On a tour of our local fire station, we were shown an antique American LaFrance fire engine. The American LaFrance company provided service vehicles from 1832 to 2014. This is a closeup of the hood ornament, still standing proudly and ready for service.
The gift-giving had been trimmed back so that we could enjoy this ski outing but my husband wanted to do something special for the family on our travel that evening.
“Let’s stop at that nice steak house on the interstate,” he said.
So we did. They were closed. It was, after all, Christmas day.
Hmmm. We hadn’t thought of that so we continued to the next town and pulled in, thinking the Chinese restaurant there might work well.
We were starting to get a clue, finally. But we had five kids in the car and the Christmas cookies were wearing off. They were restless.
“Let’s try a fast-food place.” My husband had set his heart on a special mealtime family gathering but his stomach was growling, too.
Grocery stores were closed. Walmart was closed.
We were about to take stock of the energy bars that might have been left in coat pockets when my husband spotted a 7-Eleven convenience store open.
We turned the kids loose. “Find something to eat.”
Because there’s virtually nothing healthy in a snack place like that, the kids were not bound to a balanced meal. They grabbed chips and popcorn and gallons of fountain drinks.
Their parents have felt guilty for years for not having enough foresight to avoid such a disappointment. We wanted to give them a nice steak dinner but instead offered candy bars and peanuts.
But I have been assured by our older son not to worry.
“I got a fistful of dill pickles,” he said. “Best Christmas dinner ever!”
The blanket held her in a warm embrace but Josie broke free.
She shuffled into her mother’s bedroom. “Do you need to go to the bathroom again?” At 83, her mother was wheelchair bound and unable to get out of bed on her own. Josie did the lifting and transferring. But they’d been up at 11:47 and 12:29. Surely there couldn’t be much left.
Mom rolled her head on the pillow. “No, not this time.”
Josie settled onto the edge of Mom’s bed and adjusted her blanket, pulling the sheet under her chin. Just like her mother had done when tucking her into bed as a little girl. She laid her hand against her mother’s cheek, like her mother had done a thousand times. “Are you sure?” She really didn’t want to get up in another hour.
Josie tried to clear sleep fog out of her brain. “Well, why am I up then if you don’t need anything?”
“I just thought you ought to know.”
Josie kissed her mother on the cheek, just like her mother had done to her so many times in the past, and padded to the cooling sheets. Better get to sleep before that lamp burst to life again.
Just like it would do a thousand times.
I listed the pool table for sale. That way the boxes could go away.
A young man showed up with his buddy.
I had asked $35 for the pool table because I had bought it for $25 at a yard sale. But it was a slate top pool table and connoisseurs liked that idea.
So this young man examined the slate and did a verbal fist pump. “Slate! I can sell this table anywhere for $200.”
I smiled. I just wanted it out of my basement and wouldn’t mind getting my $25 back.
“Would you take $30 for it?”
“Sure,” I said.
“Well, I need to come back with a pickup. Could you hold it for me?”
“Sure, if you pay today.”
He studied the table and his buddy. Perhaps the $200 sale loomed before him. “I wonder if we can get it home now.”
So they jumped into the project. My help was finding all the pool balls, which I carried to their vehicle, a dented and rusty old station wagon.
They sweated and struggled and leaned against the stairway walls several times. Finally they and the table emerged from the house.
With more grunting and groaning, they hoisted the pool table onto the top of car.
“We’re good now,” the new buyer assured me.
Later, I watched them pull out of our driveway in a cloud of white dust. They had tied the table onto the top of the car, running the ropes through the windows. I didn’t get to see them shimmy through the windows to drive away.
And I thought my $30 sale was a whole lot more secure than his planned $200 sale.
“The therapist said you needed to use it.”
Marshall didn’t answer. He lifted the walker onto the step and drug his foot onto the concrete. “It ain’t so easy, you know.”
Nora didn’t answer him. She waited until he had gotten into the house before she drove their car into the garage.
“So when’s that gal supposed to come again?” Marshall had dropped into the recliner as Nora came into the kitchen from the garage.
“Lisa? The physical therapist?”
“Any time now. That’s why we needed to hurry and get home.”
Marshall grunted. “She makes me work awfully hard. This is not easy, you know.”
When the doorbell rang, Marshall called to Nora. “Hey, hey, she’s here. Don’t keep her waiting.”
Lisa entered in a flurry of bags and papers, her blond hair cute and her clothes stylish. She smiled at Marshall. “You look great this afternoon. Are you ready for me to work you hard?”
“Sure.” Marshall smiled at her. “Anything you say.”
Lisa had a full slate of exercises for Marshall and they worked together for almost 45 minutes. “All right,” she said. “That’s enough for today. I’ll be back on Tuesday. You rest now. Get a good drink of water.”
“I think I’ll do that.” Marshall grinned until she closed the door behind herself. “She worked me hard today.”
“I watched her closely,” Nora said. “I think that I’ll be able to help you with those exercises when she’s finished with her time.”
“Huh,” Marshall narrowed his eyes. “I’ll just need to rest then.”
“You’ll work for her but not for me?”
Marshall leaned back in his chair. “I may be old and tired but I’m not blind.”