school.

The labs proved equally challenging and interesting. One lab began with each of us consuming a quart of water with or without salt. I lucked out and got the all water assignment. To the one who received the saltiest water, Dr. Davis said, “If you can’t drink it all just do your best.” He didn’t want the guy to get sick.

We drank. Thirty minutes later we went to the bathroom and then walked back down the hall carrying beakers of urine to test for viscosity or salt or something. I don’t know. I just remember how silly we felt walking down the hall carrying those beakers and Dr. Davis’ serious face every time we did it.

When we studied the blood circulatory system, Dr. Davis grimaced and bit his tongue as I pumped and pumped and pumped the thing. His face said, “enough!” I guess it takes a bit of practice to get the hang of using a blood pressure cuff.

For years after, I kept my meticulous notes, graphs and labs. I kept them long after I tossed remnants from other classes. I have forgotten much of the geology and anatomy I learned for my hard-won As, but Dr. Leo Carson Davis’ lessons in academic excellence remain to this day. With these reflections on Dr. Davis in mind, I wish all students a great new school year. May you be challenged and inspired by your teachers and professors.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Dr. Leo Carson Davis

Eat your food to get dessert

 On the table in front of me sat a piece of chocolate cake. My 70 year-old grandmother stood across the table insisting, “Finish your food, then you can have cake.”

It took forever for me to get to eat that cake. Years later, the cake fades against the impression left by my usually placid grandmother’s hard insistence.

Saturday, it was not Grandma but Momma insisting, “You have to finish that little bit of food that I put on your plate, Katie. You have six minutes to be done if you want ice cream like everyone else.” Five year-old Katie and Momma only remained at the table. Everyone else had eaten and left.

Katie reluctantly pecked away at her food. She knew she could not win this battle with her mother. She would eat those couple teaspoons of vegetables, potatoes and meat. She had already had the same battle earlier in the day, with a new food. “You can try a couple bites,” her mother insisted.

Oh I thought it was one bite for every year,” I smiled at Katie. “So if you have five bites, then Eli has to try fourteen bites of a new food. And Grandpa! Wel, he would have to take 81 bites before he could leave the table. Can you imagine how tiny his bites would be? I bet you are glad you only have to take a couple bites.”

Katie just looked at me.

If she had been a teenager, I am sure she would have rolled her eyes at me. She could not see the sense of eating food she did not like or had ever tasted. As a child she does not understand why adults insist kids try new foods.

Lectures about it all being part of growing up fall on deaf ears. Parents aim to teach their children to eat healthy foods. They hope the lesson continues into adulthood. They want their children to spontaneously try new foods or at least take a couple polite “no, thank you” bites.

A recent rerun of Law and Order had a short vignette on the same theme. A young man sat in the holding cell refusing to discuss what he knew about his uncle’s role in a murder. From childhood his guardian uncle used his visual memory skill to win at gambling. To that end the uncle kept the nephew dependent, immature and at his beck and call.

Detective Robert Goren hands the nephew a napkin, “Take this and tuck it in.”

The young man obeys.

Detective Goren opens a container of hot chicken parmesan. The adult-kid wrinkles his nose at the prepared dish, “I don’t want that. I don’t like it.”

How do you know? Have you ever tried it?” Goren insists.

The accused shakes his head, “I want a sandwich and chips.”

Goren asked, “do you ever eat a hot meal?”

I eat hot dogs and hamburgers.”

Your uncle has kept you a child. He wants you to be a child, dependent on him. Following his orders. He doesn’t want you to grow up. He doesn’t want you to try new things. To think. To see what is happening.”

The lesson at the table is not simply about eating new foods. It is about trying new experiences, venturing beyond the playpen into the world. A concept beyond understanding for my childhood self and soon-to-be kindergartner Katie.

           Momma’s and Grandma’s insistence extends beyond preschool elementary. At that age, we don’t want to learn to eat those foods. We don’t care about consuming a variety of healthy foods. Fortunately the adults who love us insist, so we venture away from the familiar to discover new foods, ideas and experiences.  

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Eat your food to get dessert

Then and now Patty Walker

The technology that church ministries use today did not exist 45 years ago when Patty and the late Sherman Walker served as missionaries in Columbia, South America. When Sherman showed Christian films, “He rigged our car with an AC generator so he could show films in areas where there was no electricity,” Patty recalled.

