Hershberger Hippies

I never intended to form the “Hershberger Hippies Cub.” However, with three Hershberger family members involved in falls resulting in a broken hips, the club is here for good.

In January, I slipped in mud, did a sideways split, fell and did not get up. My folks always said, “You’re tough. It doesn’t hurt that much.” The EMT said “Take the pain killer – at least before the x-ray. You will need it.” I took the medicine.

In the ER I visited with my husband and friends and ignored the television. The surgeon came, “I’ll do surgery in the morning.”

The staff put my leg in traction. Such a relief.

A day after surgery, my feet hesitated to step forward. My daughter came and cheered me on. We talked about rehab. By the third day, the nurses thought I could manage home and out patient physical therapy. It only took six weeks for my injured leg to respond when the physical therapist (PT) said, “leg lifts while laying on your back.” Six weeks I grimaced, gritted my teeth and tried to lift it. The PT lifted the leg. My husband lifted the leg. I made a long strip of cloth and lifted the leg. Finally, the leg slowly, shakily moved on its own. It took more energy that I would ever have imagined and exhausted me.

About that time, my 74 year-old brother-in-law David called from his hospital bed in Wisconsin, “I had an emergency total hip replacement.”

“Why?” my husband asked.

David said he pushed back his office desk chair to stand. Somehow he tangled with an open drawer, the chair and the floor. He knew that something would break, and it would not be the floor in his home office on the second floor.

The emergency medical technicians had a high rising cart that hoisted him out and down the stairs with little jarring of his broken body. Of course, he fell during the COVID-19 shut-down so his only contact with family and friends came through the phone.

I knew he had to hurt. He said nothing about the pain. He assured us his regular exercise and bike riding routine would speed his healing and have him back on his feet quickly. He spent a week or so in rehab, learned how to use the equipment, move around safely and went home to heal.

That was in March. A couple weeks into April we received a phone call from 52 year-old son Timothy. He was miserable, laying on the stretcher in the emergency room waiting for a reading of his hip x-ray. He had missed all five steps attached to the patio before hitting the concrete slab.

Remembering the long wait in the ER room after my x-rays, I said, “it might take a while for them to be read and decide what to do.” Since he also, was in the hospital during the COVID-19 shut-down, his daughter dropped him off at the ER door and left.

A couple days after surgery that put his bones back together, he took his first shuffling steps with a walker. A week later he went alone to rehab to learn to cope with his situation and begin exercises to renew the use of the injured leg and hip. “It hurts. I have a lot of pain,” he said many times.

“I know. Take your medication. Do your exercises. It will get better.” As the founding member of the Hershberger Hippies Club, I speak from experience. I like clubs, but I am closing membership in this one. I think we need a Hershberger Coordination Club to teach graceful, safe movements to avoid falls.

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Covid-19 and the Internet

During this time of widespread closures and slower pace of life, we are allowed, even forced, to watch how differently individuals and governments respond to the time’s uncertainties.

The email request for face masks sent me scurrying to the sewing room. Cheryl Splawn of El Dorado Connections said that local clinics and nursing homes had asked for volunteers to make face masks. I had already sewn a few requested by family members. I could sew a few more. I joined the Facebook page “Sew You Care” with hundreds of others focusing on one thing: face masks. The Facebook page coordinates people sewing with requests for masks, discussions about supplies and the number completed by individuals. Can you believe one woman has completed 1,000 masks?! I cannot begin to try to match that number.

Quickly the supply of quarter-inch elastic disappeared from stores as completely as did toilet paper. Since each mask only requires a small piece of fabric, most seamstresses began sewing with their fabric stash. Quarter inch elastic, however, is quite another issue. My cousin in Pennsylvania called and asked if I had any. Friends called and asked. I shared what I could. Then Debbie Langford called to say she had cut t-shirt material into stretchy strings for masks and made ties using bias tape. That same solution flooded Facebook sewing sites.

