November 24, 2014

OPINION: Tales from my bedside

Rhonda Humble

Publisher

It’s an age-old question:

If a 200-year-old Oak tree growing 4-feet from your house falls, rips out your patio and lands on your new riding lawn mower, will you hear it?
Not necessarily, but the repercussions can be long-reaching.

My favorite Oak fell during the July windstorm.

Oaks are my favorite. The branches reach up to the heavens and roots draw stength from God. That’s not original, I read it somewhere, and it stuck with me.

But I swear in the Spring, I can touch an Oak and feel it “singing.” More likely, it’s sap rising, but either way, it makes me happy and gives me strength.
The tree fell but neither Mark, my husband,  nor I heard it, although we were both sitting within 10 feet. Just a crack, a swoosh and the feeling that something had changed.

When that behemoth went down, its descent was if an expert logger fell it – missing the house completely, but lifting the concrete patio and landing on our new lawnmower and shorting out our well pump’s electric line.

They say things come in threes, and the Oak apparently was the first in a series of events in our household.
Number two was my admission into the hospital.

I’d been struggling with what I thought were summer allergies for a few days, coughing, feeling weak, but it was actually pneumonia. I was on my way to the bank and work, but knew I was too weak and came home. My memories are confusing after that. I know my son came to the house and found me; I know I went to the walk-in clinic, was admitted to Olathe Medical Center, and put in intensive care and on dialysis and some kind of respirator when my body shut down. The doctor says I almost died.

I have mixed memories of being tied down, tubes in and out of me, and dreaming I was held hostage in an abandoned building. There were also some kind of furry, sci-fi creatures chasing me. I know I was praying in my dreams for an angel.

Wish I could say I saw dead relatives, or a golden light, but I didn’t, but I do know my prayers were answered.

Other than family, when I awoke, one of the first people I saw standing beyond the glass doors was Mother (Kathryn) Miller (Armstrong) and her husband For those who don’t know “Nanny,” she’s like an Oak. She had one of the first Olathe daycares and raised half of the county. She currently has a church in Gardner. I tell my staff the woman has a direct hotline to God and not to ever cross her.

Sure enough, no nurse in clogs was going to stop her from coming in and praying with the family. She’s not a woman you say “no” to.

So, as someone famous once said, the rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated. Or, as my mother used to say; it’s best to know the difference in a fryer and and a stewing hen before you fix dinner – I’m a tough old bird.

Unfortunately, our number three was the loss of our “yard guard” cat Margaret. Last winter was rough on the old girl. She was blinded in a scrape with a half-feral cat, and her beautiful calico coat had gotten as thin as her aging, frail body.

We don’t know how old Margaret was. She appeared one day many years ago, as most of our strays do. She faithfully guarded the yard against marauding dogs – sending them off with a hiss and a swipe of her mighty paw.
It was a triple-whammy to lose Margaret, although I believe she was ready to go.

She’s buried beneath one of our surviving Oaks.

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