“Vacation” Photo

6 inch long incision to insert a 4″ long metal plate complete with several screws

Fortunately, the nurse had a smart phone and was kind enough to take a photo of my son’s surgery. Otherwise, I would have no photos of my Florida “vacation” to post.
There have been a few other things that I wished I could have taken a photo of:
This morning on the way to the bank and the Walmart, there was a long row of at least 10 brightly colored newspaper vending machines…all in  a row at the edge of a sort of no man’s land along the highway. A vague landscape of warehouses and palm trees stretched out beyond them.

Then, at the Walmart, I again felt the urge to snap a photo as I stood on the cash register line and looked over at the next line where an extremely overweight youngish man labored to pay for his groceries. I watched him reach laboriously for his wallet, and then slowly pull his money out. I noticed a long scar running along the entire left edge of his face and continuing on across the top of his forehead….and I couldn’t help it, the word “frontal lobotomy” charged into my brain. He seemed slow in more than just a physical way and there was something veiled and red rimmed about his eyes….and then, he said something to the cashier and she called over an elderly gentleman whose main job seemed to be to charm the customers as they entered and exited the store. She informed him that the overweight man was not feeling well and needed to sit down. The charming man rolled over on a wheelie thing and offered it to a different customer first. The cashier redirected his attention to the heavy man, now leaning on her counter. The charming man rolled the wheelie thing right over to the heavy man who sat down, very heavily on it. (It did not flinch) The charming man talked gently to the heavy man, asking him conspiratorily, “What’s up man?” “Not feel’ in too good?” and so on. I left the store, sort of dazed and finding my attention far from making sure I had the right change.

Loving Their Job

I have had the opportunity through the roller coaster ride of parenting, to recently have met some very inspiring people in surprising locations.

Last week, as I was moving towards the checkout counter in Walmart with some groceries that are just so much cheaper there, a man attired in Walmart blue and wearing the authority of a manager or security official, stopped me to ask “if that was my son”, pointing at the 13 year old boy next to me, who indeed, was my son. He had been spotted stealing a lighter.  We were ushered into a cramped security office with a wall of closed circuit camera screens in front of us. The man, whose name was Ray, sat my son down and explained in decided tones that he could contact the police and my son would be lumbered with a juvenile record, a $2,000 fine, and other unsavory results. He explained that he wasn’t going to do that because this was the first time he had caught  my son shoplifting and he believed in giving people a second chance. He asked my son why he was stealing and why he was stealing a lighter.. My son shrugged with his tough guy demeanor in place, and answered “because it’s cool”. Ray than directed my son’s attention to me, his mother and explained how I was doing everything I could to put groceries on the table and that my son needed to understand that when he stole from Walmart, it was ultimately something that could raise prices and make life more difficult for people like his mother, in addition to causing untold stress to her. He waxed poetic about how important mothers are, explaining that his own mother had raised 4 kids in the Bronx, and look how it had ultimately led to him being the manager of a huge Walmart like this. Eventually, he asked my son to leave the room and wait outside. He turned to me and said that he hoped he hadn’t been too hard on my son, but he felt it was important to scare him so he never did this sort of thing again. I agreed and thanked him for his time with us. I really felt that he had been very intelligent and sensitive…somehow figuring out that it was probably the first time my son had attempted this, maybe through the sheer clumsiness of the attempt. I tried to find his full name later on a Walmart website to register my appreciation for him with the company, but to no avail.

I was struck by how well-matched Ray  is with his job. He is completely invested in carrying out the duties and responsibilities of manager of a huge retail store. I have experienced this sense of “calling” in relation to drawing, painting, parenting, and teaching. With the first three, I am still trying to figure out the financial remuneration aspect. I manage to teach part time and earn a small amount through the last calling. It is sometimes wrenching not to be able to avail oneself of one’s calling(s) to earn money. I find myself in check-out lines watching the cashier to decide if she feels a calling for the position she is in, and wondering if maybe I could cultivate a feeling of calling for something useful like that; something with a pay check.

Then, having flown to Florida to assist my son with an emergency surgery on a broken ankle, I found myself with said son late at night at an IHOP which seemed to be the only restaurant still serving food on a Sunday night after 9PM in Sarasota. A slightly disheveled, but very personable middle-aged gentleman handed us menus and asked us what we would like to drink. He returned with drinks and asked why my son was on crutches; making sympathetic noises when my son explained that he’d gotten hurt playing soccer. We ordered, and the man assured my son  the he would make the pancake order “all you can eat” at no extra charge, and then he would tell the cook to make a lot of them. He kind of ran back and forth from the kitchen, full of vigor and enthusiasm for his job. We could hear him in the kitchen telling the cook to make the larger amount of pancakes. He brought the food, and checked in with us to make sure it was all to our liking. Again, I was struck by his enthusiasm for his job.

Does that waiter really love his job? or is he actually an actor or poet or would-be biologist who couldn’t afford to go to college? or who went to college and couldn’t get a job in his field?

What about the car rental lady who was so efficient at her job that she had me signing for $50 worth of additional insurance even though I think I am probably covered for it on my own car insurance policy? Was she born to be a car rental lady?



First loaves of the new year


                 Something new…… 

Something borrowed,
look at the beautiful package design of the frozen baby mice

 that the Ball Python eats….

…and something blue!