Through this time of social isolation, of mandates to stay at home in order to reduce the possibility of expanding the problem, Facebook and other social media have kept us informed and connected. Locally, “COVID-19 Support for Union County” along with “Plastic Sign Suppliers” keep us informed of businesses still open with curb service. Plastic Sign suppliers presents community blasts of businesses needing a boost in southern Arkansas region.

COVID-19 Support for Union County Facebook page carries local updates on the virus and more. If you have a yen for a restaurant meal, the page has menus and hours for curbside service. Need services for the elderly? Check their list of contact information. Even though I do not consider that I qualify, my children and the retirement check says I should study their list of senior hours for grocery shopping.

I assume businesses are closed. Not necessarily. Check the Facebook pages or ads in the El Dorado News-Times. Plenty of shops still provide services.

Other Facebook pages even answer my question, “How did this all work during the 1918 flu epidemic with no Internet, no television news updates, radio still in its infancy and phones not yet a household necessity.” Yet, they managed.

Here in the 21st century, social media allows me to talk online with my family as a group, thanks to Zoom. I watched choir members sing individually as a group from their homes. Marco Polo recorded video updates with my St. Louis and Little Rock families.

Messages, texts, and phone calls have kept me up to date with family. Technology is not without its drawbacks, though. The conversion to online education has challenged many mothers and fathers. Through Facebook I have caught a hint of the frustration with the increased demand on the technology.

I enjoy the updates from my families. I roll my eyes when misinformation floods the Internet with the day’s spin on the causes, cures, crises and conspiracies of the Covid-19 pandemic. As much as social media helps, the full picture will only be told through the eyes of history. Only time will tell if school closings, graduations canceled, businesses failing and staying home was the solution. I comply, and while I wait for the “all clear,” I pick up fabric and return to my sewing.

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Tooth Fairy

After reading the following on Facebook by Gordon Bell, I asked his permission to share it with my readers. He graciously agreed.

My daughter lost a tooth last week. She gets all jacked up about losing teeth because she knows the Tooth Fairy will come and leave her bucks. She grabbed a Zip-Loc baggy and put it inside her pillow case.

Then she begins doubting the tooth transaction.

“Daddy, I am a little confused about this tooth.”

“Whatcha mean, LauraGrace?”

“I have had this tooth for a few years, and now the Tooth Fairy is going to come and leave me $10 or $15 for it. That is not much money for giving up your tooth. I will never see it again, and it has been part of me for a long time.”

I am thinking that she has this Tooth Fairy thing figured out. Fellow students convinced her last year that Santa was not real – that it was her Dad. She boo-hooed for about an hour over that.

I offered “Baby, you never know what the Tooth Fairy is going to bring. But, $10 is a LOT for a tooth. I used to get 25 cents on a good day for a tooth”

She then snuggles into bed. I panicked a bit because I did not know if I had any cash in my wallet.

Sweet Mary, mother of our Lord, I have $11. Two fives and a dollar bill. Saved!

I put the two fives in the baggie, and very carefully lifted her head to place it back. She remained asleep. I hid her tooth in the tooth jar up on a top shelf and behind a bunch of stuff I will never use and don’t really know what all the stuff is.

The next morning I heard her stir, but nothing more. I went to the bedroom and she was all “humped up” on the bed.

When LauraGrace is sad or angry, she “humps up.” Her shoulders jut straight up and her head squats down between the two shoulder humps. It is unmistakable. You cannot see much of her head.

I sit down beside her. “What’s wrong? Bad dream?”

She points toward the end of the bed. I get up and go to the end. On the floor I see a crumpled-up Zip-Loc baggy.

“Laura – there’s money in there!”

She is really sulled up. She looks away with a jerk.

“OK. What is wrong? Tooth Fairy came and saw you.”

After several moments, she replied “It’s only $5. I gave up part of my body for $5, and I will never see it again.”

Before I thought I said, “No, Laura, there is $10 in there.”

“How do you know? You haven’t opened it. I didn’t open it because all I saw was $5. I am not giving up that tooth for $5.”

