Generational Differences? By Elaine Marze
Common Foods that Help Prevent Wrinkles By Amy Austen
www.savvyandsage.com (Click on “Your Area”)
Get it Growing!
Gardening Tips for March/April
from the publisher This is, by far, my favorite time of the year! The weather is beautiful, mosquitoes are few and baseball season is here! The only thing that puts a mild damper on my spirits is the fact that summer is right around the corner (hot weather) but hey; enjoy the moment you’re in, and enjoy it while it last! For those of you who never quite got a good start with your work out plans that you had around the Holidays, get motivated! Remember when you told everybody, you were going to start working out after the first of the year? Well, time’s up! No more excuses! You’ve had a couple of months to get ready, and if you don’t start NOW, your excuse might be, “its toooo hot and muggy, I really should wait until it cools off a little.” It’s a very brutal cycle and extremely hard to break, but once you do, you will always be thankful you did! I really hope you enjoy this issue of Savvy & Sage. Please continue to send us your comments and suggestions. Also, if there is anything that you feel is missing from our publication or website, please tell! We do our very best, to bring you things that we feel you will enjoy reading about. Your input is always greatly appreciated! I would like to wish all of you happy Easter in advance and please continue reading us online. God bless you and have a wonderful Spring.
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Generational Differences?.....6 2010 Is Here!................................12 Chubby Checker Announces New “Twist” In Medicare Law...............................13 Get It Growing!............................14
Houma/Thibodaux, Louisiana David Ditch email@example.com
Common Foods That Help Prevent Wrinkles............16
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Eat with Color.............................18
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Savvy & Sage has made every effort to maintain the accuracy of information presented in this magazine, but assume no responsibility for errors, changes or omissions.The opinions of the personalities featured in Savvy & Sage do not necessarily express those held by Savvy & Sage or EBR Publishing LLC. Savvy & Sage Magazine is published bi-monthly by EBR Publishing LLC at 679 Ashley Ridge Road, Shreveport, LA 71115. Phone 318.348.1902. Email elizabeth@savvyandsage.
The More Harrowing Aspects of Travel.....................22
Eat with Color
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A Volunteer Story....................28
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Have you ever decided you were going to start eating healthier, but not sure where to begin? To make it simple,
all you have to remember is eat with color! Green, red, orange, and yellow – the color in fruits and vegetables represents important vitamins and minerals your body needs to be your healthiest. A great way to add color to your meal is a fresh, colorful salsa such it: as the delicious Shrimp Tacos with Te rrific Ti db Tropical Salsa. From the red peppers las, wra p packed withWriters Vitamin C to the citrus in the salsa,Contributing this one dish To h eat tortil Art as Feature Writers ti c in pl Director y el os meal is full of flavor. Take a trip to the Mediterranean made in in Holly Clegg Amy Austen th em lo d h eaCasy Leatherman em th t the comfort of your home with the Greek Chicken Salad Bowl, wra p an igh h Elaine Marze Blake Rainey on e av w a colorful main-dish salad, made with deep green spinach. a m icro in ute . If Amy Stewart Remember, the deeper the color of lettuce, the more nutrition. for about 1 m photo ©David Humphreys
Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas Don Brown firstname.lastname@example.org
Mandeville/Covington, Louisiana Hollis Day, Jr. email@example.com
Tyler/Longview, Texas Chris Menard firstname.lastname@example.org
And for a sweet breakfast treat or snack, I love to make this antioxidant-rich Blueberry Bread. The hint of orange complements this luscious bread perfectly. Don’t let adding nutrition
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Generational Differences? By Elaine Marze
robably we all have heard the hard-luck tales of previous generations and some version of, “We walked five miles to school in two feet of snow carrying our biscuit and bacon in a syrup bucket”. And, probably most people would agree that each succeeding generation has had more materialistic wealth for doing less. Perhaps every generation is perceived as being softer, less moral and more dependent than the last one, but whether that perception is based on evidence or personal prejudice seems to depend on whose point of view is doing the critiquing. Many of us baby boomers grew up hearing about our ancestor’s back-breaking labor hoeing and picking in the pea patch or cotton fields. I was privileged to actually experience life on my grandparent’s farm when they and my aunts and uncles got up before daylight to tend to the chores and livestock before going out to work in the fields. We kids “toted” buckets or Mason jars of water to the workers. Thirty and forty-year-olds may view many of 6
the stories about how their grandparents lived as virtual fairy tales, but people 50 years and older reminisce about the toughness of our grandparents. My maternal grandmother had seven babies at home with a granny midwife and only went to the hospital when her last two were born. The kids took turns going with Grandpa to buy cow feed, sugar and flour so they could pick out which pattern and color feed sacks they wanted – for future clothing. Babies were tied into chairs with soft bindings to keep them safe while moms got their work done because modern baby-care equipment was not available or affordable. A common saying was, “We make do.” More than a few Savvy readers can recall hauling water from a well for washday in a wringer washing machine or bathing in a washtub set out on the back porch. I remember when Sunday dinner came not from the Colonel’s bucket, but from my mother or grandmother wringing a hen’s neck, plucking and cooking it. Picking and shelling peas
