The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 1:10 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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Playing Nurse

By Gaye Hoots

I drove back to Advance a few days ago to accommodate a family member having surgery and to lend support to my granddaughter Tiffany. Her oldest is 18 and graduating from Davie High with plans to attend Davidson Community College to pursue a career in education. I will attend her graduation and hope to get some time with her. Tiffany works with autistic children and just delivered her second child, Mia. Mia was born with an extremely rare condition, Titinopathy, which is the absence of the largest muscle protein.

She has been in NICU since her birth, currently at Baptist Hospital, and on a ventilator. Tiffany or Jon stays with her most of the time as her condition changes rapidly and she has required 3 blood transfusions.

The last day I visited she was getting a massage from the PT therapist and seemed to be enjoying it. Baptist is having construction done and it was a long walk to the hospital. I also visited a friend who was in another building and a longer walk, but happy to find my friend recovering. From there I went to Forsyth Hospital to check on a family member who had surgery. This required a long walk inside the hospital and emphasized how out of shape I was.

Tiffany is hoping they will be able to wean Mia off the ventilator because they will not consider discharging her home until this is possible. Her condition is so rare that the medical personnel working with her have never had experience with it.

While most deliveries are uncomplicated, the NICU had 34 babies receiving care when I was there. Many of these mothers, like Tiffany, are living there with their babies. We had a long walk to get food there, and the food was pricier. This is expensive when they get all their meals there.

The care Mia is getting is excellent. All the nurses and therapists have been supportive of Tiffany, and we are grateful to them. Both Tiffany’s and Jon’s family and friends are praying and trying to assist them. This requires a lifestyle change for them and is expensive. The delivery services billed 30 thousand above what their insurance pays.

My other family member had a successful surgery at Forsyth Hospital, and I was impressed with the surgeon and nursing care. Presently they are making a recovery at home. The friend I visited is also home now and steadily improving.

I have my 79th birthday coming up next month, and each year more family and friends are facing medical issues, and many are dying. Faye died a year ago, Phil in December, and classmates have passed this year. A few weeks ago, a friend lost her son, and she died a few days later. Another friend just lost her son in a motorcycle accident, and yesterday I heard she had also passed.

This is the time to make good use of the time and health we have to spend with family and friends and to appreciate all the blessings we have.

Planning Surprises: A Gift of Love

By Julie Terry Cartner

As another Father’s Day just passed by, I thought of the many factors that make a man a father. Naturally, I thought of my own dad and the many attributes that make me still miss him, even 38 years after he passed on. He was a good man: a hard-working, down-to-earth farmer who loved the land, his farm, his hometown and the people within, and, of course, he loved his family. He was always willing to lend a hand to those in need, kind to animals, and, to my mind, one of his most admirable qualities was that he would take care of things that needed taking care of anonymously and expect nothing in return.

Dad was the salt of the earth type of man, quiet and, due to economic necessity, extremely frugal, so when he spent money outside of the norm, it was always a surprise. One time, we were at a restaurant that had ice cream. If we were allowed to get ice cream, it was always a single scoop, but the restaurant had huge ice cream concoctions, the largest of which put a scoop of every flavor they carried in an enormous bowl with every topping imaginable: chocolate syrup, strawberries, cherries, nuts, and whipped cream, to name a few. My siblings and I always dreamed out loud about how great it would be to get that, but we knew it was never a possibility. Even a single scoop in a cone was a rare luxury. But one night, Dad sneaked away from the table, found our waitress and ordered that ginormous treat. When she brought it to the table, Dad was thrilled at our reactions, starting with, no, that can’t be ours to joy when we found out it was indeed. Now, there’s no doubt that Dad loved ice cream, and he’d enjoy the treat himself, but the real pleasure for him was in surprising us and seeing the joy in our faces.

He shared his love with us in the little ways, fixing our lunches for school, teaching us gardening skills and the correct way to mow a lawn, teaching us to drive, and making sure we understood that caring for others, human or animal, was simply the right thing to do. We knew this and understood this, so when he’d break out of character and do something extravagant, we would always be taken by surprise.

As a parent, planning surprises for the children always gave me a thrill. One Christmas Eve my husband and I put a trampoline together in the front yard in the midst of a freezing rain. We could have just wrapped the box, but we wanted to give them the full experience with the completed project, far better than a cardboard box. As kids, they probably didn’t see the love that entailed, but as adults looking back, they understand.

Another time, we surprised the boys with tickets to a Braves game. I will never forget the joy on their faces. When we told them, I saw the same reactions that we had gone through with the ice cream concoction – disbelief, followed by joy.

This past Mother’s Day, my gift was a ride in a hot air balloon, something I’ve wanted to do forever. My husband is phenomenal at coming up with gift experiences that fill me with happiness. Now that the children are adults, he plots and plans with them to make the gifts even better. For Christmas they gave me tickets to see The Lion King, and even better, the majority of them went with us.

But planning and plotting surprises is not easy. Making decisions about dates, and days, and lodgings, and all the minutia of an event are difficult, stressful, and somewhat of a gamble. It’s challenging. However, knowing the amount of effort it takes to plan and orchestrate a surprise event makes the gift even more meaningful, far more valuable than the cost; it’s the gift of time. Truly, planning a surprise is a gift of love.

Happy Father’s Day to all the men who share their love by taking the time to plan surprises for their families.


By Marie Craig

A week ago, I had a family reunion at my home.  It was great to see all these people of various ages and locations.  Three grandsons are married to young women from the Western part of the United States.  As you might know, there are no fireflies, or as we say in the South, lightning bugs, out West.  They got gypped.  It was fun to see my family in the backyard watching and playing with fireflies.  There’s something about this wonderful creature that brings out the child in us.  They are so delicate and graceful as they swoop and try to lure mates.  It causes us to become the same way as we tenderly try to capture them for a few seconds and ponder “how in the world do you light up?”  I tried to research the science of this, and then abandoned it.  It’s just enough to see it and marvel.

     I did learn that they are endangered because of lack of habitat.  Also, they need darkness to do their thing, and all the many bright lights distract them.  The heavy use of pesticides to control undesired insects wipes them out.  Japan has parks dedicated just to firefly enjoyment for families.

     There are many kinds.  Synchronized fireflies are seen in the mountains, all blinking together.  In some places, instead of yellow lights, they have blue lights.

     Nature is versatile and wonderful.  It’s important to get outside and realize this as our early summer progresses and to have joy with our families and share things as nostalgic as watching fireflies.