I threw the bag to her. She pulled out the money and saw it was $10.

“Well, I knew you had $11 in your wallet last night. So I knew I’d get at least $10. I was so upset when I thought it was $5.”

She had researched everything.

“Dad, you just proved all this is fake. You just proved there is no tooth fairy. There is no Santa Claus. It’s always been you. Why did you try to fake me out all these years?”

I was speechless.

“I’m good with the $10 for the tooth. So where are you hiding my teeth?”

With no constructive, positive way out of this, I surrendered her teeth to her and called it a day.

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If you promise to paint …

“During spring break we will paint your room,” Sharon and Jacob promised their daughter Caroline. Brother Eli asked to have his room done as well. The little sisters’ bedroom was painted last fall.

They shopped for paint and found a dark gray “mistint” paint return that Eli wanted in a five gallon can that cost $35 instead of the usual $200. Caroline had picked out a lighter shade of gray. They bought white paint to mix with it.

Spring break began early as schools closed for social isolation. “I knew we would be home at least two weeks. I went to the store and got a bunch of stuff for painting,” Sharon said. At the store, she met a friend who mentioned how easy it was to scrape ceiling texture. Originally my daughter was just going to paint over the popcorn texture on the ceiling because “scraping it off, would be a lot of work.

“Oh, it is easy to scrape a ceiling,” her friend said. “Just use my steamer, scrape and it falls right off.”

Sharon borrowed the steamer and tested it on a corner of the ceiling. It did not just fall off. “You can’t test it without scraping the ceiling some, so I had to do all the rest of the ceiling,” Sharon said. She finished the ceiling, cleaned the mess and proudly posted a picture on Facebook.

A friend noticed and warned “some popcorn texture has asbestos in it.” That scared Sharon. She took a sample to be tested. If it had asbestos, the carpet would need to be cleaned.

It had two percent asbestos which is high enough to be concerned.

“We are getting new carpet,” Sharon told Jacob. Good-bye to the worn carpet that came with the house eight years ago.

“If we get new carpet, we are done,” he said.

“We ordered carpet on Thursday. They said it would be at least a week and a half to two weeks before they could lay the carpet. In the meantime, I painted Caroline’s ceiling, repainted Eli’s ceiling and the walls. We mixed white paint into the gray for Caroline’s room.”

On Monday, the carpet company called, “are you ready for carpet today?” They had had a cancellation.

No. But Tuesday would do. Sharon realized, “If we are putting new carpet in our bedroom we need to paint ceiling in there first. Plus, since I want a different wall color, we need to paint the walls before the carpet arrived.”

Eli helped her move furniture. She painted the bedroom ceiling. Jacob bought the new wall paint. After work on Monday, Jacob said, “If we are getting carpet on the stairs, we should go ahead and paint the stairwell ceiling and walls.”

They mixed more white paint with the five gallon bucket of grey and painted the walls in the hall and stairway.

“I may as well do the bathrooms ceilings,” Sharon decided. The old paint crumbled as she painted.

At 9:30 p.m. Monday night, Jacob said, “I guess we better scrape these ceilings before we get the new carpet.”

They worked past midnight scraping and thoroughly cleaning the bathrooms.

“It all had to be done before the carpet came to avoid long-term exposure to asbestos,” she said.

Painting the ceilings exposed broken fixtures. They installed new light fixtures.

Tuesday the carpet men installed new carpet in four upstairs bedrooms, hall and stairwell.

Once all the furniture was replaced, Sharon walked into her room, looked at the old comforter and said, “We need a new comforter that matches the walls.”

That’s what happens if you promise your daughter you will paint her room.

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Sew many ideas

Sewing items from yard sales overwhelm my sewing room. Occasionally I acknowledge I must get rid of something. That’s how I recently met two lovely ladies.

First I met a local seamstress who alters and sews clothing. For her, I opened the door to my sewing room excess when she wanted two large spools of cording that I no longer needed. She came, she saw, and she cleared off nearly a shelf of fabric while we talked stitchery.