is more trouble than most young cooks are prepared to resort to in these modern times. Young people cannot comprehend a time when phones were connected to the wall and you had to go to it for conversation – instead of taking the phone with you. They certainly cannot envision a phone system where friends and strangers shared an open line, and good phone manners meant giving your neighbors their turn (and privacy) on the communal party-line. Try describing television with only two channels where you frequently had to run outside to turn the antenna in addition to getting up and walking over to the TV to turn it on, off and change channels. It was disconcerting to find out recently that typewriters are now museum displays gawped at by school kids. One major generational difference sited by many of the boomers-plus population is how the cultural definition of “poverty” has changed. Fifty years ago a lot of kids grew up wearing feed sack clothes, using an outdoor toilet and eating what they planted, picked and killed, yet they did not consider themselves “poor”. Dining in restaurants was rare, and gaining material wealth meant working for it. “Poverty” back then meant families who had no food, wore ragged clothes, and lived in homes with no indoor plumbing or electricity. Neighbors and churches ministered to them to “get them by.” Typically when a family lived in poverty it was caused by the death or disabling of the husband and father of the family. Today the definition of “poverty” in America is vastly different from what the term meant then. There are still kids who go hungry
and wear dirty clothes, but the condition is usually caused from parental drug or alcohol abuse and addiction. Because of over-lapping government programs people considered “poverty” level now may draw multiple checks, receive “free” (as in no cost to them) medical care, food (including hot meals at school), school supplies, child care, transportation and housing. Yet, these same “poor” people may carry cell-phones, own computers, televisions, electronic gadgets, and dress in the latest
styles. Older people cite a modern attitude of, “Get all you can from the government because it is free,” that has replaced the work ethic they were taught. Another distinction mentioned by seniors is how they were taught to save up money to buy “things” versus the present philosophy of, “Buy now on credit. Worry about paying later.” The standard rule used to be that young married couples worked and saved for years to afford a house, furniture and cars, but Generation “X”,
arrived in our com“Y”, and what is referred to as munity (not our house) the “Me Generation” have the reputation for not being willing to around 1953,” remembers Kelly. “The school wait for material possessions, but board member for our instead, they go into debt to get ward, Mr. John Mcit all now! Both parents working Collister, got a 14 inch t o h a v e “the good life” may mean that too much parental time is television, and car and truck loads of teenagers spent earning more m o n e y s o would flock (uninvited) they can keep all they have accuto their house to watch mulated; too often a lifestyle the TV. It was amazing.” that ends in bankruptcy and “School is debt. another exShreveport“How dear to the heart are er, Marshall ample of the the scenes of my childhood, generation gap Kelly, is 74 when fond recollection presents because we years old, and them to view.” were taught says as a child ~ Samuel Woodworth that we had a growing up responsibility to learn and to have in the backwoods airplanes respect for teachers. If we got were such a novelty that one a spanking at school we got flying over would bring all the another one when we got home,” kids out to watch it. “Television
Marshall & Betty Kelly
says Kelly. “I rode a school bus home from school, had a snack of canned greens or leftovers, then worked in the fields, cut wood, fed the horses and milked the cow before supper. And, people did not talk about being “pregnant” around kids. Adults might mention a woman was ‘PG’. Recently I was in a group where that term (PG)
was used and it nearly brought down the house with laughter!” Diane Reeder believes the current emphasis on sex in the media is why courts are filled with cases of rape and incest, and the sexual content of television commercials are such that she is concerned about her grandchildren watching them. “In the 50s and 60s, we never had that,” she says. Mary Bourke says that when her parents and grandparents were young, children worked hard and were expected to carry their weight at home. “They grew up during the depression and lived through the sacrifices during WWII. Those were hard times of doing without,” says Bourke. “I was born in 1949, and many of my generation did not have to work hard as children because our parents wanted us to have it easier than they did, but my parents instilled in me the importance of working. From my observations many of these last generations have lost that work ethic, and it has been replaced with almost a sense of entitlement.” “Regarding families, there is probably more emotional involvement from fathers in their children’s lives now than back when the fathers worked
