Not much. How was your Christmas?

January 10th, 2012 3 comments

It’s okay to write about this now because everything’s cool.

I received this voicemail on Christmas Day from my brother Jeff:

John, brother Jeff here.  Gimmee a call.  Mom and Dad are in the hospital and we think they are okay but give me a call.

Gulp.

While Lynley was on her phone thanking her parents for our gifts, I dialed my brother (who lives in Bourbonnais, Illinois) and paced the living room, trying not to show any panic.  Jeff answered and before he could utter a syllable, I blurted, “Car wreck!?”  He said no and succinctly explained that Mom was on her treadmill for nearly an hour in the garage when she had some kind of spasms.  (While it make ruin the story flow it must be noted here that Mom has spent most of the last three decades working out on a treadmill or to her Cher exercise tape while saying her rosary.  I’m not joking.  Talk about a multi-tasker.)  Dad was putzing around in the garage and saw Mom hit the deck.  He immediately called 911.  He followed the ambulance to St. Joseph’s Hospital in South Bend, Indiana.   When he was approached by hospital personnel near the emergency entrance, it was quickly apparent that he was disoriented.  My sisters Geralyn and Sue, who live in the South Bend area rushed to the hospital.

Bam.  Just like that, two married 80-year olds spent Christmas in separate hospital rooms.  Mom seemed okay other than a scrap on her forehead.  Dad was continuing to regain clarity.  They spent the night in the hospital and had every test except the SAT.  Everything checked out.  They were released the next day.

Sparring the gory details, we think Mom over-heated and Dad saw his bride of 57-years in a way that… well, a way you don’t prepare to see your wife.

I share this family story not to bring attention to my parents.
But rather, my parents reaction.

In speaking to them a few days later, dancing around the odd fact that I didn’t talk to my parents on Christmas Day for the first time since I was cutting teeth, my parents opened up about how they weren’t going to let this episode scare them.  They were going to keep on living life.  Keeping on.  In the days since, telephone conversations with my parents may briefly drift back to that surreal day but like writing your initials in the sand at low tide, the intense emotion of that day seems to have been washed away.  Oh, and the fact my parents never like their kids worrying about them.  (I’m not stupid.)

We all know what happened.  Why it happened.
We just choose not to dwell on it.
I know this may seem strange (and perhaps naive) but every member of our family is “square” with each other.
No unfinished business.  Don’t get me wrong, we have spats just like all families but Mom and Dad set a great tone of not sweating the small stuff.  Even when it’s big stuff.

We aren’t ignoring the “elephant in the room” because there are no large African mammals crowding our houses.
If there were, I think what happened last month would have exposed issues.  Helluva way to confirm it though.

I did learn one valuable lesson.
Don’t accidentally have your cell phone on silent Christmas Day.

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School Is Always In Session

December 13th, 2011 3 comments

“I keep learning.”

I hear that from time to time from my…. now 80-year old father.

It’s among the many cool things about him.  He doesn’t act like a know-it-all, although reaching 80 (today is his birthday) with all his marbles should qualify him for honorary “know-it-all” status.  He loves to listen and absorb other people’s stories and experiences.  Now that I think about it, that may explain the healthy 57-year marriage to my mother!

The man still goes to work every morning, at an office building he once owned for decades.  His been in the same space since I can remember.  He loves to putz around on various projects.  One he just completed is sending the Kankakee Regional Airport a file of newspaper clippings and photos.  The small Illinois airstrip is ramping up a historical display and Dad has saved mementos from when he was a kid and his father flew in and out of there.

Among my own special pleasures is to have my home mail sprinkled with articles, letters and books from Dad.  He recently sent me a book written about the Notre Dame’s 1966 National Championship season.  I’m currently devouring.  Every time I see that the mail includes his handwriting on the front, I know it’s going to be a little nugget of family history.

So thanks to my Dad’s life long organization, and the ability to save so many things (because his office is attached to a warehouse),

I keep learning too.

Happy 80th Dad.

If you are a wee bit curious about Dad, check out www.jerryhammes.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Predicting The News

November 30th, 2011 5 comments

I don’t know this person but there’s a chance I’lll read her name on the news someday.
She’ll be in a serious car accident.

So I’m leaving downtown Nashville, turning left on Union Street to proceed over the Woodland Street bridge.  Serpentining through the “S” curve prior to crossing the river, I noticed the car to the left of me suddenly swerve and almost careen into me.  I snapped my head to the left and I’ll be damned what I saw.

