Watching this evening’s news I was moved to tears…
An RN, assigned to a Covid unit and overwhelmed with grief, sobbing uncontrollably.
…my heart just broke.
The Medical Community is in need.
…and there is something we all can do to help them.
Last year, about this time, I reported to medical to take an annual hearing exam.
On my way out there were sounds coming from a nearby exam room…
”Anyone in that condition should never have reported to work.”, I thought to myself.
That was Wednesday.
It hit me Friday…the first day of the Christmas shutdown.
It was bad. I don’t know what this is…but it’s bad.
There is no way I am going to expose anyone else to this.
Nancy and I cancelled our holiday plans.
My best friend’s Mother’s birthday party…not a chance. We RSVP’d our disappointment at not being able to attend.
The annual family Christmas eve gathering…no way.
Christmas dinner with family…out of the question.
Nancy and I spent a quiet Christmas together…just the two of us.
In mid-February I retired.
At that time cases of Covid-19 had just entered the U.S.
March 13th, 2020 was the last time I got a haircut from Monica, my longtime friend/stylist/mental therapist.
Nancy now cuts my hair…and she’s getting pretty good at it.
The medical experts suggested guidelines…became our guidelines.
I do not care what political pundits opine.
Some of our friends believe that we are overreacting.
I do not care to see how socially active you are and braving this threat.
What I see…
Our Medical Community is overwhelmed.
WE have an obligation to listen to what they have to say.
Take their advice on what we need to do and what not to do.
At some point in our lives…
We WILL need the help, the care…the empathy of many healthcare professionals.
They need our help.
Nancy and I will do our best to stay out of the way.
For as long as it takes…
And to all healthcare professionals out there…please know that you are very much appreciated and we wish you well.
You are our heroes.
Every one of you.
Nancy and I will share another beautiful, quiet Christmas celebration…together.
Just the two of us.
…and there is nothing left to say, but
I will start with this.
“I am a huge fan of Wikipedia”
We recently watched the film “Downton Abbey”.
In years past, we had followed the PBS series faithfully until Anna, lady’s maid to Lady Mary, was assaulted.
Upset by the direction the story was taking…we discontinued watching the series.
After watching the movie, we realized there were too many unfilled blanks. So we started over.
The entire series…
Then watched the movie…again
Through all of this, Wiki provided side notes from actor’s backgrounds to the Grantham/Crawley Family tree.
After watching all of that, we began to explore the filmography of individual actors from the series.
Dame Maggie Smith, who provided comic relief during the series and…our personal favorite.
Julienne Fellow’s contribution prompted us to revisit the film “Gosford Park”.
A film full of British Cinematic Royalty…including Dame Maggie Smith as well as Jeremy Swift, who played Septimus Spratt, the butler of the Dowager Countess (Dame Maggie Smith).
This led to “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”…more Cinematic Royalty.
Bill Nighy led us to the film “Emma”.
Taking a break from Cinematic Royalty, I queued up a movie on Amazon Prime that caught my attention, called “Fast Colors”. Serendipity…
This movie stars the beautiful young actress Gugu Mbatha Raw.
We soon realized why she looked so familiar. She played in Apple TV’s “The Morning Show”.
This serendipitous discovery led us to the film called “Belle”.
This young lady “Is” British Cinematic Royalty.
“Belle” led us to “Summerland”…co-starring Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey’s Mrs. Crawley)
Taking a break from endless movie night after night we watched PBS Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Awards.
It featured Cynthia Erivo, singing a tribute to Roberta Flack.
Oh my Gosh!!!! This young lady is Cinematic Royalty as well, starring in the 2019 film “Harriet”.
I suppose you know what’s on for “Movie Night” tonight…
Today is the 26th of May, 2020.
We have been locked down since March 13…
Several years ago, our daughter and family were given the opportunity to study abroad in Istanbul and away they went…on an adventure that continues to this day.
From our distant view, it has been an adventure encompassing all of the imaginable ups and downs associated with raising two small children. That, in itself is an adventure. But, imagine living that “learning curve”…in a new world.
They have done an amazing job. The children are completely immersed in the culture and learning the language as they go. As Grandparents around the world know…FaceTime video conversations are treasures that only a few years ago were non-existent.
And yes, they are dealing with the Covid-19 Pandemic just as we are here in America.
This is a worldwide event.
It was just before Christmas of 2018.
…the final week before we shut down for a long and well deserved holiday.
A delayed project or a lower than usual volume in the workload allowed me to break away from the shop to wish some of my colleagues a safe and Merry Christmas.
The campus is quite large and a brisk mid-morning walk on a beautiful December morning is just what I need.
To the far side of the campus I go…to visit the tool design group…some of the brightest and best in the industry.
Well-wishes delivered, its time to head back.
On the way back I passed through the machine shop, continuing my mission to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, exiting the door at he opposite end of the shop to complete my mission.