and the mothers stayed home and raised the kids,” believes Bourke. “There is also more open communication between parents and kids especially in discussing “taboo” subjects, but on the other side, more mothers work outside the home, and there are more broken homes now.” Margie Sullivan thinks people in their fifties are more apt to explore, create and want to try
An Arkansas mother and grandmother, Kimberly Thurston, believes people of every generation want the same thing: a piece of land and a home where they can raise their children to the best of their abilities. “Times are different, and there are more pressures from the outside world -- drugs, pornography and credit card debt -- but when it all comes down to the end, we just want to share a meal, discuss the day and be together.” Missouri resident, Debbie McCorkle, lost a first cousin in Vietnam, and she compares the mili~ Ruth Senter tary sacrifices curnew things than earlier generations rently being made to those of other who do not like change. “We wars. “People are still willing to can’t function without air condido their duty; sometimes never tioning, microwaves, computers, knowing what the fight is about – etc., and we design our homes just duty to country.” As she gets and lives like we are in Southern older, she is more thankful for the Living or Hollywood,” she says. love and heritage of her parents “However, some of us left home and grandparents. to make our fortunes and now Sharon Calhoun describes have come back to our hometown growing up in the 70’s as the“good (Hornbeck) to enjoy the simple old days.” “I saw and heard it all, things of life like whispering pines but my mother instilled in me an around the front porch. Once awareness of right and wrong, we have experienced respect for my elders and the sickness, death and belief that Jesus is Lord so I have physical challenges, we become more appreciative and our perspectives change. We know that time is short, and we don’t always get to accomplish our dreams.”
“Life varies its stories. Time changes everything, yet what is truly valuable – what is worth keeping – is beyond time.”
always had a solid foundation to build on. The generations after me seem to make up their own rules and laws as they go. I would have been heartbroken if I’d had a child and it turned out like some of the children I see today.” Ashley Coburn describes herself as one of the “Y” generation who loved hearing her grandparents talk about things like walking miles in
the snow, and she regrets that men her age are not more like men of the boomer generation “who do not expect a handout from the government or their parents.” As a single woman she says men her age even expect women to pay for dinner on a date. “Whatever happened to men who were taught to open the door for ladies? Y’ers seek instant gratification because their parents
gave them everything, and people are such products of their environment. I was lucky that I had a decent role model (single mother) who raised me to have a strong work ethic, morals and beliefs that a lot of the “Y” and “Me” generations doesn’t exhibit. Hopefully young people will seek God and our society leaders of the future will not be as superficial and selfcentered.” Another widely-held perception among those of a certain age is that generational cultural gaps widened vastly in the 1960’s consolidation era after small neighborhood schools, where grandmothers worked in the lunchroom and teachers and students attended church together, were closed down and students were bused to larger city schools where neither they nor their families had personal connections or supervision. Many extended families lived together because few had retirement or insurance. These multi-generational families exposed children to traditional values, verbal history and a more comprehensive heritage. Before President Johnson’s “Great Society”, family members took care of their own, but as nursing homes expanded along with government programs, more people took advantage of such facilities. Cynthia Self Powell’s mother was 43 years old when she was born, the youngest of five children. Her grandparents l i v e d w i t h h e r family before they died, and the Selfs also took in Cynthia’s paternal aunt and uncle. Eventually her maternal aunt also made her home with them. For years Powell’s dad walked eight miles through the woods to work every
Mary & Rodney Bourke
Sharon Calhoun Debbie McCorkle
morning and eight miles back each evening. After work he built on to their home using a hammer, nails and a handsaw, splitting the shingles by hand. Her parents were self-educated and taught her to read by age four. Powell was in the sixth grade when they got a TV. She remembers at night listening to the sounds of her neighbors singing and playing instruments carried for miles through the woods. The Self family wa also musical. “My mother played piano, guitar, fiddle and harmonica,” says Powell. “All the family played an instrument and sang.” This subject has no end, though it has been pointed out that when the boomer generation dies so will the memories of a time when the lines between family, church, school and community blended together. It was a time when teachers prayed with students at the day’s beginning and the Ten Commandments were posted in classrooms. It was a time when sexual immorality was deplored, not celebrated; a time when the sweat of physical labor was shared, anticipated and necessary for family survival. It was a time when toddlers spent all day at their mother’s side, not eight hours a day under the questionable influence of hired care-givers. It was a time when godliness, independence, self-sufficiency and patriotism were encouraged; a time when the accumulation of material things was an eventual goal, not life’s focus. But with each generation changes come and the future holds mysteries and lessons for us all. It has been said that learning from our past is a wise course to follow . . .
