Back in my lat teens and early 20’s I was a breakfast manager at a local fast food restaurant named Hardee’s. The hours were perfect: 3am-1pm. For me, it was an easy job and presented challenges as well. One such challenge was some of the people that worked the same shift I did. One was the hostess, she is a topic for another story. The other was this big ole German lady named Ingold.
Ingold was not by any means your normal person. To begin with, she had to warm up to you. It was not easy to gain her confidence in your abilities as either a manager or a co-worker. Also, she hated everyone. However, she was good at her job. Ingold only worked breakfast. When it was time to transition, she was out the door. She was a good worker but you had to get her on your side to work for you. You see, Ingold liked to be prompt and start things on time. While the manager was technically not supposed to start or arrive to open the doors until at least 3:45 am, if you showed up at any point after 3:00 am, you were certain to have a bad day. Showing up late made Ingold grouchy and boy…you never wanted that woman to be grouchy. (Grumpy doesn’t even come close to what this woman could be if she was…grouchy. Even Oscar the Grouch was mild compared to when this woman was on a roll. Ah, but I digress.) I liked to show up early just for her because I knew if she started her day off right, I would not have to worry about the kitchen because Miss Ingold handled things. Besides, at 4:01 am, the time the schedule says we are supposed to clock in, she would get in her car and go home. THAT, my friends, is a bad day. Without her, it was difficult at best.
Other workers knew that too. Because I worked hard to get Miss Ingold on my side, she eventually warmed up to me. I think there were a few mornings that I totally earned her respect. “Why? How?” You ask? Like this:
Ingold worked six days a week. The days I was blessed to have her on my shift, I knew I was going to have a good day. She kept that kitchen running and things were hardly ever late. I would giggle at her when there was a special request from a customer during the busy part of the morning because she would yell through the window at me “What the hell do they think this is Burger King? This is not have it your way!” Begrudgingly, she would make the special request anyway. If she was particularly chipper, she would offer to make your breakfast for you on your break and hook a sister up!
Anywhoo, back to the how and why. There were a few times I had overslept. Upon waking, the only thing I would think would be:
“Shit! Ingold is gonna be pissed!”
I would jump straight up, throw on my pants, button 4 of the 7 buttons on my shirt, grab my shoes, brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, and other “get ready” stuff and run to the car just so I could make it on time. One particular morning I got lots of laughter from her (which was rare) because I showed up at 3:05 am and had all my stuff randomly in my arms and was dropping and picking up things all the way from my car to the door. I was apologetic every step of the way. One sock on, one sock off, she actually told me not to worry that she was in a good mood because of me. This thoroughly confused me because in Ingold time, I was late. I think the that she seen that I was stressing out over her being grouchy more than I was at my appearance at Good God It’s Early in the morning. To be honest, I think that was the first time I did that. After that day, I think I had Miss Ingold on my side and we got along famously. Even when she was grouchy.
She was old then and this was in the mid 1990’s. I moved on and life went on but I thought of her often. I really liked that old Broad. I wonder what has become of her?
What do YOU think?
Yes. That is what I thought. The world is upside down. I lay there on the counter listening to my mother bark orders to the landlady because her nurse training kicked in. The landladys’ name is Mercedes. Upon realizing that she was talking like that to the woman who could certainly kick us out of this place, I thought about the HUGE Mercedes emblem she had hanging on her living room wall. It was given to her by some man who owned a Mercedes dealership. Go figure. (Ah, but even at a young age, I digressed. Nice. I am bleeding out of my head, face, skull, SOMETHING! Get with the program!) I hear my mother ask for a needle and thread. (WHAT? I am not a cross stitch!) She then ripped out a piece of first aid tape and just looked at me and said;
“It’s too bad, I can’t do this!”
She grabbed my by my shoulders and yanked me up and placed me, unsteadily, on my feet then ushered me out the apartment to the car. “MOM! Can’t do what? Where are we going? What is going on?” Her reply? “Here.” She slapped the now RED, white and blue towel on my head. “Keep this here and be still.” Then she ran back into the house to call my sister who rushed over and rode with us to the hospital. I remember one of them driving but cannot recall who. They were arguing about the route to the hospital and I remember going over a bridge and hearing that it was the best way because traffic was backed up elsewhere. From the time I was yanked off the kitchen counter until I ended up being on the ER table, I only remember bits and pieces. Sorry its so fragmented but it is human nature and some things become faded when you are in a crisis.
Upon arriving at the hospital, there were people EVERYWHERE! People who had their elbows wrapped up, others with head injuries, mothers with sick children, the random old guy. There was a little bit of everything in the ER that day. I don’t know how much time passed from when we left our apartment until my mother finished filling out the registration but she began to pace. (My mother’s name is Pat.) A pacing Pat is not a good thing and something was going to happen if her pacing speeds up. I watched. I waited. It was only a matter of time. Then it happened.