I could make dresses for the little girls,” she said holding up fancy fabric.

Please do take all of it. I don’t know how to work with that type of fabric.”

I pointed out yards of muslin I purchased years ago thinking I needed it for quilting. I never used it. “Some people use it to make dresses before they make a dress. Do you need it?”

She lifted it off the shelf, “Yes, let’s make this the total,” she said as she heaped it on her pile.

I might be getting rid of that thread holder and thread later,” I said. “First, I need to sort what I do want and need.”

A week later, I sorted and sent her a message. Yes, she wanted to buy it. I said I would bring it to her shop. I wanted to see her machines and stash. She put the thread holder beside another thread holder I sold her earlier and proudly pointed out her industrial machines, sergers and store of all the sewing notions, fabric and project ideas that any shop needs to have on hand. She had back-ups for her back-ups. Which makes sense when she is sewing late at night while the repair man is sleeping.

And this saves my back when I have to pin up the hems of slacks,” she said pointing to a heavy wooden platform. “The men set it up when they come.”

I left her shop, inspired to get into my sewing room – as soon as we checked out a “Picker’s Sale” on the other side of town. We arrived too late for the best choices. Still my stitching eye zeroed in on a few items, including a package of old fashioned cloth diapers in the original package. It brought to mind all the baby showers with cute burb cloths made using pre-folded cloth diapers with a colorful strip of fabric added for fun. I could do that. I tossed them in my pile.

At home, I picked them up, looked at the dozen projects on my shelves and decided to list them on eBay. “Vintage, still in package BirdsEye diapers.” A lady in Virginia bought them and wrote, “A great find for my vintage collection!”

I responded, “I found them at a picker’s estate sale. I never heard of collecting cloth diapers. How many varieties do you have?

“I have many vintage baby items. I found a lot at antique shops, flea markets, and yard sales. I really never knew so many different varieties and styles of cloth diapers existed until I got to looking on Ebay. The ones I purchased from you are the only ones of that style I have ever come across. I have at least twelve different varieties so far. It just makes me smile and feel calm. I used cloth diapers on my children when they were babies. … collecting just takes me back to a more peaceful, less hectic state of mind.”

So I didn’t make the projects planned. I did make a couple women happy and caught a glimpse of a few of their favorite things.

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Pain changes perspective and prayer

Struggling through the daily routine of physical exercises to regain full use of my body after an emergency partial hip replacement, I understand the veracity of “to truly empathize with another’s pain or joy, you have to have gone through the same pain.”

As my body knits back together and accepts the bionic part, I keep Ibuprofen handy for the pain. That simple action often triggers a prayer for the countries with little or no access to pain killers let alone immediate hospitalization and surgery.

After recently reading a biography set in an impoverished country, I wince at the suffering of injured country folks who have to be carried for day to a clinic. Just the pot holes around here leave me cringing at all the ups and downs of a trip over rough dirt roads. As I laid on the ground waiting for the ambulance, I knew one would come. I knew I would see a doctor. I knew relief would come. So I pray that more individuals in those countries get the training to meet the needs.

Waiting through the days until I can again tie my own shoes, I reflect that if I had suffered this same injury before World War II, no doctor would have considered a partial hip replacement. The hip would have been stabilized in traction for a lengthy period. In 2020, however, the day after surgery the staff urges patients to stand and walk.

My foot stayed glued to the floor. “Move, foot,” I said. It lifted a fraction of an inch forward in a baby step. Before, this experience, I would have quietly thought, “Quit your bellyaching.”

Now, I understand and urge people to keep trying.

I thank God for the development of physical therapy – a fancy name for issue directed exercise. I am not fond of exercise, but I don’t want to be incapacitated and encourage myself and others, “I know it hurts, it will get better.”