Announces New “Twist” In Medicare Law
f you’ve been thinking about applying for extra help with your Medicare prescription drug costs, then now’s the time to get on the dance floor and hop to it.
There are income and resource limits a person needs to meet to qualify for the extra help. But the new Medicare law eases those requirements in tow way:
Chubby Checker, the Grammy Award winning rock and roll legend most known for his hit, “The Twist”, has teamed up with Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, to tell people about a new “twist” in the law. The change in the law makes it easier for people with Medicare to qualify for extra help with their prescription drug costs.
• The cash value of life insurance no longer counts as resource; and
“The changes in the Medicare law will allow hundreds of thousands of Americans who are struggling to pay their prescription drug costs to get extra help during these tough economic times,” said Commissioner Astrue. “I am thrilled that Chubby Checker has volunteered to help us spread this important message through a new television, radio, and Internet spot as well as pamphlets and posters.”
A bonus “twist” is that the application you file for extra help can now start the application process for Medicare Savings Programs as well—state programs that provide help with other Medicare costs. These programs help pay Medicare Part B (medical insuance) premiums. For some people, the Medicare Savings Programs also pay Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) premiums, if any, and Part A and B deductibles and co-payments.
“Listen up, America! For 50 years, people of all ages and backgrounds have danced the Twist,” Chubby Checker said. “Now it’s important everyone learn about this new twist in the law. Check it out at: www.socialsecurity.gov.”
• Assistance people receive from others to pay for household expenses, such as food, rent, mortgage, or utilities, no longer counts as income.
To learn more about the extra help program and to view the new television spot featuring Chubby Checker, visit Social Security online at www.socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp.
Get it Growing! Gardening Tips for March/April: - Courtesy of the LSU Ag Center Research & Extension
March • Begin planting warm-season vegetables such as tomatoes and bell peppers (use transplants for these two), Cucumbers, corn, snap beans and squash over the first couple of weeks in March in south Louisiana and in late march or early April in north Louisiana. Even though chilly weather might mean covering a few things, it is unlikely we will see harsh cold. The great advantage of early planting is increased production during the milder early summer periodsand often fewer pest problems. • Fertilize roses now and begin spraying for disease and insect problems if you have not already 14
done so. For convenience, use a product that combines an insecticide and a fungicide. • As the weather warms, lawn grasses will begin to grow, and you will need to start mowing more frequently. Now is a good time to sharpen your mower blades. • Warmer temperatures and active growth make watering increasingly important if regular rainfall doesn’t occur. New plantings need the most attention. They are vulnerable until the plants have a chance to grow a strong root system. Thoroughly water new plantings once or twice a week as needed, especially those in full sun. • Check your oak trees regularly www.savvyandsage.com
(use binoculars) for masses of young, black buck moth caterpillars and consider having them sprayed if you see large numbers. • It should be sage to plant tender bedding plants such as marigold, zinnia, blue daze, pentas, celosia, salvia, portulaca, purslane, melampodium and others in south Louisiana now. North Louisiana gardeners generally should wait until April to plant. • Delay planting eggplants in the garden until early to mid-April. Eggplants are stunted or damaged by temperatures below 55 degrees, and we usually still have cool night through March. Other vegetables you should wait to plant include okra, sweet potatoes and Southern peas.