That 5’4″ woman put her left hand on her hip and pointed her right index finger straight into the air. Here it comes…
Just a little caveat here. Some hindsight nonsense. This all happened on a Saturday afternoon. Pat was a SERIOUS bingo player. Bingo starts at 6 on Saturdays and we have to be there when the doors open to play pull tabs and get our favorite seats. mmmmkay?
“OH MY GAWD! WILL SOMEONE PULEEASE HELP MY DAUGHTER! WE HAVE BEEN HERE OVER THIRTY MINUTES AND SHE IS BLEEEEDING TO DEATH!” she screams as she runs from one hospital employee to another. This ranting goes on for about three or four minutes. My sister wants to climb under her seat. From my vantage point, all I see is a sit com happening in the color red. The blood had soaked the towel and it was running down my forehead into my eyes. Eventually, some doctor man appears out of seemingly nowhere and grabs my mother by the shoulders. “Maam! Maam! Maam. We have a room for her and we are going to get her taken care of. Just please calm down, you are scaring the other patients.” As if turning off a light switch, she relaxed her arms and simply pointed at me. Behind the doctor was a nurse with a wheelchair and they helped me into it and whisked me a way to labor and delivery.
Wait. What? I am not having a baby? Simultaneous to my brain processing where we were going, my mother said just that. I was then whisked on to a table that looked like a torture device. (Yes, nine years old is far from any knowledge of OB/GYN doctors or what they do.) The same doctor wheeled in a table with various shiny things on it and he pulled up a wheely chair to the top of the torture table and BEGAN TO PULL MY HAIR OUT BY THE ROOTS! Ok, maybe he numbed it up a little with something but dammit, that HURT!
YANK! “Can you feel that?” YEASSSS!!!
“OK” YANK! “Can you feel that?” OW! I SAID YEA!
“OK” YANK! “Can you feel that?” HELLOOOOO!!!!!!
Then I started to feel like I was going to pass out. “Nonononononononononono! Don’t do that little lady, you MUST stay awake for me? Talk to me! Tell me about your favorite thing in school! You cannot go to sleep! We have to stitch up your skull then your skin and I need you to stay awake while I do that. Can you be a trooper and do that for me?” Mr. Doctor man said. “Yea” my voice said, quietly, from a million miles away.
I did as he asked. They stitched my skull. 4 to be exact. Self dissolving. Same for my “skin.” With my mother calm, and myself all stitched up, I was allowed to sit up for the first time in a while. MAN was I dizzy. But I survived. Sadly, I was unable to participate in gymnastics for a few weeks. That waned my interest slightly.
I survived but I must say it left an impression. I learned a hard lesson. I even see a child STANDING UP on a bed and I flip out. That is ONE lesson my kids will not learn. Pretty sad if you think about it. Not everyone gets to have their skull stitched up in the labor and delivery room at nine years old.
Reminds me of something else….NEVER run on painted pavement.
Ah, but I digress.
What do YOU think?
I was into gymnastics when I was in elementary school. I was on the school gymnastics team and it was a big part of the school culture in Denver. While we didn’t compete, it was more of an after school activity. We did have “shows” for the parents to see what we were learning. It was fun. I was often jealous of the girls who were better at tumbling than I and practiced any chance I could. I practiced A LOT. I would like to say it made me a better gymnast. However, when you practice what you are good at, that one skill becomes polished. What I should have been practicing were the things I found difficult. Eh, I was in the fourth grade. You live and learn. Obviously, I did not grow up to become an Olympic star. I DID learn a valuable lesson in the fourth grade. While it may have been the only thing I retained from that year, it was something that affected me the rest of my life. It ties closely in with the whole “do not run on painted pavement” story but that, my friends, is for another day.
We lived in a tiny apartment that year. Dad worked in Wyoming on some fenced in secret facility. This meant he was home like one weekend a month. Our apartment was a one bedroom and the bedroom was smack at the end of the hallway. Upon entering the apartment, the living room/dining room/kitchen was all open and together. It was kind of like a tiny studio apartment but the hallway was directly across the room from the door. The way the floor plan was set up, the dining area and kitchen were off to the right of the front door and the living room was the main focus upon entering. The length of the hallway must have been about 20 feet. you had to pass the hall closet on the right and the bathroom on the left. It dead ended at the bedroom. Nice little set up for a quaint little apartment. It was smack in the middle of down town Denver.