She was texting.  With both hands.  While driving through the “S” curve.  THROUGH THE “S” CURVE!

My blood went from 98.6 to 212 degrees in a nano second.

Once on the straight away of the bridge I pulled up along side her and gave her the “slash throat” sign and mouthed KNOCK IT OFF.  (Okay, my reaction was probably as distracting as texting but work with me here).

She and her girlfriend looked over, paused and… giggled.

Well, I sure showed them.
They probably spent the next few moments contemplating the consequences of their actions.  Yeah, that’s what they did.  I delivered a teaching moment to the youth of America.

Or not.  They haven’t a clue.

But will when the “jaws of life” is peeling crumpled metal apart to get to their bodies from an interstate ravene.
Dead or alive.

I hope I pronounce their names right.

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I’m Denying The Denial

October 11th, 2011 4 comments

IV sedation procedure not necessary.  Coverage denied.

Those words leaped off the bill I just received from my periodontist.  So did the number $399.
Like a bull in an arena snorting and staring down a red cape, It’s amazing I was able to dial the office number without my cell phone screen fogging up.
In a restrained tone, in between deep breadths, I inquired why I my insurance wouldn’t pick up the IV sedation.  Her answer was that many insurance companies don’t pick that up.

Without being too graphic (that’s a darned good pun),  I had a piece of skin gutted from the roof of my mouth to use as a skin graft to repair a tear in my front left tooth gum.  The procedure took about an hour and I woke up with stitches in my mouth, along with putty to protect where he gouged the roof of my mouth.  That was six weeks ago and I’m still numb where doc scraped for the graft.

Not necessary?

I suppose in the old days they shot up the violated area with a local and the patient stayed awake through the whole ordeal.  It makes my stomach churn just thinking about it.

The receptionist relayed that the doctor would give a testimonial to the procedure and file the claim again to see if it’s accepted.

Now, I know people go through far worse medical procedures but this was no picnic.  Surgery anywhere in your mouth is no fun.  I also understand that there’s insurance fraud, but c’mon man.

…and don’t get me started on my medical decuctable…

 

 

 

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Open Mouth, Insert Foot

September 27th, 2011 2 comments

I have this unpredictable ailment that rears its ugly head from time to time.

It’s called foot-in-mouth disease. 
The darned thing resurrected itself at a banquet Monday night.

A Nashville non-profit was honoring a longtime area businessman for his community work through the decades.  I arrived near the end of the reception as the crowd was being shuffled into the main dining room.  I quickly found my name tag with help of one of the hostesses.  I wheeled around to head to the dining room when I was stopped in my tracks.   I was greeted by a young woman who could have just come from an audition for a toothpaste commercial.  Bright smile, hair up, in a long dress, full of confidence.

“Hi John.  Great to see you.  Thanks for coming.  It should be a fun night.”

I tried to catch the name on her tag without her catching me catch the name on her tag (which is tough to do when you are standing two feet apart).

“Yes, it should be a great night.”  “I stated to a person I couldn’t place but her name tag offered a clue.  “Your family has done so much for this town… er… your dad deserves every honor.”

She turned away and we separated to find our tables.

Whew.  I managed to smooth my way through that.  So I thought.

Fast-foward to the video montage tribute to the businessman, which included interviews with friends, co-workers and family.

The last person to speak in this video presentation looked all too familiar.  She was the person who happened to say “hi” as we walked into the banquet room for dinner.

Egads.  That person… is his wife.

I slumped in my chair.

The only saving grace is that she made an “age” remark in her video tribute and he made a similar remark about the disparity in their age in his closing remarks.

Driving home I kept replaying that 20-second conversation with his wife.  Yep, I’m certain I said, “…your dad deserves every honor.”

I’ve relayed this story to several people (including my wife and my father) and most agree that she probably took it as a compliment and it isn’t the first time that has happened to her.  I mean, what are they going to say?  “Ya really blew it Dr. Smooth.”

So what do you think?

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Have A Nice Trip, See You Next Fall

September 21st, 2011 2 comments

You would think after more than 48-years on this earth I would learn a few things…

Trying to save myself a trip upstairs Wednesday morning, I decided to balance a laundry basket full of folded clothes in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.  At the top of the stairs, I missed a step (tripping on my robe), spilling the coffee all over the wall while simultaneously knocking my forehead on the railing.  I carved about five layers of skin off a spot on my noggin.  Like caulking a bathtub, I filled in the dent with makeup for the news.

