Chicken coop

Chicken coop

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Carol Chappy

When I was a 21 year old young lady, fresh from Nursing school with one year of experience under my belt I moved from Orlando, Florida to Highlands,NC.  A huge change in my life, leaving lots of friends my age and moving to a retirement community in the mountains.  I was dying on the vine.  There was one other young nurse...the first time I met her she was laying over a patients bed with the patient draped over her like a mink.  She was ambulating the post-op patient when he decided to just lay down, and down on the bed they went.  She was a consummate  professional, so getting caught by the administrator and myself "laying" down on the job embarrassed her and she shrugged me off.  I had already decided that we would be friends much to her disagreement.  One cold winter after I knocked on her front door until she let me in,   I had seen her spying from the upstairs window to see if I was still there...."C-A-R-o-L let me in!"  She tells me that I was like a stray cat out there yelling until she let me in.  She was fully dressed with a thick cotton robe over top of her clothes, her house was cold; I complained and she showed me to the door....that was day one, but I got in and she never turned me away after that.  She later told me I was the sunshine that showed all the dirt on her tabletop.  Our friendship was even the demise of her closet- boyfriend the one that was such a red neck that she could not bring her Miami self to introduce him to her friends.  We would hang out at her house, drink wine, she was also a closet-smoker, and she tired of hiding all the ash trays from me.  

I called Carol the other day to meet me and my children at Cliffside Lake in Highlands, as we wanted to escape the heat of the summer with the spring fed lake.  Carol will always drop what she is doing and meet me with lawn chair in hand, and will stay until she has to have a cigarette, as yet she is still a closet-smoker after all these years.  I was telling another dear one how much Carol means to me, and I was playing back some of our trauma together, the traumas that only dear friends lock in their hearts and bring out the pain to dust it off and shelf it in a freshly lined drawer in our hearts.  Carol has a beautiful son, he is my godson who I pray for everyday.  When he was just a toddler Carol had another pregnancy.  She was expecting another son, and eagerly awaited his arrival, one morning she did not feel the baby move, she was 38 weeks.  A trip to the OB/GYN proved fetal demise and off she went for an induction, many hours of labor, and delivery of her little one that never had a chance to take his first breath.  Her husband summoned me, after working a night shift in the ED, I rushed to her bedside to find her with hypotension, tachycardia, and her IV infiltrated.  We were unable to summon a nurse as the only two on duty were in a delivery.  I put her in trendelenburg, restarted her IV, and went into Tracey nurse mode....."Don't poke the bear!"  I only left that evening to return to my duties in the ED.  As we have navigated the rough waters of loss, parenting, many miles between us, we come back together as no time has passed.  I see her tired eyes, and think of her exquisite beauty as a young woman, I know there is a magnificent painting of her, a present to her husband many years ago that caught her bloom in it's glory.  Another year has passed and I have not forgotten that wee one with the curly black hair that has a spot on top the mountain next to his grandpa, but his spirit soars with God the Father of all.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Aunt LaDonna

At first sight my Aunt LaDonna was my hero.  I was 5, she 55; although we were never sure of her true age.  She claimed to be 39, and when my mom would laugh hysterically she would say..."okay 49..." and take a drag off her cigarette....Virginia Slims.  She was (gasp) a divorcee in the early 70's, quite the scandal amongst the neighbors.  She had jet black hair, short shorts, micro minis and gold lame go go boots.  She drove a white cougar with a light blue top and she always parked straight down the driveway making it impossible for anyone else to pull in.  Thus the Schneider-ism of "you park like Aunt LaDonna"  and this is NOT a good thing, and often was the source of irritation for my father arriving home from work.  She had an uncanny ability to drop in just in time for supper.  My mother thought her to be very colorful, and since  my father relocated our family from NY to Florida, she was just the show stopper my mother needed at the time.  Quite the diversion.  Aunt LaDonna would take us girls, Melissa, Monica, and me for an overnight, she would paint our toe nails bright red (our mother would never allow that then or now) and we would make crank calls well after our official bed time.  Her favorite was, "Hey mister is your refrigerator running?"  The man would say sure, and she would say, "I know I just saw it running down the street."  And we would explode in gales of laughter on her big king sized bed with a black rotary phone that weighed at least 20 lbs.  She had two poodles that she dyed pink and blue.....painted their nails and put bows in their hair.  She was a card.

Every Christmas she would get a fresh tree, paint it with white snow so the needles would last the whole year and with each Holiday she would change the decor for the season.   February would bring hearts and cupids, shamrocks for March, Easter eggs in April....4th of July red, white, and blue.  My Father was always amazed that the whole house did not catch fire.  She was a bright light.  The last time I saw her was my Nursing School Graduation Party.  She was in a tight white dress, her skin tanned, bright red lip stick, her hair was still coal black, but under her war paint was a 75 year old hot mama.  She was headed to Vegas for a change of scenery as she had tired of the sunshine state.

She is no longer at our dinner table but her legacy still lives on!  I still paint my toes bright red in her honor, and I can still her her laugh as she always had a joke to tell that would make my mom gasp.

Matty's letter to Mike Rowe

Matty, my first born; wanted Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs to visit with his crew....this is his letter.  PS  He also used it for a writing assignment for school.

Dear Mike Rowe,

We have a fabulous dirt bike trail at our house, we have lots of acres to run, ride bikes, and my favorite is the Dirt Bike Trail. We are digging more trials, clearing bushes, and this is really a dirty job. We live in the mountains of North Carolina, and my brothers and me....well we get dirty. So bring the gang and your play clothes and I even have a bike for you, either at 110 or 250 if you could handle that kind of power.

PS My dad is building an outside shower because we get so dirty. Oh by the way, my name is Matty and I'm 8. Bye Mike Rowe, I love your show, but mom says you need to clean up your mouth....too many bad words; she has a bar of soap for that kind of thing. Dad gave up bad words for lent. This makes mom and God happy.