Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Drive Down Memory Lane

Last night I took a detour on my way home to drive down the main street of my hometown. I thought I might possibly see someone I knew. After all, the advantage of a small town was walking down the sidewalk and seeing familiar faces. It’s not that I hadn’t been back to my hometown—I was there during the Christmas Parade a couple years ago. At that time, there was activity going on, and I had a chance to visit with people I hadn’t seen in years.

At about 7 o’clock on a Friday night, it was a different situation. I turned onto the street and felt like I had entered the Twilight Zone. Abandoned buildings stood in spots that had at one time bustled with activity. I could barely make out the lettering on Cooper’s Grocery Store where every Saturday we filled up two carts with groceries for our big family. Where was the drugstore where I bought milkshakes, malts, or cherry cokes served up by the owner, Bob Hagedorn?

The only two vehicles on the entire street were parked in front of the Gallery which used to be Nolting’s Department Store. Where Kipp’s Drygoods had been, junk was piled in the display windows.

I made a U-turn at the end of the street just like everyone did when I was growing up. As I drove back down the street, I looked for more landmarks as I dredged up visions from my childhood. I saw the building that at one time housed the “pool hall” where many spirited games were played on Saturday afternoon. I looked for the theatre where we watched movies when they finally made it to our town.

Tears clouded my vision to see the hometown of my childhood deserted and lonely. Not one person was to be seen.

As I drove back past Cooper’s store a car pulled up to the stop sign and seemed to stop in surprise that another vehicle was on the street. I saw an older lady in a big old-fashioned car. What did she think of me, the woman in a red Malibu cruising the main drag? She probably thought I was some crazy tourist who had made a wrong turn and was lost.

Maybe I was a little lost. I know my hometown is gone and now lives only in memories and faded photographs.

copyright (c) June 2010 L.S. Fisher

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Alzheimer's Reading Room: What is it like being an Alzheimer's caregiver? Unconditional Love

I submitted an article to Alzheimer's Reading Room about my caregiving experience. The Reading Room is an excellent source of information about Alzheimer's and includes everything from research information to personal stories like mine. Kudos to Bob DeMarco for maintaining and constantly updating this excellent site!

Alzheimer's Reading Room: What is it like being an Alzheimer's caregiver? Unconditional Love

Monday, June 21, 2010

Another Year Older

Have you noticed how those birthdays just keep rolling around? I’m pretty sure I’m just imagining it, but it seems like the years are getting shorter.

I’m still shocked when I look at the calendar and notice that June is half over. Before you know it, the shopping days until Christmas countdown will begin. I’m not even sure I have all my Christmas decorations put away from last year. In fact, I know my Christmas lights—or should I just call them party lights?—are still wrapped around my deck railing. At least they are clear, so I can claim they have been left in place intentionally.

Anyway, I know it is officially my birthday because my sister-in-law delivered my birthday watermelon. She and my late brother-in-law, Dennis, gave me my first birthday watermelon when we visited them in Glendale, Arizona. Dennis carved “Happy Birthday Linda” on it. I believe he even had a candle stuck in it. Ginger has carried on the tradition without fail.

Okay, so birthdays aren’t all bad even when you’ve had so many you’re in danger of losing count. Someone asked me if I was 29 and I said, “Don’t be ridiculous—I’m 39.” Oh, wait a minute, that’s the exact age of my oldest son.

The bad thing about fudging on your age is people think you aren't aging well. Is it better to just fess up and let them tell you, you look so much younger? Last year, my son took me out to dinner and told them I was 65. This year he asked if I was 70?

On my birthday, I ate at Perkins. I ordered my delicious tilapia off the senior menu without being carded. They consider anyone over 55 to be a senior. I think we boomers need to come up with a better title than senior, which makes me think of someone who is ready to graduate. Does this mean whoever coined the term thinks we are about to kick the bucket, or "graduate" from life?

Maybe there are a few perks about getting older. My watermelon is in the fridge chilled to perfection. Discounts are sweet no matter what you call them. So look out senior discounts, here I come.

Copyright (c) June 2010 L.S. Fisher

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Teen Sailor Girl Should Be in School - Not Lost at Sea

It sometimes amazes me to see which stories make national news. Sixteen-year-old Abigail Sunderland wasn’t even on my radar until I heard she was “feared lost at sea.”

As the story unfolds, I couldn’t believe any parents in their right minds would let a sixteen year old attempt to sail around the world. Did they think she was Christopher Columbus junior? Was she in search of new lands? Nope. She was trying to recapture the world record her brother Zak held for a short while.

When someone dared questioned her father’s reasoning for letting Abigail take off in a sailboat, he made an asinine remark about parents let their children drive cars although some of them are killed. Is it no different letting your teenager drive a car across town than it is allowing your daughter to take off in a sailboat around the world? At least if the car breaks down, you don’t have to call in helicopters, planes, and boats to rescue your child.

I vaguely remember a sixteen-year-old boy sailing around the world, but couldn’t tell you if it was Zak or the Briton that promptly took the title away from him. What I do know is none of the people raising these children deserve to be called parents.

Growing up in the sixties, if we wanted to do something wild and reckless, it was a given that we would be doing so without parental permission. One of my dad’s favorite sayings was, “It’s not that I don’t want you to have fun—I don’t want you to get hurt.” Then there was always the other one—“Because I said ‘no’.”

Abigail left on her voyage in January. Why isn’t a sixteen year old in school? She should be thinking about applying to colleges, not risking her neck for a world record. Had she completed the trip, the record would no doubt be broken by some other teen who thinks he/she is invincible.

Now, my sincere hope is that the Sunderlands have to pay for this rescue, which I’m guessing cost more than my salary for the next hundred years. As for Abigail, she should be grounded until she’s twenty-one.

Copyright (c) June 2010 L.S. Fisher

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Oh, My Aching Back

Sometimes I think aches and pains come with the territory once birthdays start swooshing by with the speed of light. I’m pretty adept at taking my normal bodily owies in stride, but when new ones crop up, I get a bit testy.

It seems my back is always tense and a little sore. A good massage makes me feel all better and relaxs those tight muscles in my shoulders and neck. About a week ago, I was trying to get comfortable to read a novel and I just couldn’t seem to get myself propped up on the pillows to get as comfy as I wanted. It was a little annoying that my back didn’t feel the best, but nothing that made me lose any sleep.

As the week progressed, I noticed the pain was getting a little worse and was in the middle of my back. I guess everything goes south with age—including my back pain.

By Friday, if I moved wrong it took my breath away and the pain was harder to ignore. Well, since I only worked two days last week, I didn’t want to take time off to sit in a doctor’s office. I’d never had anything like this before, so I was in hopes that if I ignored the pain, it might just go away.

Of course, anything gets worse on the weekend when the only option is tough it out or go to the emergency room. Saturday, I moaned and groaned, used the heat pad, and popped a few extra-strength ibuprofen.

The good news is, today the pain is pretty much gone. At least, no stabbing pains. To be on the safe side, I’m planning on a little more heat pad therapy and ibuprofen, and practice my ignoring techniques.

Copyright (c) June 2010 L. S. Fisher