May 12, 09
I was able to make a brief run down to the Lower Peninsula of Michigan to see my Mom for Mother's Day. She can no longer bear weight on her legs and is wheelchair bound, but is able to transfer to a car. So we spent time going out and about to restaurants, nurseries for flowers to decorate my Dad's grave site, and just touring the area. We ended up doing a lot of transferring.
To get into and out of the car, and for transfers to and from bed, because she cannot be lifted, Mom uses a transfer board. This is simply a hefty piece of hardwood about two feet long and six inches wide that is slightly tapered at the ends. It is delicately slid under the bum of the transferee and serves as a bridge along which the transferee slides along to the destination site.
One would not think that this simple device could be the source of much controversy, but I found myself smack in the middle of a major dispute. At first I just slid the transfer board under Mom not paying much attention to which end of the board went where. I must have done it "right" a few times before I took notice of the handy grab hole conveniently cut into one end. Then I started putting that end under Mom first so that after she slid across it, I could wrap my fingers through the hole and pull it out easily. Mom, however, thought differently. For some reason, she was deathly afraid of either becoming hopelessly snagged in that hole, or maybe even falling straight through it. She has never been a gambler and didn't realize that the odds against either one of those things ever happening were zilch. So I appeased her for a while, but then thought, this is stupid. I'm doing it my way. Grumble. Sniff. I can deal with it.
That night, I was staying at my brother's place and happend to mention the day's issue of contention as we were sitting around the kitchen table. My brother's wife, who normally takes on the responsibility of driving my Mom hither and thither, just laughed. She has had the same debate and has dealt with it in an identical manner.
My brother, who is a wood carver in his "spare" time has a shop full of very sharp tools and suggested that he could just cut another hole in the other end of the board. That would not only put an end to the controversy, but also give my Mom twice as much to worry about. Sounded like a good plan to me. "Yeah, I'll have to do it when I get around to thinking about it," he said. For some reason, his wife just rolled her eyes.
In the meantime, I was glancing out the kitchen window into their beautiful back yard with its deer wandering through and bird feeders hanging from tree branches. Then I noticed some mighty fat squirrels sitting in the trees contemplating whether they really wanted to attempt the acrobatics required to get to some of the seed. "That's odd," I thought. "I've never known squirrels to be hesitant before." They also seemed to be casting a wary eye toward the house.
Just then, I looked down at the floor by the bottom of the patio door and noticed in its well worn original box a genuine Wrist Rocket sling shot. "Wow, Gary. That's neat. I've always wanted one of those."
"Oh, that's not mine. It's hers."
Apparently Karen loads up the ammo pouch on the sling with an ice cube from her ice maker every time she spots a squirrel raiding the bird feeders.
"Yeah. Fortunately I'm a lousy shot and have never hit one, but when the cube goes whizzing past them, and especially if it shatters against a tree trunk, it really sends them scampering. Plus, we don't have to worry about the lawn mower picking up stones and hurling them against the house."
Well, that's interesting.
Next, the conversation turned to wood carving. I told my brother that the one thing that I'd like him to show me is how he sharpens his carving tools. So we disappeared down into his shop for a while, and I came back up with a leather stropping board that he had made and gave me as a gift.
We then sat back down around the kitchen table again, and I commented on what a nice setup he had down there.
"I like it. The next thing I need, though is a surface planer and a dust collection system."
That got a rise out of his wife. "Mister, you need to learn the difference between wants and needs. You don't need a surface planer, and I thought that all of your tools were dust collectors."
Now that's just cold. I swung around, casually picked up the sling shot and asked Gary if he needed some ice.
(P.S.: That wonderful photo of the squirrel was pulled off the internet some time ago. I tried finding it again so that I could give proper credit, but couldn't. My apologies to the original photographer. Let me know if you know the source so that I can give credit where credit is due.)
A Spring Walk
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