For some reason, during this recovery process, I find myself suddenly “hangry” (hungry and angry). I want food now. I do not want to wait. With all the local fast food places, I don’t have to wait. Plus, as my daughter said recently, “I don’t remember you ever rushing into town to buy bread and milk before a storm.” True, I do keep a well stocked pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Still something about this recovery process and I hit empty with a fury.

Often with that urgency comes with the realization that in drought and famine ridden countries around the world, whole cities of people lack food. Children cry and die for it. My faint hint of hunger reminds me to pray for the countries where folks live on short rations for weeks, months and years. I pray for the rain, the end of conflict and the opening of opportunities to work. I pray for the parents who work hard to provide and still can not.

I recently read “Hope Runs” about a family in Kenya where three children ended up on the street. An orphanage eventually accepted the brothers. Repeatedly through the book the question comes, “how can we help this one or two and leave all the others without?” One time it was simply handing out donated running shoes to some of the children when there were not enough shoes for all.

Better to help a few than do nothing because not all will receive shoes.

My activities may be limited during this recovery, but through reading and empathy, I can reach out to about others and pray for them confident that prayer is the beginning point for change.

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A knock at the door

It starts with an unexpected knock on the door. “Are we expecting anyone?” the residents ask.

Probably not if it is Charles McClelland with a smile on his face and a bouquet in his hands. He works part time delivering flowers for a local shop.

“Every once in a while they are shocked. You can see by the expression on their face that they are surprised. A lot of people don’t get flowers, so it is a big deal when the flowers arrive.”

McClelland has delivered flowers 10 years and has delivered to some folks many times. “If I know them well enough, I will sing happy birthday or serenade them,” he said.

“I never thought delivering flowers would be exciting, but it is. It is all about making a good day for someone. It is a pick-me-upper. It is someone saying, ‘I thought about you and want you to have a good day.’ It is like what God tells us to do, ‘love your neighbor.’ We give people gratification through flowers.”

One of his most surprised recipients was a woman in her mid-80s.

“It was a single flower. A single daisy in a small vase. I went to the door and knocked. She came to the door. She opened it, saw the flower and had a beautiful smile on her face. ‘Is this for me?’”

“Yes ma’am. It’s your lucky day.”

She stopped and looked at him doubtfully. “Am I getting ready to die?”

“Ohh, no ma’am,” he started to protest. When she said, “’It must be this group I am in that sends flowers sometimes.’”

“She had me open the card. It was the group. She had tears in her eyes and was happy to see me.

“It was an eye opener and gratifying to to get to know her. I had to deliver flowers to her a couple times after that. She always wanted to give me a tip. I would say, ‘No ma’am.’”

Special events during the year keep semi-retired McClelland hopping: Prom season, Secretary’s Day, Mother’s Day and especially Valentine’s Day. “That is the busiest time of the year,” he said.

Preparation for Valentine’s Day begins weeks ahead of time with the florist ordering the estimated number of flowers and vases needed based on the previous year’s demand. A map is drawn for the three to four part-time drivers who will carry flowers through the county.

“We started delivering on Thursday. The deliveries are sorted out so we are not going back and forth. We work late. They ask the customer, ‘Do you want this in the morning, afternoon or evening?’ They try to get all morning deliveries before noon. We start loading up around 7 in the morning and begin delivering around 8:30 and deliver until 5 or 5:30.”

“We delivered Thursday and Friday. I am sure we had some orders that had to be done on Saturday. It depends on when the order came. If we get them out on Friday, or people call in, or it went to wrong address it will be corrected.”

“Very seldom do people say, ‘I don’t want this.’ Sometimes, I can see by the expression on their face. I don’t say anything. I just make sure the flowers are delivered and hopefully who ever gets it is happy.”

“Sometimes the person is not satisfied with the arrangement they ordered. Then I go back and they fix it up and try again.”

Still, 95 percent of the time McClelland’s knock is welcomed and the flowers he delivers bring a spot of happiness to folks and a smile to his day as well. Of course he smiles! He gets to surprise people with flowers.