Making my way along the road…I continue my brisk pace.
Along the way, I noticed an employee struggling to replace a propane bottle on his forklift. I cross over the road to offer a helping hand…
I was startled…
He should not be here…
I have ever seen anyone so close to death.
I had been thrust into a scenario I could never have imagined.
Concentrating on the task at hand we finished the task.
At odds about what I need to do…I wished him a Merry Christmas and continued my walk, now tasked with a new mission.
My responsibility moving forward is becoming apparent.
I’m brought to tears
I have to get involved
Upon returning to my workstation, I made the call.
“Medical”, answered the nurse. After a brief conversation, she promised to have the Nurse Practitioner call as soon as he was available.
A short while later…
“Hello Mitchell, this is James, how can I help you”
I replied “James, thank you for getting back with me.”
“I’m sure this is probably the strangest request you may ever have, but…could you do a Wellness Check on an employee?”, I asked
A slew of questions followed…regarding my relationship with this employee.
“No, I am not his supervisor. No I am not his lead man. I do not work with him. I merely encountered him and have to get him some help”
Later, through co-workers, who worked with this employee,
I learned of his health issues.
He did get the help he needed…
His life was saved.
Surely, I was not the first person to see that he was in need.
His immediate supervisor allowed him to get on a forklift in his impaired condition putting, not just himself…but, others at risk.
Everyone in my chain of command received and e-mail from me asking, “How did this happen?”
Everyone in this employees chain of command should have been admonished for allowing this to happen.
Update: May of 2020
I retired in March of this year, but stay in touch with my friends from work…
I received a text yesterday.
I am saddened to hear of his passing.
I can’t tell you how many times I have passed along one of my go to mantras…
”It’s best not to get involved”
So many times, in my career as a toolmaker, someone would ask about a project or a quagmire they found themselves in…“Recovery Mode”, I like to call it.
It is the nature of the beast
…I would look at them and say, “What is my inner being screaming?” and they would recite the mantra,
“It’s best not to get involved.”
I will always get involved…
by Patti Emmel
Special Edition of Charles City Press
April 23, 1985
A love that’s lasted
Married 61 years
Charles and Alethia Pettitt, Charles City, Iowa are an example that marriages can be happy successes.
By Patti Emmel
It was a cool October 31st in Iowa in 1919. The trees crackled as the Halloween wind whistled through their leafless branches.
Charles Pettitt, a fifteen year old boy, directed his horse named Tom, as he sat in the carriage behind. Out of the families drive and down the road the two traveled, moving quickly as the boy held the reigns tightly in shy anticipation.
Crossing the railroad tracks, the house came into sight. He held a few jitters in his stomach as he turned into the yard.
Then he saw her.
He thought she was awfully pretty when she came out of the house, her brown hair blowing in the wind. She was 17, and Alethia Logan was her name. They had just met 15 days earlier at his first day spent at the Otranto, Iowa, consolidated school.
His family had just moved into the area.
He didn’t like her at first. She had laughed at him in front of the whole class during that first day, when he got out his lunchbox but didn’t know where to sit and stood in the middle of the room looking at everyone else. But, she was his neighbor and she didn’t have a ride to the Halloween school dance, and he did live awfully close.
Now, 66 years and four later, Alethia and Charles Pettitt, 1002 21st Ave., Charles City, are still together. Married more than 61 years, the couple still laughs playfully at one another, and more importantly, laughs with each other. “He lived on the wrong side of the tracks back then,” Alethia joked. “No, you lived on the wrong side of the tracks,” Charles replied. “Anyway, it wasn’t love at first sight,” he said. However, love obviously entered the picture somewhere, and the couple claims it is something that has only increased as they have become older.
What are the secrets to have a good, lasting marriage?
“Well, we tried to follow our vows. So many people today don’t seem to follow them.” Alethia said.
“You’ve got to talk things out. Talk about everything,” Charles said.
“That’s right. Don’t keep secrets.” Alethia patted her palm on the couch. “We never kept secrets. And you have to kind of know each others business in expenditures.”
Charles continued. “Put it in one pocketbook. You both have to agree where the dollar will be spent.”
The couple also stressed much of the success of their marriage is due to their faith and relationship with God. They have attended the United Church of Christ at Colwell, located four miles northeast of the spot where they farmed, since the fall of ’49. They also attend Sunday school and read the Bible every morning. “I’m always learning something new from that,” Charles said.
The couple was honored last year for their 60th wedding anniversary, receiving greetings from President Reagan and Nancy, Alethia said.
Throughout their lengthy marriage, they became the parents of two children: a daughter, Anita Darrow, Charles City; and a son, James Pettitt, who died seven years ago of multiple sclerosis. The couple also has five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
“There’s been ups and downs,” Alethia said. We had hard times – the depression and when we first got married. There was a time when we got $5 for cream and thought we were rich. But we made it. We’re still here!”
