|PELICAN from DAYTONA BEACH , FLORIDA, copyright
Below is my essay -- Published in Birmingham Arts Journal - 19 - Vol. 12 Issue 1 (2015) .. If you write for an online journal or a hard copy magazine, read their copyright rules which are usually in the writers guidelines.
In this case, the editor allows a certain amount of time to pass after the article has been published and returns the copyright back to writer. Google the topic and you can be a better tech savvy writer and one who knows the details of all aspects of your writer.
THE UNEXPECTED By Carolyn M. Rhodes
I am a child of the fifties, the days when typewriters clicked and clacked and televisions were black and white. And, we shared one phone per household. Those times were exciting in a completely different way. One quick snapshot I recall is my big sister boarding a small jet plane to fly to Paris to live with her French boyfriend. (My parents hadn’t a clue about the living arrangements.) My middle sister began her adult life as a literary poet in college. I am the youngest and in this snapshot, I am in high school. It is there where I made lifelong friends.
Every summer, for the past 12 years, I fly to Cape Cod for a family and friends reunion. Towards the end of my family reunion, I spend the final three days with Sigrid and Barbara, sisters. I’ve known them since grammar school. After dinner, we walk down the winding road which is roughly paved. The homes and gardens add a picturesque scene along the route to the beach. We take the same walk every summer, but it’s always a different view. That second evening we happened to come across an osprey nest perched on top of a lamp post. The nest took the shape of an inside out portobello mushroom. It was a home, sturdy and massive. We humans could only imagine this family’s life journey. One of them flew off into the pink sky towards the ocean. A few gathered around to watch. But, when the unexpected happened, I’d have to wait until next year to get that story.
I made a last ditch effort in hopes that I might see the big bird landing, but, as I turned around and walked backwards—in a split second of interrupted pleasant thought about the osprey’s flight—the heel of my sneaker dug into a deep hole. I fell onto my hand and landed on my back. Sigrid and Barbara bent down and carefully returned me to my feet. I could barely catch my breath and my wrist went limp. Barbara took charge after assessing my condition, “I’ll run to the house and bring the car back. Sig, I’ll do my best to get back fast. If it’s too long, call an ambulance.” We were about ¾ mile from the house and it was an uphill walk. My heart raced as I watched my hand swell. Soon enough, in the ER, X-rays had been taken and I would soon learn my fate. The osprey nest was the furthest thing from my mind.
The doctor informed me I needed emergency surgery the next day and that my wrist was badly broken. I would need pins and a plate. Suddenly I began to shiver and a wave of anxiety hit me. Sig remained by my side and told me to not worry. I could stay without a problem and she would look after me. But with a long recovery and physical therapy ahead, I knew my only option was going home. The doctor placed my arm in a splint and sent me off with a sling. “Get that done no later than Friday,” he insisted. I slept the entire next day while the girls sprang into action.
They boxed up my clothes and shipped them via UPS so I had nothing to carry. My suitcase went to the Salvation Army and they ordered a wheelchair assistant to meet me at the Boston airport. No way could I wait on a check-in line with only one functional arm. They made sure I had at least $20 in singles for tips. President Obama vacationed in Nantucket that weekend and the airport bus was full. I guarded my right arm and moved into the first seat for the handicapped. I couldn’t imagine that the unexpected would strike again, but soon enough, it did. My connecting flight to Birmingham was not coming due to bad weather in Chicago. The airline booked me for a morning flight and left me stranded en route to Baltimore. I called my son and he made a reservation at the Marriott near the Baltimore airport. A porter met me at the Baltimore gate. I arrived at nearly midnight—my phone was dead and I was disheveled and weak. The young man knew his way around, charged my phone and dropped me off at the limo stop. He called the Marriott to alert them that I was in a wheelchair, waiting at their ramp. I gave him a $10 tip. I couldn’t have made it without him.
Once at the Marriott, I was given a handicapped room. It was comfortable and clean. I had a king-sized bed and a very big shower with no steps—a space to get easily in and out of. Now I understood why a handicapped person would need this. I was now that person. With a slow twist of the shower knob, water gushed out slowly until I adjusted the temperature. The goal was to keep the splint and dressing dry before surgery. A sudden move could cause further injury. My wrecked body felt a heavenly anointment of calm, as though holy water poured over me. It was the best shower in the worst of times. At 5 am, I was on my way back, heading for the airport, almost home. Surgery and physical therapy followed for the next 3 months. Eventually, I got my hand and all fingers working. It was a slow recovery.
I could never have imagined how it felt to be handicapped, to lose the use of one beautifully created diligent workhorse, my hand, with its tiny boned fingers perfectly crafted and guided by a wrist to move every second of a day and night. And, I can’t leave out the childhood friends who are there to lift our spirits exactly when we need them. I came through with eyes wide open and a bigger heart for the ones who struggle in ways I never really thought about.
Carolyn M. Rhodes earned a BA degree in Drama and Dance, College of Staten Island, 1973. She retired from UA’s College of Business as an office associate and was a contributing feature writer for their alumni magazine. Carolyn is an exercise instructor and an award-winning writer. She maintains a tech news blog, www.techiegems.net and www.storiesbypunkydemure.com