April • Excellent hot-weather vegetables that can be planted now include cucuzzi, cushaw, eggplants, peanuts, pumpkin, Southern peas, hot peppers, lima beans, luffa gourd, okra and yard-long beans. Continue to plant transplants of tomatoes and peppers and seeds of snap beans, squash and cucumbers. • It’s time to move container plants you overwintered indoors outsideif you intend to do so. Remember these plants have grown accutomed to low light and must be gradually introduced to brighter light conditions. Start them all off in shade and gradually introduce sun-loving plants to more sun to
avoid scorching. • Plant caladium tubers or plants this month. Caladiums are excellent for shady areas and combine beautifully with ferns, begonias, liriope, impatiens, hosta and coleus. • Control powdery mildew on ornamentals such as euonymus, roses, hydrangeas, crape myrtles, gerbera daisies and many other plants with any fungicide labeled to control powdery mildew on ornamentals. This disease appears as a fine, white powder on the foliage or flower buds. • Save some seed from you coolseason annuals to plant again this fall. Collect seeds this time of year from sweet peas, violas, cleome, nicotiana, poppies, calendulas and cosmos. Make sure the seed pods www.savvyandsage.com
are mature before harvesting. • Tomatoes are staked to keep the plants from sprawling on the ground where the fruit would be more likely to rot. Wait for the first cluster of flowers to appear and place the stake on the opposite side of the plant’s stem. All of the flower clusters will grow from the same side of the stem, and this will keep developing fruit from getting caught between the stake and the stem. • Constant watering rapidly leaches nutrients from the soils of container-grown plants. To replace them, use either soluble fertilizers or slow-release fertilizers. Soluble fertilizers must be applied ever two weeks. Slow-release fertilizers provide nutrients over several months. 15
That Help Prevent Wrinkles by: Amy Austen
ou are what you eat, right? This is probably one of the oldest phrases in the English language, but it still remains true. What you eat will not only end up on your hips, but it will make an appearance on your face as well! It turns out there are quite a few foods that help prevent wrinkles, and they are not as distasteful or boring as you may think.
It is true that most of the foods that are really good for the human body are anything but appetizing. Yet, when it comes to foods that prevent wrinkles and keep the skin youthful and radiant, the common foods on this list are quite delicious. Even better, they are easily found in your local supermarket and you probably already eat some of them from time to time.
You have probably heard a lot about the benefits of getting antioxidants into the body for weight loss and overall health benefits, but this is one of the best things you can do for your skin as well. Most of the foods that help prevent wrinkles happen to be very rich in antioxidants of some sort, which will help nourish and replenish the skin so it fights off the signs of aging such as wrinkles, lines, sagging, and sun spots.
Some of the most common foods that prevent wrinkles by pumping your body full of antioxidants include: • Leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale
• Dark orange colored vegetables such as carrots, orange peppers, and squash
• Dark, rich colored berries such as blueberries, raspberries, and dark purple grapes
• Tomatoes These foods that help prevent wrinkles get their power from their rich colors and tend to be more powerful when eaten raw. The only exception is tomatoes, which tend to have more antioxidants after cooking. It doesn’t seem like fat would be anywhere near a list of healthy foods that help prevent wrinkles, but every organ in the body relies upon fat sources to function properly. That includes the skin! The trick is to eat healthy fats which do not clog your arteries and leave a greasy fill over your pores.