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Dr. Mildred Jefferson

“To do no harm” meant any life in Jefferson’s world. Simply stated Jefferson said, “I am not willing to stand aside and allow this concept of expendable human lives to turn this great land of ours into just another exclusive reservation where only the perfect, the privileged and the planned have the right to live.”

She did not have a popular message which may be why she is rarely mentioned during Black History month. The pro-choice/abortion movement has deafened many ears in the black community, for according to the Center for Disease Control, “more African-American babies are aborted than any other race in the United States.”

The 2018 Charlotte Lozier Institute reports, “In Arkansas, abortion has a disproportionate impact on African American women. CLI estimates that the abortion rate among black women in Arkansas in 2018 was 12.2 abortions per 1,000 black women of childbearing age – almost 3.7 times the white rate of 3.3 abortions per 1,000 white women of childbearing age.”

“Black women are more than five times as likely as white women to have an abortion,” according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute.

One national leader did hear what Jefferson had to say and changed his stance on abortion. In a letter to Dr. Jefferson, Ronald Reagan wrote, “No other issue since I have been in office has caused me to do so much study and soul-searching. I wish I could have heard your views before our (state – California where he was governor) legislation passed. You made it irrefutably clear that an abortion is the taking of a human life. I’m grateful to you.”

From those early days of following the local doctor on his rounds in the city, Jefferson determined to become “a physician in order to save lives, not to destroy them. I will not accept the proposition that the doctor should relinquish the role of healer to become the new social executioner,” she said in a 1978 interview.

The American Medical Association’s decision to support liberalization of the abortion laws triggered Jefferson’s plunge into the pro-life movement. She signed a petition opposing that decision. An eloquent, outspoken person, Jefferson went on to establish and support various pro-life movements. In 1970, she helped found the Massachusetts Citizens for Life. Her influence spread. She served three terms as president of the National Right to Life Committee, wrote columns for their publication, testified for the prosecution against an abortionist, helped establish a political action committee to elect pro-life candidates and served on more than 30 pro-life boards.

Jefferson died in 2010 and is buried in Carthage, Texas, but the impact of this petite surgeon in the years following Roe v. Wade remains.

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Tribute to Jim Robinson

Facebook tributes lauded the late Jim Robinson, submariner and founder of Labella, for his love, helpfulness and friendship.

Author Kimberly Woodhouse and her young family once lived in El Dorado. She wrote, “More than two decades ago, Jim was a huge factor in getting help for our daughter when she was a baby and the doctors were trying to figure out her rare condition. Not only did he do an abundant amount of research, but he contacted people and helped get her very first cooling vest which was a life-saver for our toddler. He was her champion from then on.”

“Joshua and Kayla both loved to go to LaBella’s. He would cool it down so we could go in and Jim would make them cheese toast and cut up tomatoes and black olives (because that was what they wanted). He would give them fudge and love on them. Every. Single. Time. He would tell Josh the funniest stories and show him the coolest toys. And when we moved away, every time we returned, he welcomed us like family. Thanks in good part to him and all his relentless pursuit of help for a little baby all those years ago.”

Laurie Lala Russell recalled, “he’d get teary eyed sharing military stories with me. I can’t count the times he’d slip something extra into my bags when I’d shop at La Bella’s and wouldn’t let me pay for it. He spoiled my son when he was little by giving him candy, fudge, or some kind of treat after I’d tell Brandon he couldn’t have it!”

Jim would put his finger to his mouth and say “Ssshhhhh, don’t tell Mama!” very loudly, I should add, so I’d know what he was doing. He was like a mischievous Santa.”

Others spoke fondly of him as a former submariner. He attended the reunions and at least once provided the means for another to attend. Lance Alderman wrote of “Robbie,” Jim Robinson’s nickname from his Navy days, “Robbie was an EM (Electrician’s Mate) who served on one of my submarines – the USS Darter (SS-576). He was significant enough to the boat’s reunions that the Facebook page for the boat changed their cover photo to one of him at a reunion. Robbie served while the boat was deployed in the Western Pacific and Vietnam during the War.