Sherman worked with a local pastor who visited smaller congregations without a motorized vehicle. “That pastor received a motorcycle from Marrable Hill Chapel. Getting that motorcycle was a big deal for the pastor.”

The Walkers always flew to Columbia, landed and entered a world lacking modern conveniences. “Three months after Richard was born in El Dorado, we moved into a rental in El Carmen, Columbia about three hours from the Bible Institute where Sherman worked,” Patty said.

“When my husband was the director of the Bible Institute and treasurer for the missionaries in Columbia we had a landline sitting on his desk. If one of the missionaries in Okania called, I would answer the phone. If he was out fixing pipes or electrical things, I would go out the door and yell ‘Whoooo Hooo.’ He would yell back in his squeaky voice and come running to answer. What a change to having a phone on your person all the time.”

Earlier during the time they served, Patty said, “We didn’t even have a phone. We had to send the letter by air mail or it would have taken months for the mail to get across the continent. I wrote a letter every week to my parents. My mother was used to getting that letter at least once a week.” So when she did not receive any mail from Patty for a week, she noticed. A second week passed with no letter. By the time a third week had come without a letter, Patty’s mother called the mission headquarters.

“I have not heard from Patty in three weeks. Is something wrong? Do you know why we have not received a letter?”

The folks at the mission headquarters said they would investigate. Somehow the staff at headquarters in the United States reached Patty and Sherman in Columbia. “Why haven’t you contacted your parents the last couple weeks?”

“But I have written a letter every week,” Patty protested.

Not understanding what happened, Sherman went to the little post office in Aguachica. “My wife has been writing a letter every week to send back home to her parents in America. We have left money every week to pay for the airmail letter. Do you know anything about it?”

The postmaster reached down, opened a drawer and pulled out all of her letters. “None of them had been sent,” Patti said.

“’ We don’t have any stamps to mail the letters. We were waiting for stamps to arrive,’” the post office clerk explained.

“Well, from then on my husband would get lots of stamps when he went to the big city four hours drive from where we lived. That way we made sure our mail had stamps. Somehow the postmaster found out that we had stamps. When they needed stamps, they would come to us and buy the stamps from us. I don’t know how many times they might have done that.”

“Things have changed so much.” With email and instant messenger no one needs stamps. With a phone in the pocket, no one is limited to a single location. With electrical lines and Internet access, no one needs an AC generator to simply watch a movie or video. The message of the Church has not changed, only the methods used to share it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Then and now Patty Walker

God plans work best

“Sometimes I just feel so ditzy,” Sharon said. “I try to keep a planner of everything. As the Children’s Ministry Director, I keep track of meetings that might need child care. I contact people ahead of time to find out who can serve. For some meetings, I call the mothers I think might come to ask if they need child care this time. I write everything down in the planner.”

I still mess up.”

“Last week there was a Bible study meeting for a group of ladies. I thought I knew who would be there. I thought of a couple mothers who might bring their children. When one sent me a text to cancel childcare, I checked with the others to see if they needed child care. Each one had other plans for their children, so I called the child care workers to say we would not need a nursery this time.”

“The day of the event, I learned that more mothers had decided to come and bring their children! I needed child care workers! I found out one teenager had shown up. Apparently I had mentioned this date a month ago, and she wrote it in her planner. I had not confirmed or canceled her for the schedule, so she showed up. She is CPR certified, so that was fine, but I knew I needed a second childcare worker.” 

            “I told Eli, 14, to hurry up and get ready. We all went to church, where I saw one of the workers I thought I had told she didn’t need to come. I was almost completely sure I had texted to tell her we did not need child care. Of course, I was happy to see her, though!’

Since she was there, Eli would not be as needed, but since she was there, we now had more than two teachers in the childcare room. One teacher at a time could take a break, step out of the classroom, and the children would still have plenty of helpers.

Eli left to go to the men’s washroom. Good thing he did. The ceiling leaked.

He found me, “Hey, there is water coming down from the ceiling in the men’s room.”

I went to check it out,” Sharon said. “The water was coming down fast. The sprinkler system had a leak.”