Some of the healthy foods that prevent wrinkles by providing essential fats include: • Salmon • Almonds • Olive Oil Salmon in particular is one of the most beneficial foods that help prevent wrinkles because it also combats a variety of other problems within the body. The best tip you can ever receive for keeping your skin tight, youthful and blemish free is to take care of your body as a whole. Get in shape, eat for nourishment not satisfaction, and you will not only have clear skin, but you will feel your best as well. Visit http://www.soft-clear-skin.com and discover effective foods that help prevent wrinkles that diminishes fine lines, dry skin, and other signs of aging. www.savvyandsage.com
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The More Harrowing Aspects of Travel By Elaine Marze
People who take trips together sometimes find that they are incompatible traveling companions, and what should be an enjoyable time ends up being an endurance contest as to who gets to stop when and where they choose versus somebody who strictly focuses on getting from point A to point B in the shortest length of time. Before setting out on a journey of any length it is wise to be very familiar with each other because even with long-married couples complications may arise that can suck the joy right out of a trip which brings to mind a recent road trip when my husband, JR, and I, were trying to get home from Houston in time for Christmas. In any marriage that has lasted for several decades, I believe spouses have learned to accept attitudes and habits that may be irritating, but for the sake of marital peace they learn to live with what they cannot change. One peculiarity I’ve had to accept is that the term “chauvinist” was probably spawned because of men like my husband (bless his heart) who believe women should never get behind the wheel – unless she is backing 22
her husband’s bass boat into the lake! I point that out to explain why I do not drive with him in the car – unless he is incapacitated in some way. This was the situation when we left M.D. Anderson Cancer Institute
in Houston, Texas after my husband had a bi-lateral neck dissection which means that the surgeon literally cut him from ear to ear. Two days before Christmas, his physician unexpectedly said we could go home so JR left the hospital
with big staples in his throat (ear to ear) and drainage tubes sewed into his skull behind each ear that had big rubber loops shooting out three inches and drain tubing hanging down to attached jugs about boobie-high on his chest. He could not turn his head, or talk other than a whispering rasp and his facial skin was so tight from swelling that he couldn’t smile or open his mouth more than a slit. Thus I was the designated driver -- out of downtown Houston in noon hour traffic on a Friday! It should be pointed out that we live in the Ozarks where a “traffic jam” only occurs when some old farmer decides to drive his tractor down the middle of the road or a school bus stops in front of you. Having a husband who feels like mine does about women drivers, well, I have NO experience driving in big city traffic. However, circumstances being what they were, I got behind the wheel trying to reassure my worried husband that I could get us home. Admittedly, the trip didn’t start out smoothly because I had a little trouble getting out of the confusing multi-level parking garage that had Exit arrows pointing in all directions and people backing out in front of us as I was circling down the spiral exit route. Abrupt stops were rough on my husband’s recently-cut throat as evidenced by the moans and groans coming from the passenger seat, and why they put all those speed bumps in a hospital parking garage knowing
that some people are going to have tender parts, I really do not understand. Once on the interstate I preferred to drive in the far right lane so that if big trucks got too close, I could pull over and let them go by, but because of the inconvenient way they put exit lanes, my husband kept motioning and mumbling for me to get in the center lane of the five and six lanes of speeding traffic. The middle lane was where about a million vehicles were driving 80 mph trying to drive over, under and around us. Did I mention it was noon hour on a Friday in Houston? It is important to understand that JR is a big, tough retired firefighter / Emergency Medical Tech who was undaunted at driving or riding in a speeding fire truck, running into a burning building or scaling down skyscraper buildings. Before that, he served in Vietnam in the action-packed Brown Water Navy (jungle river duty), and even cancer has not given him the jitters. I mean, normally he has pretty good nerves, but … Prior to leaving the parking garage, my husband could barely whisper, but fifteen minutes after we left the hospital he was screeching (in a husbandly-concerned way) about everything from, “Speed up! You can’t drive 30 mph! We’re going to get ran over!” to “Stop closing your eyes every time an 18-wheeler gets by us!” Of course it did not help that Mr. Hypercritical was adding to the stress with all his exaggerated hand motions and choking
sounds either. It would have helped al maniacs trying to run over us. And, his constant hysterical cries if he had expressed a little confiof, “We’re going to die!” did not dence that we would make it out of Houston alive. Being the sweet help either. Then about the time I and loving wife up confiI couldn’t help closing worked that I am, I was dence enough to my eyes, waiting for get my speed up very sympathetic to his obvious crashes that somehow to 45 mph the cell self-inflicted pain phone rings, and never happened. when he kept trymy helpful hubby ing to turn his neck to tell me how answers it and puts it on speaker for me. Like I could handle a phone to drive though I did have trouble expressing my sympathy for him conversation at that time! What was he thinking? at that particular time due to all It was my women’s Bible study the potential vehicular homicid-