“While I did not serve with Robbie at the same time on the Darter, he was a fellow Darter ‘shipmate’ that befriended me over the years at reunions. We held more recent reunions at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum … on the Arkansas River. Robbie had a delicatessen and catering service so he would load up his equipment, food, do the cooking, stock the bar, etc., for reunions and he made them memorable.

“Last year he was battling cancer but insisted on still catering the reunion which for him was a labor of love for his brother submariners. His old captain said ‘Robbie is the heart of Darter’ while another of Robbie’s old shipmate perhaps summed it up best: ‘A man only has so many shipmates and when one passes, there just are not any replacements.’

In those years when the storm clouds of war were brewing on the horizon of history, this Shipmate stood the watch … so that we, our families and our fellow countrymen could sleep soundly in safety each and every night knowing that a sailor stood the watch.

Today we are here to say ‘Shipmate the watch stands relieved, Robbie’ – you can now rest since your shipmates have the watch and we wish you fair winds and following seas on the final voyage.”

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Not as planned

Recently there was a county wide sew day. I invited my sister to fly in for it and to visit a couple sewing groups. Add tourism and I promised her a busy week. Instead we learned that “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

Two weeks before her departure I texted, “I was helping in the yard. I slipped on some mud. My right leg snapped. I will have hip replacement tomorrow.”

“My plan was to visit you. So whether visiting and exercising alongside you, I will see you in 10 days. Maybe I will be of some help,” she responded.

Instead of sewing, we sorted fabric to give or set aside for projects. She picked up one. fabric panel and smiled, “Oh, I would like to make this doll.”

She cut the doll. I took a healing nap.

In the morning, she had lots of fabric time. I exercised and slept followed with more fabric petting – a real activity for folks who collect and use fabric.

Day two, Sharon went into physical therapy (PT) with me. I struggled to lift my leg higher than a mouse. She sat, watched and took notes to remind me what to do on days without PT. Back home, I collapsed into a refreshing nap, she went to the sewing room and had a sewing vacation at my house. She edited the PT notes, gathered equipment and prepared to remind me to do 22 different exercises.

I could not stay long at the Thursday afternoon sewing, but she needed big tables for pinning together two baby quilt tops and backs that we found in my unfinished projects.

Jean Tedford helped her pin. I sat in a borrowed wheel chair and watched. We left soon after the 3 o’clock coffee break. I needed a nap.

Day three. We designed a quilt for an upcoming Harry Potter birthday. First though, I exercised, and she checked, ticking off completed exercises and reminded me of the next. Some exercises left me grimacing. It astounds me that exercises I did regularly at Champagnolle Landing now challenge me. Lifting my knee high to march in place used to be so easy and now is painful..

“How about a low, barely off the ground march?” my leg protests.

Pulling a chair over, she sat beside my lounge chair, and we explored quilting ideas. “This would be a good one for wizards’ robes for the quilt,” I said. “Except they need a pointed hat.”

The pointed hat led to a slimmer gown rather than the original wide skirt and my sister created her first quilt block. I helped pick out fabric. She ironed, cut and sewed. I approved her work.

“What time will therapy be tomorrow?” she asked as we prepared for bed.

“What? Oh, right, let’s do it early, say 9?” I suggested.

At 9 a.m. she smiled and told me what to do. I squeezed, stretched, moved and counted pain pills needed.

I slept. She developed a sample block of wizards, adjusted it and made another sample.

“With all the traveling in the car and no lounge chairs or beds at the All Day Sewing, I better stay home and sew.” I regretfully decided.

My friends got together to sew, chat and eat. I stayed home and exercised while Sharon counted and checked off leg lifts.

Se sewed. I sorted fabrics for her to take home.

Exhausted, I took a nap. She stitched together four wizard blocks in the four wizard school colors. Thus we spent our week together with her sewing and me mending. It wasn’t exactly the vacation my sister and I had originally planned, but I am thankful for her presence, help with physical therapy and expert sewing skills.


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