My Mother had intuition about a lot of things. At that time, maybe she had foresight. I give her credit for those things. After all, I was the youngest of her 8 kids and she HAD to know something by the time I came along. I shared a room with her and Dad. If you left the bedroom door open, there was a window that you could see from the front door. Straight shot, no furniture in the way. No obstructions. Free, open space from front door to the bedroom. Mom had placed their bed directly underneath that window. Because this apartment was a temporary living space for us, a lot of our stuff was in storage. Including the headboard to that bed.With the headboard to their queen bed missing, the windowsill was approximately 1-2 feet above the surface of the mattress. It also had tile across the bottom of the sill. I assume for aesthetic purposes of the apartment. The tile was curved at the front and stuck out a quarter of an inch.
We all know Mom’s thing for bingo. On top of her little good luck trinkets and her bingo bag, she had cushions. Often, she would bring her bingo cushions in the house instead of leaving them in the car. Gosh forbid someone stole the bingo cushion! She had this thick brown cushion that was nothing more than a six inch square piece of foam in a dirt brown cover with a loop for a handle. It was literally square and 2’x2′. Ugliest thing you had ever seen. Apparently it was coveted and made my Mothers butt happy during those long bingo sessions. It meant something if it had to come into the house every time she came home. This cushion along with a nice fluffy pillow would lead me to discover the state of Tennessee in our apartment. Yes, I said that right. All Christopher Columbus and stuff. Although, it was not 1492. It was 1985 and it was summer and it was nowhere near the Ocean blue. We were in the Rockies. All middle of the country and stuff. (Ah, but I digress. Little history there. Sort of.)
Up to this point, jumping on the bed was one of the best rainy day activities. It was fun. All kids do it. Some get hurt and that is OK. We all survived! I had this brilliant idea to take a bed pillow (they were kinda firm) and fold it in half and lay the brown cushion on top of it. I would set it up at the end of the bed and use it as a springboard! YES! Then I could show off in front of my friend! Oh what a wonderfully epic idea!. It was a perfect set up. I would run down the hall, jump on it and flip into the air and land on the bed. Oh boy! The first half dozen or so tries were great. Perfect landings and everything. My friend was even impressed. Let me tell you it was just she and I in the apartment because mom was upstairs talking to the landlady. They were friends and she would often go up there and have tea or some other nonsense.
About try 7 or 8, i forget which one, it happened. I was a tad overzealous on the flip and landed on all fours. I believe I was attempting an additional flip and fell short or went too far on the final one. That part is fuzzy. Upon landing on my hands and knees, I still had the momentum of force from the flip keeping me in motion and (to me it was all slow motion until the hospital) until WHAM!!!!!
I hit my head on the windowsill. It hurt. I stood up, heart my friend ask if I was ok, then stuck my face in a pillow on the bed because FLUCK! it hurt. when I stood up and looked at her to reply, she took off running. I didn’t think anything about it and happened to look down at the pillow. A couple of days ago, mom had purchased brand-new, shiny, white pillow cases and now there was a spot on the pillow case that was not there before I put my face on the pillow. I leaned in a bit closer. The spot had to have been about and eighth of an inch long. It was red and my first thought?
“Oh my gosh! Look! It is Tennessee!” as I stood there and pointed at it. Yes, I told that to myself outloud.
Then it occurred to me. Spot not there before, red, Tennessee?? WHAT? My right hand had been holding the hurt spot on my head for nearly a minute. I pulled my hand down and looked at it. Not only was it covered in blood, it was POURING onto the floor. Immediately, I went to the hallway closet for a towel. Unbeknownst to me, I was leaving a trail of gore the whole way. On the floor, on the wall, on the inside of the closet door. Upon opening the closet door. What do I grab? A blue and white hand towel. How muthaflippin patriotic of me, yes? Yes. I stagger into the bathroom and it is all I can do to hold on to the sink and not fall over.
The next thing I know, my mother rushes in, looks at me, and instead of doing what they tell you in first aid training she says to me: “Oh good lord!” She swept me off my feet and run into the kitchen with me in her arms. She had the landlord and my friend with her. The landlord slid everything on the counter to the side and my friend laid a bath towel or sheet or something on the counter. Mom laid me on the kitchen counter and i now had my head in the kitchen sink. The world was upside down…..
(This is but part one of a two part story. It went on longer than I expected. The wonderful sequel to be my next post!)
What do YOU think?
Sara was one of the coolest dogs ever. While I did not get to spend the time with her like I have our other dogs, she was still pretty awesome. She was basically a 55 pound dachshund with border collie markings and a bull whip for a tail. She was also the runt of her litter. Being the youngest of ten, I guess that was why I took to her.
That tail. When she was happy, she would swing that tail back and forth with reckless abandon and if you were standing down wind, I hope you have some sort of pain threshold because your legs were going to be attacked on both sides by her tail. It was just as long as she was and Sara was nearly 3 feet WITHOUT the tail. She was short and low to the ground like a typical wiener dog. Her paws were at the end of about 6 inch stumps and were nearly 2 inches wide. Despite her large appearance, she was as loving as any living creature could be. She would never harm anyone.