class calling (bless them) to wish us well and then they immediately launched into singing what seemed like six verses of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. Normally I would have appreciated their musical endeavor more enthusiastically, but all the honking horns were clashing with the Christmas music. Actually, several miracles occurred during that exciting drive out of Houston. In addition to my husband’s ability to make sounds hitherto considered impossible for someone in his post-surgical condition, angels truly must have had their hands on our steering wheel, especially during those times when I looked in my mirrors and saw tragedy coming in the form of monstrous trucks bearing down on us at high rates of speed and no escape routes visible in the bumper to bumper traffic. I couldn’t help closing my eyes, waiting for crashes that somehow never happened. Not that I could have heard the crash what with all the highpitched screams coming from the passenger seat! It shouldn’t be any surprise that by dark we were both exhausted from all the excitement so we stopped at what looked to be a nice three-story hotel. It was raining hard, and since I have long suffered from night blindness, we decided to spend a quiet, calm night in a comfortable bed and get a fresh start the next day. I could tell JR needed to take his pain meds, lie down and relax. We were certainly the center of attention walking through the lobby, with him looking kind of like Frankenstein in the old black and white movies of our youth. Although his staples and tubes coming out of his head were very evident, he had tucked the big jugs into his shirt to spare folks from seeing what they contained. That was thoughtful,
but what it also did was make him look like he had had breast implants to go along with his neck surgery. By the time JR got somewhat calmed and medicated, I went back down to the car to get our luggage, and that is when I noticed people congregating in the lobby and parking lot with plenty of adult beverages. Evidenced by the eardrum-bursting music and loud talk throughout the night I would say nobody but JR got any sleep that night, and only because he was drugged. That’s all I’ll say right now about that hotel – that is another article, but we left at 4:30 a.m. during a bad storm predicted to turn into sleet and ice so we left early to try to beat most of the bad weather. I’ve already mentioned my night blindness so my only excuse for what happened is that I thought it would get daylight a lot sooner than it did. In the rain and dark, I turned onto the interstate off the service road, and it was not long before we began meeting bright headlights coming our way! I had no previous experience driving the wrong way up the wrong side of a highway, but it was not too hard to figure out so I really didn’t need Mr. Sensitivity sitting next to me screaming and gesturing wildly. I careened out of harm’s way pretty quickly (in my opinion which was not necessarily shared by my passenger) and made a circle before heading for the next on-ramp, and I know it doesn’t seem possible, but I went up the wrong way again! I cannot describe the sounds a man with a recently cut throat can actually make, and between dodging on-coming traffic I tried to tell him how the excitement was not good for him. It was tough staying calm with all those headlights hitting me in the face blinding me – more than usual. It was really surprising how many people were out driving that early on a Saturday morning too. Thank God and Chrysler for our 4-wheel drive SUV that can jump highway dividers (JR swears it was a concrete wall), because we got out of the wrong lane (again) without too much damage. Certainly, the jolt jarred my husband’s stapled and recently dissected neck which probably explained why he was not even able to scream at that point and why he was looking so pale. It worried me a little, that “deer in the headlights” shocked gaze on his blood-drained face, but thankfully he still had some little frantic-looking hand motions going so I figured he would be alright once he calmed down a bit. Again, I was very sympathetic of his pain,
Thank God and Chrysler for our 4-wheel drive SUV that can jump highway dividers
but at the time I could not help but be glad I could not hear what he was thinking because my nerves were pretty much stretched to the limit by then. I challenge anybody to enjoy driving with such a critical and excitable passenger making all those noises and gestures. Well, we finally got going in the right direction with the right flow of traffic, but it was raining so hard that I could not see to drive faster than 20 mph so it wasn’t long before my easily-excited husband motioned for me to pull over on the side of the road which I was happy to do until I realized he intended to drive – expressly against his surgeon’s orders! And, it was not with a sweet attitude that he indicated I was to get out of the driver’s seat either. It was raining so hard that we nearly drowned making the switch. He was moving pretty slow so when he finally got in the driver’s seat, he dripped for a long time. I readily admit it is difficult, if not impossible, for me to enjoy chauffeuring JR anywhere as nervous as he is, but because he was on drugs, and could not turn his head or even breathe easily, I was a little nervous myself on the long drive home. And, when we did get home we both determined to stay there until he was healed enough to do the driving since it is so obvious he has a real problem with women drivers and does not hide his disdain very well at all. But, being a forgivingtype woman, I’ll probably give him another chance and offer to drive us somewhere again. Someday. Maybe.
tured three-inch ears -- as if he did not draw enough attention already. Everywhere we went, people stared, and when one old guy in overalls finally could not contain his curiosity any longer, he asked JR, “Man, what did they DO to you?” JR solemnly answered, “I had a head transplant. I’m afraid to move too fast or my head might fall off.” Then, before
- “JR had to wear his tubes and staples throughout Christmas and added an elf hat that fea26
JR could tell the guy the truth he took off ... probably went home to his wife saying, “Baby, you won’t believe what I saw today ...!” Elaine Marze is a freelance writer who also works in public relations and advertising. She can be reached at email@example.com.