(I tried to insert picture here of the bobo but this blog template must be rusty and not cooperating.)

Really?  I couldn’t take 25 seconds to make two trips?!  Juuuuust had to have my coffee with me right that second.

Knucklehead.

Do you care to share any “lapse of judgement” stories that would make me feel as if I have company?

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Back In Biz

September 20th, 2011 3 comments

I’m back.

Several of you have inquired about the absence.  Thanks for your kind comments.  In short, I was going through challenging work issues and simply lost my desire to answer to this blog.  Okay, I was pouting.  A few months have passed and I believe in the saying, “Time heals most wounds.”

So here’s the deal.  I would like to crank this up again but I need to have some rules (for myself). 

- I will try to post in the AM daily Monday through Friday.

- That may not happen like clockwork and there may be an afternoon or evening post.

- I may have one post a day, two posts a day or no posts on a particular day.

- Posts may likely be shorter because I’m going to limit my “write time” to a half-hour or less.

- You may find the posts silly, a waste of your time and/or maybe… just maybe occasionally insightful in a way you can relate.

-  I’m fortunate to have this outlet to let some things fly.  I appreciate any and all feedback and we can certainly agree to disagree.

So there you have it.  Thanks for checking back.

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Hometown Memories

April 29th, 2011 4 comments

Now for a blog entry that will probably only appeal to me (quite the salesman, aren’t I?)

Talk about random. 
In a matter of seconds, two items directly pertaining to my youth, hit me between the eyes as I was behind the wheel.

First one:

I’m driving home down Shelby Avenue Friday afternoon  in East Nashville when I come upon a car with this bumper sticker:

For those too young to remember (ask your grandmother or grandfather), Studebaker was a car company in South Bend, Indiana.  It went out of business in the mid-60′s.  I wildly honked at this driver until she stopped.  I told her I grew up in South Bend and loved her sticker.  She said she bought it at the Studebaker museum while visiting South Bend.

Not 30-seconds later I pass a local water hole and this car is parked in its parking lot.

This 1971 Pantera belongs to the owner of the place.  He’s about my age and always wanted a Pantera.  It’s a sports car made by Ford in the early ’70′s.  Not many were made and they are rare, especially in this good a condition.  He bought it out of California.  It has 22,000 miles on it!  Sweet!  My father bought one when he ran a Ford dealership way back when.  It’s a 1972 and still in the family.  It probably has 20,000 miles on it, if that. Here it is:

So two youth flashbacks on a sunny Friday afternoon.

Told you it would only interest me.

I am sending good vibes to all those running tomorrow in the Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon.  After I plod through the half, Lynley and I will be setting up camping around 12th and Woodland in East Nashville to cheer the marathoners on.

Have a great and safe weekend.

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It’s A Mad World

April 26th, 2011 6 comments

Tuesday, April 26, 20011

8:57am.  BP station.  East Nashville.

On the brink of 4 clams…

I live 2 miles from downtown Nashville and 5 miles from work. 
I’m one of the lucky ones who has to fill up about once every 10 days.
My head hurts for those who have long commutes or cart kids arounda all day.
This madness has to stop, right?

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Looks Can Be Deceiving

April 18th, 2011 7 comments

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape

You don’t spit into the wind

You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger

…and you don’t assume someone smiling is simply smiling.

 

 One of Lynley’s friends sent this to her this morning.  We ran in the Purity Moosic City Dairy Dash.  One would assume I’m hamming it up for the camera with a big ‘ole smile.  Actually, I didn’t notice the photographer and I’m smiling for a whole different reason.  This picture must have been clicked the mili-second I chuckled out loud in saracasm, “You have to be kidding me?!”  I have a sore right calf and the “glove” (you can see it on my lower right leg) that I had pulled up on it to keep it warm began slipping down to my ankle about two-hundred yards into the 10K race.  It never happened during recent runs but I took off faster than a usual run and I guess it couldn’t take the faster pounding on the pavement.  I was “smiling” because I couldn’t believe I had to run practically the whole race with this brace drooping around my ankle.

So a smile is not always just a smile.  I’m actually ticked off.

**********

Sorry for the lack of blog entries.  My six-year old laptop home computer is running on fumes.  By the time I get to work, I’m busy with work related things.  I suspect my entries will be sporadic and I’m sorry about that.  As always, thanks for checking in.

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