We had Pepper when Sara came to us. The vast majority of her life was spent with Pepper in the dog pen. He was grouchy with her at first but then began to accept her as his best buddy. They always traveled the yard together. Pepper had some injuries prior to Sara coming along and she used that to her advantage when Pepper would get the best of her. They would frolic and wrestle and when he would get the upper hand, she would simply use her weight and roll over on him. Due to his eggshell nature, it would hurt the injury to his back and he would yelp. This meant game over. Sometimes she would do the same while they were sleeping. She slept like a puppy her whole life and was most often on her back sprawled out. She would do the phat gurl roll and right on Pepper’s legs and here would come the game over yelp. It always woke everyone in the house but we all knew what it was and would go back to sleep.
Sara loved Pepper despite his grouchiness and grumpies. Pepper was a few years older than Sara and, with his injury, passed away before she did. The last couple years of her life were pretty sad. Even though we had Behr, the Pomeranian, she was still sad over the fact that her lifelong buddy was gone. I think she understood but did not know WHY he was not coming back.
The pen they shared was attached to the end of the car port. The part that opened into the car port was a big gate that was big enough to drive a car through when open. Any time I took the dogs for a walk or we had to take them for a ride, we would use that gate to let them out. The only other entry into the pen was via a chicken walk that Dad carved out of the side of the lawnmower shed. The floor inside the shed was elevated and Pepper’s injury did not allow him easy navigation of steps. When dad made the doggy door into the shed he had to put a ramp. Inside the lawnmower shed, dad fashioned a little room with a water powered heater, carpet and a radio. This would keep them out of the mud when it was too wet to be in the southern-style dog house mom made for them (Here I digress. Mom took a crate and some linoleum and 1×1 beams and fashioned a dog house with a door to the left on the front of the crate, a sloping roof, and a front “porch” for them to relax upon when the sun was too hot to lay in. While she said she was not a dog person, she did do silly things like that.) So yea, even though they were outdoor doggies, they were spoiled rotten.
When Pepper’s injury became too much for his old age, it paralyzed him. While he was not in pain, I did have the option to take him home and care for him or have him put down. Were I a stay at home mom like I was a few years later, I certainly would have kept my buddy with me but it was just too much. He never knew when he was going to use the potty and when he moved, he dragged the lower 50% of his body around and walked on his front paws. His paralyzed portion would bend in move in ways that made you hurt. He just didn’t feel it. I think that, the day we too Pepper to be put down, Sara knew. She and Pepper were sitting on the deck of the dog house. It was a warm sunny day and they were enjoying the weather like two old people. I imagine if there were rocking chairs, they would be your typical southern old couple complete with iced tea between them. I went to the house to pick up Pepper and immediately, Sara began to cover his face with doggy kisses. She had never done this before. She then followed me all the way to the car door as if telling me I had to be very careful with her buddy. I laid the old dog in the back seat and shut the door. I turned to see Sara sitting on the concrete behind me with the saddest puppy eyes I had ever seen. It was that point at which I think she knew. I sat down right there with her for about 5 minutes hugging her and telling her it was gonna be ok. When I got up, she dutifully went into the pen and turned around at the gate expecting me to close it. I did. She then sat at the corner of the pen/carport and watched me drive away with her Pepper.
A few years later, mom told me she howled soulfully for about 45 minutes after I had left. That broke my heart. After I came back, she looked at the car as if searching for him and when he was not removed from the car, she just hung her head and walked up the ramp into the shed. Sometimes she would come out and howl. It was such a sad howl that it made your spine shudder. Sara was so sad. Even when we would put Behr in the pen, it didn’t help. I guess nothing replaces your lifelong best friend. After a couple months, she began to dig. She would dig her way out under the fence. She would not leave, but would just sniff around in the part of the yard that was the direction in which we had taken Pepper. She was looking for him.
One time, I showed Sara where we had laid Pepper to rest. She watched me and Cal when we buried him but I don’t think she knew what was going on. We put him behind the lawnmower shed just outside the pen fencing. When I showed Sara what it was and told her, she just looked at me with her doggy eyes. Long gone was the spunky sparkle and it was since replaced with the look of someone who had lost something dear long ago. I took Peppers Collar and laid it in the circle of stones I had put to mark his grave site. Immediately, she walked into the circle and laid her head on his collar. Poor girl.
After that, she would sit at THAT part of the pen (it was just behind the chicken ramp) and watch the collar. I imagine she was talking to him the way people do when they visit their loved ones whom are deceased.
Sara was with us for a couple more years and then was laid to rest next to Pepper. Sara and Pepper had many adventures together and I will share those in other posts. For now, this one is too much and bringing tears to my eyes. I miss my Sara. She was my Uber Wiener dog. 🙂
What do YOU think?