By Amy Stewart
t was a freezing cold, nasty, wet day in February. I was tormented by traffic on Bert Kouns and to keep my sanity I decided to stop at Starbucks. I pulled into the drive-thru, placed my order, and then waited patiently while handling unfinished business. For the curious, unfinished business is reading a few text messages, collecting the wrappers my son left behind and picking up my work papers that flew off into the floor. Just as I receive my coffee the clerk says “the lady in front of you paid for your coffee and wanted to say have a nice day”. It made me smile all day. How incredibly kind! It was such a different perspective to receive a little perk from a complete stranger. It’s amazing how much simple things matter. Humanity is good to give and receive. It provides immediate gratification for the contributor and recipient. In my work, at hospice, one of the most valued resources is volunteers. One person may feel that he or she cannot make a difference. That simply isn’t true. “You would have to look far and wide to find anything that will fill your
heart and soul with more joy, more satisfaction and more peace” says Jean Bailey a regular hospice volunteer. It’s a sense of purpose and fulfillment for the volunteer and recipient. It’s a willing commitment to “giving that human touch without any fanfare” says Kaye Stevens who is also a regular hospice volunteer. Both ladies have been volunteering with Hospice of Shreveport/Bossier for over 1 ½ years. To patients and families they begin as complete strangers providing the little things that matter. The pair provides relief for caregivers, giving them time to renew, and friendship with patients, giving them joy. Kaye says “it’s not about the illness” rather the pleasures found in life like sharing “bread and butter pickles” as she did with one patient. Kaye giggles “that just made her day.” Being seriously ill doesn’t mean a person wants to be treated differently just treated with dignity and respect. They still enjoy laughing, Jean explains, “I love to tease them and they tease me too”. As hospice volunteers their work is valuable and meaningful.
We k n o w they could have chosen to volunteer at any hospice. Kaye enjoys the “the spirit of caring and sense of family”. Jean adds “you will never work with a more dedicated and caring group of professional people”. For us, it’s an incredible honor to have them or any volunteer on our team. The week of April 18-24 is designated as National Volunteer Week to recognize volunteers. Hospice of Shreveport/Bossier would like to thank all of our wonderful volunteers for their dedication and one and half years of service. Amy Stewart is the Director of Community Education for Hospice of Shreveport/Bossier. She received certification in American Humanics from LSU-Shreveport and currently serves on the Caddo Council on Aging Board.
Learn more by visiting www.hospicesb.com Or Contact Terri Catlett, Volunteer Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org phone 865-7177
Caring for someone seriously ill and need help?
Hospice can be a gift from God you were looking for and the answer to a prayer.
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID Permit No. 1467 Fort Worth, Texas
My husband, Don, was very ill with Lewy Body Dementia…his illness was terminal. Exhausted from all the caregiving…I was told by our primary doctor that it was time to get help from hospice. Like most I was not ready to admit we needed hospice and I thought it meant he would die within days. Everything that could be done to keep him comfortable was carried out. We had help with visits from the nurse. Plus there were 24 hour on-call nurses available for support. We were assigned a certiﬁed nurse’s aide that came out three times a week to help bathe my husband, which gave me time to rest a bit from the daily care required for Don and to be his wife again. The social worker went beyond what I had expected in helping…that took a huge load off of me and was much appreciated. Her monthly visits went a long way in providing comfort to me. We had a chaplain assigned to us and we could depend on her faithfully visiting us and providing the spiritual and emotional comfort so needed during this time. At the time of Don’s death, almost 14 months later, the nurse took care of all calls…in my deep grief I did not have to deal with the initial chores of death. I still attend the caregiver’s group and the grief support group sponsored by Hospice of Shreveport/Bossier. It has provided the understanding and tools needed to take the next step in life. I would suggest to anyone who has a loved one who is in the end stages of an illness to consider hospice…having the knowledge of people who have been trained in caring for the terminally ill, the support of people who truly care, about others, and the time to spend with your loved one without all of the pressures of caregiving will be a true blessing. My sincerest thanks to the staff at Hospice of Shreveport/Bossier in their continued support even after my husband’s death. ~ GRACE HOLCOMBE
Hospice of Shreveport/Bossier 318-865-7177 or 1-800-824-4672 w w w.hospicesb.com
Service area: 50 miles
Published on Mar 26, 2010