January 29 '05
Volume 452

Best Friends One Has A Heart Attack

Dot Bell and my wife are best friends. I can't say the same about my friendship with Dot, else I'd raise a few eyebrows, but I do claim her as a good friend. I don't concern myself over how Dot and Barbara became best friends or the emotional glue that bonds them as sisters, I just recognize theirs is a unique relationship.

Barbara and I attended a reception at FBC, Pontotoc, on a recent Sunday afternoon. We normally arrive together, and we also leave together, but I tend to wander about (working the crowd is how Felicia puts it) speaking first to one and then to another at such gatherings, often leaving my wife to cope without me.

We had been at the reception perhaps a half-hour when Barbara found me and confided, "I may have to take Dot to the Emergency Room."

"What's wrong with Dot?" I asked.

"She's having chest pains."

"Okay, just let me know."

I had seen Dot minutes earlier, and she looked fine to me. I even talked to her before we left the reception, and she continued to insist she was fine.

"I think I've pulled a muscle in my chest or back. I just need to lie down and rest for a few minutes. I'll be all right."

Dot could have very well pulled a muscle, because our church staff had been involved in moving back into their renovated offices all week, and Dot had done a considerable amount of lifting boxes and unpacking.

Barbara and I hurried off to make our rounds to see relatives in two different nursing homes, but before calling it an afternoon, we decided to check on Dot, plus Barbara wanted me to see the Bell's new sunroom.

"Jerry must be working," I concluded, noting his truck was not in the garage.

"Hop out, and see if anybody's home Dear," I suggested as we pulled into the driveway.

Barbara rang the doorbell, and Dot answered the door and welcomed us inside.

"Wayne wants to see the sunroom," Barbara stated.

"Well, come on back," Dot responded, leading us toward the sunroom. "Don't pay any attention to this house, I've been lying down."

One can't help paying attention to Dot's house, as it always looks like there's a place for everything and everything is in its place.

Dot and Jerry recently had their deck torn down to make room for the new sunroom, and instead of a new deck they added a nice patio off the sunroom. With windows on the south and east sides, the room was well lit with natural light. The contractors had done a good job with the room, and it didn't have the feel of an add-on.

"I think our grandchildren will get more enjoyment out of this room than we will," Dot surmised.

When we returned to the kitchen, Dot offered to make a pot of coffee to go with the sausage balls in the oven.

"These are the best sausage balls," Dot proudly stated, "Floyd and Ruth [McCullough] gave them to us."

"I know what you mean," I responded. "I've had those before, and they are delicious."

As we sipped hot coffee and savored the sausage balls, Dot explained she was feeling much better after having lain down for a short while. I accepted her assessment, but Barbara was less confident than I that her best friend was okay. Perhaps, it was her woman's intuition that allowed her to feel differently. Jerry got home in time to help us finish off the batch of sausage balls and for us to visit with him.

Later Barbara would explain, "Dot's been under a lot of stress lately…all that mess at the office with everyone trying to get their work done in the Fellowship Hall…no privacy…you can hear everybody else talking…no way to keep your work organized and neat…that's not how Dot likes to work…then trying to get moved back into the renovated offices…keeping grandkids…Dot's just trying to do too much."

I bit my tongue to keep from saying, "Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black, to me."

The following Thursday morning, I was working in West Point when Barbara phoned me.

"I've just learned that Dot Bell's at the hospital in Oxford. She's scheduled for a heart catheterization about noon," Barbara shared.

"I'll probably get back to Pontotoc by one o'clock, but I've got to call a retailer when I get home, and I could be on the phone for an hour or more," I protested, "So, I don't see any way for me to go along if you decide to go."

Barbara's day was pretty much like mine, and she wasn't able to take off work either, so prayer was the only avenue of help we could offer our friend. That evening we learned that Dot was transferred to Baptist Hospital East in Memphis, TN and was to have heart bypass surgery either Friday or Saturday.

"Dot has one artery completely blocked," Barbara stated. "And, two more blockages, one 80% blocked and one 90% blocked. I was afraid of this. I didn't think her family doctor was concerned enough over Dot's pain."

"So, you're saying you know more about such symptoms than her Doctor," I probed.

"No, but several members of Dot's family have had heart problems, and that should warrant concern on the Doctor's part," Barbara explained.

"I have an appointment tomorrow morning in Memphis," I stated. "When I'm done, I'll drop by the hospital to check on her."

Barbara's Friday was an even fuller day than was her Thursday, so she could not go to Memphis with me. While Barbara was grateful to be kept informed of her best friend's well-being, by Dot's older daughter, Cindy, I think Barbara was equally grateful that I would be checking on Dot, as well. At least, Barbara would have perspectives from two different persons reporting on her friend.

There are at least three large buildings that comprise Baptist Hospital East, and not having been to the hospital before, I had to walk through all three to find Dot Bell. I walked into her room to find it filled with family members and our pastor from FBC, Pontotoc. Dot's surgery had been postponed until Saturday, because she had been given blood thinner a day or so earlier when physicians were still trying to determine what the problem was. Apart from her wearing a hospital gown, one would not have known anything was wrong with Dot. She was "made up," and was laughing and talking like everyone else.

Jerry and I stayed in the room, while other family members went to lunch and our pastor left for Pontotoc. One of Dot's brothers came by to see her while I was there, and I excused myself a few minutes later, promising Dot we would continue to remember her in our prayers, as I hugged her goodbye.

"I don't know our weekend plans," I shared with Dot, "but perhaps Barbara and I will see you tomorrow."