I went to find the church secretary to see if she knew who to contact. She did. We have a contract with a company that installed them, to come back and fix the problem.

            Amazingly, that company was just right around the corner! They were able to come out to check out the leak. 

They came and fixed it quickly.

This was all on Thursday. Usually no one is at the church on Friday and no one would have known about the leak for two days. Because Eli was there, he went into the men’s room, saw the leak, and it was repaired. He was there because I thought I had canceled all the child care workers and we needed someone to stay with the children.

Just thinking about the events, Sharon shook her head in wonder. “because I thought we did not need the workers, I canceled the child care. Because one of the workers did not get the message, I had enough workers. Because I thought I did not have enough workers, Eli came to help supervise the children. Because he was in the building, he saw the leak that otherwise would have gone unnoticed, and we would have had water damage.

Because the leak was found early, it was fixed and the church did not have any water damage. My carefully worked plans failed. God had other plans. Even when I’m a ditz, all things work together for the good.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on God plans work best

Covid in Indonesia

Mert and his wife, Sheila, planned to visit her Indonesian family the end of July. In June, Sheila’s mother succumbed to cancer. Between re-scheduling their flight, getting a Covid test and visa, they could not leave until left after the funeral.

They both tested negative for Covid (Of course! Both had been vaccinated), so they could fly internationally. Indonesia welcomed them with another Covid test before allowing them to go a hotel that caters to incoming passengers who must undergo a mandatory quarantine. International passengers to Indonesia are tested, quarantined and tested again before they can leave the hotel – if they are negative. Mert’s Facebook postings during quarantine showed trays of perfectly arranged meals of Indonesian and American food.  

Finally, their quarantine ended and the couple went to mourn and remember with relatives. They also did a bit of sightseeing, according to the Facebook postings.

Only reports of Detroit areas “storm of the century” flooding their basement tarnished their visit to Indonesia. A friend back home sent them pictures of the water at the foot of the stairs to the basement. 

“I won’t know how bad it is until I get home,” Mert wrote.

            It was all fun and games until the lab tech came for another mandatory Covid test before they flew home. Mert passed (of course, he was fully vaccinated.) Sheila did not. (How was that possible? She had at least one vaccination!) Other family members tested positive, too.

            “Jakarta is a prime place for Covid to breed,” Mert said. “It is crowded. People sit or stand around the front of every building.”  Quarantine descended on Sheila and her family. Mert was allowed to go to the airport and back home to check on the damage to their home.

Back home, Mert looked down the steps at sopping wet cardboard boxes, books and papers, water-marked appliances. Their washer, dryer, dehumidifier, furnace and hot water heater were ruined. “Inside the house it is about 75 percent humid.The wooden frame absorbed water from the humid basement,” he said.

Concerned friends came to haul the wet, ruined items to the curb. The city agreed to accept the same heaps of trash that his neighbors had left weeks earlier. Hauling trash after a long international flight was tiring. Initially, Mert attributed his nagging cough to tiredness until it worsened. He went to the clinic. He had both the rapid and PCR tests for Covid. He tested positive. 

Contract tracers needed every flight he took and person he had encountered. Helpful friends received notification that he had tested positive for Covid.  

Meanwhile in Jakarta, Sheila used her phone to watch the flow of household activities in the states thanks to the security system they had installed. “So many people coming and going,” she said.

“And thank you, Lord, they came. I did not have to clean out that basement all by myself.” he said. A friend of a friend brought over a commercial dehumidifier and an air mover to put in the basement. Within days he reported, “I can see dry spots on the floor.”

Folks hauled out trash and delivered food. They checked on Mert regularly. Despite having a cough and some congestion, Mert never slowed down. He called the insurance company, made an appointment to have the furnace checked and assessed the need for new washer and dryer.

The insurance company knew that the storm of the century had flooded homes in the area. “This surpasses your deductible. We will send you a check.”

His employers told him to stay home and collect Covid sick pay. More time to work in the basement while waiting for his wife get home and go shopping for new appliances. Not the summer they planned, but it was the summer they had. “Change of plans,” is the ringing anthem of people around the globe since the outbreak of Covid; still the world turns.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Covid in Indonesia