To be continued…

Saturday Lunch II  Another Family Get-Together

When it comes to shopping for Christmas presents, I'm pathetic. I hate all the hustle and bustle associated with congested shopping malls and traffic. I know that I could start earlier, say August, but then it wouldn't seem like Christmas, so I like to wait until the weather is cold. In recent years, I've relied heavily on my wife to do all of our shopping. But, this year, I shamefully admit that I asked my wife to buy herself something to put under the tree as a gift from me. There's no need to call me a jerk, I admit to being one.

Why, I'm as sorry as Clark Griswold's cousin, Eddie, who, in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, was so pleased with Clark's willingness to buy presents for his family that he presented Clark with a list of items and then stated, "And, if you don't mind Clark, buy yourself something real nice."

I could excuse my actions by reminding folks that I had back trouble all during the holidays, but that's a pretty poor excuse for not fulfilling what should have been my responsibility. I could say I didn't have time, but that's an even poorer excuse, as I found time to do other things I wanted to do. Truthfully, I am without an excuse.

To my credit, I did tell Barbara I would look into getting her a new cell phone for Christmas, and I believe she was disappointed that I failed to do so, though she didn't remind me of my commitment until early January. The second weekend in January we made a trip to Collierville, TN for a lunch with other family members, so I waited for the following weekend before suggesting we set aside Saturday as a time to shop for a new phone.

Barbara's grand niece, Brigitte Rankin, works for Cingular in Booneville, MS. I knew that we could trust her to explain the best deals in calling plans as well as cell phones. We phoned Brigitte, Friday evening to find out her work hours on Saturday.

Barbara and I got to Booneville around eleven Saturday morning and spent more than an hour deciding on a phone and getting everything set up. We ended up upgrading my personal cell phone as well as getting Barbara a new phone, and by consolidating to a single provider were able to reduce our total monthly rate, even with more minutes and with nationwide coverage. As things turned out, we paid a little extra to upgrade our old phones to ones that can access the Internet and are capable of making and sending digital pictures. I doubt either of us will regularly use the many features of our new phones, but they're there in case we need them. With Jason traveling to and from Fulton, MS, three days a week, our plan is to give him my old phone and get it setup with prepaid minutes so he will have a phone to use in an emergency.

As we left the Cingular booth at Walden's Big Star in Booneville, Barbara quizzed, "Do you mind if we go to Belmont to see Merilese play basketball?"

Truthfully, I did mind, as I had finished what I went to Booneville to do and was ready to head home. Plus, I despise sitting in a gymnasium watching a basketball game, even if my granddaughter is playing in one. I don't like all the noise, and I don't like seeing adults behaving badly toward referees and coaches. And, I especially don't like organized sports for children. But, hoping to lift more of my burden of guilt with regard to my wife's Christmas present, I chose to do that which I didn't want to do; I went to the game.

We arrived near the end of the first quarter of play, and while I enjoyed seeing Merilese practicing her defensive skills while learning a team sport, everything else was as I last remembered. Food and food containers littered the stands, fans were obnoxious and loud, buzzers were deafening, and referee whistles were shriller than ever. I left convinced I should have been paid for attending rather than the other way around.

And, perhaps in an unexpected way I was compensated when I heard Barbara say, "Thank you for going to the game."

Rayanne offered to go to the grocery store to buy something for lunch, but as it was almost two o'clock, I told her we could dine out. She suggested Spark's Diner, and we piled into our separate automobiles and headed to the popular eatery.

Once inside, I had no trouble making up my mind and selected a deluxe hamburger, while Barbara chose a salad. I can't remember what Rayanne, Katherine, Merilese, and Anna ordered, but they acted like their food was good.

For Barbara and me, we found ourselves dining out for our second consecutive "Saturday lunch," and spending time with family members, too.

Before driving back to Pontotoc, Barbara and I backtracked to Rayanne's house to see how she had rearranged the girls' rooms. Afterwards, Katherine and Merilese drove Katherine's electric car to visit their other grandmother, while Barbara, Rayanne, and I motored alongside them on their half-a-block journey.

It had been a beautiful Saturday, the kind that lends itself to winter yard work, but I had chosen to spend it in a different fashion. Surely, guilt played a part in my decision, but given the chance, I would probably make the same choice again.

Bodock Beau A.A.A.D.D. Could Happen To You

The way I figure it, some of us will contract the disorder described below, so it's best to know in advance what to expect.

Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

This is how it manifests itself: I decide to wash my car. As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on the hall table. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car. I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the trash can under the table, and notice that the trash can is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the trash first. But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the trash anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my checkbook off the table, and see that there is only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go to my desk where I find the can of Coke that I had been drinking.

I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over.

I see that the Coke is getting warm, and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen, with the coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need to be watered.

I set the Coke down on the counter, and I discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning. I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I will be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.

I splash some water on the flowers, but most of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day: the car isn't washed, the bills aren't paid, there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter, the flowers aren't watered, there is still only one check in my checkbook, I can't find the remote, I can't find my glasses, and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm really tired.

Don't laugh -- if this isn't you yet, your day is coming!

Submitted by Ken Gaillard

A Matter Of Degrees

The graduate with a Science degree asks, "Why does it work?"
The graduate with an Engineering degree asks, "How does it work?"
The graduate with an Accounting degree asks, "How much will it cost?"
The graduate with an Arts degree asks, "Do you want fries with that?"

Submitted by H.P. Prewett

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