“I wouldn’t start that way again, though,” said Charles. “I got married and took someone I loved and about starver her!.”
“Oh, it wasn’t that bad,” chirped Alethia, who often addresses her husband as ’honey.’
And what advise would they offer to newlyweds?
“When there’s a problem, a friend of mine used to put it, ‘lay it out on the table; let’s have it,’ ” Charles said.
“Well,” Alethia continued, “I think the whole family should go the same way. With so many, the wife goes her way, and the kids go theirs and the husband goes his. But, it works better if you all go the same way.”
Alethia held up a ceramic lamp at the end of the interview.
“See,” she said, “I painted this.” It featured an Iowa scene of a boy driving a buggy into a yard and a girl coming out of a house.
Below, it said, “October 31, 1919. Our first date.”
The first of many good memories for Charles Pettitt and Alethia Logan Pettitt.
After a short career mowing lawns and throwing newspapers I finally landed a real job.
Mott’s 5 & Dime, downtown Grand Prairie, Texas…the Heart of the Metroplex
Mott’s offered a little of everything, from sewing thread to Tropical fish.
Stock-boy was my job title and proud to be working.
$1.36 cents per hour.
Remember, this was 1970 and back then that figure would buy you 3 gallons of gasoline and get change back.
It didn’t take long for the newness to wear off…my primary function was to care for all of the pet department.
A variety of birds, from Canaries to Parrots…Rodents, from Mice to Gerbils…Tropical fish from Angels to Zebras.
And Henry…a Spider Monkey, was the largest of the bunch and, as close as I came to really getting to know him, always had a disposition of someone living their life in a cage.
Mutual respect…we shared dispositions and second guessed our career choices.
We’ve bottomed out.
Working one Saturday, I took my lunch break across the street at Don Juan’s Romantic Mexican Food.
There is a bit of humor in the name, but you must know that in 2016, this drive through celebrated fifty years in business and has a special place in many hearts around these parts.
Glancing up from my premium seat at the window counter, I see one of my classmates entering the restaurant with a classmate from grade school that had moved away sometime before entering junior high school.
They had been to Mott’s to pay me a visit and directed to Don Juan’s Romantic Mexican Food Restaurant, where I sat quietly pondering my place in the universe.
Connie and Deborah took a seat and tried their best to coax me into conversation.
As a grade schooler, Connie, Deborah and I had been close…and there I sat, bottomed out with two of the sweetest, kindest girls I had ever known…between me and the door.
Life’s circumstances, teenage complexion and grooming equates self implosion, retreat…shell intact.
For years I have relived this moment as a skeleton in my closet.
I wish I could tell you how many times I have replayed this scenario over and over in my mind, seeking a better outcome. And, given the same circumstances, the outcome is the same.
I contacted Connie a week or so ago to apologized for my “Less than receptive disposition” on that day.
She didn’t recall the incident and, of course, that’s all fine.
I have remembered it enough for the both of us.
Why couldn’t I have, at the very least, offered to buy them both a good old Don Juan’s fountain Coca Cola and a Guacamole Chalupa.
There’s still time
….and so, as I was floating in the pool this evening I was feeling so thankful for what I have and reflecting on a time in my life, so long ago…when my youthful love struck heart was broken and…sitting in the swing on our lawn, in tears, asked God…”What is my purpose here, I am failing at this, take me now!”
I believe we have all been in this place in our lives.
The answers to these questions I asked so long ago have been revealed, at various times, along the way.
And, this moment…was one of those times…when you give thanks to God for the reveals along the way.
To those in despair…there are no guarantees in life, there is only hope that, at some point in life, small, seemingly insignificant events, will reveal themselves…as treasures you never would have realized had you taken another path.
Timelines, your timeline has a dynamic that is unseen until it is revealed.
Hope is yours to treasure.
As I’ve grown older I’ve tried to become more tolerant toward things that, in the past, have irritated me.
Not so much the irritation, the irritability, the behavior.
Insects…I saved a hornet from drowning the other day while in the swimming pool…that’s no way for a Hornet to die!!!
I saved a Hornet…
Flies…I’ve become more tolerant of flies.
I think of them now as a species made up entirely of females.
Apparently, I’m wildly attractive to females.
And looking back, I’ve always been that way…
Picnics, outdoor events, sipping a bottle of “Perrier” poolside…
Snakes (not insects)
…an animal species I have yet to embrace.
Perhaps if I were bitten…just once, I might be less afraid of snakes.
But, I seriously doubt it.
The headline would go something like this,
“Local man dies after being bitten by a non-venomous snake.
The cause of death was inconclusive.”
Spiders…I wish I could be a fan.
They are too small for me to verify their demeanor. Sometimes they act aggressive…I yield…until they become so pushy, the “Alpha Whatever Iam” kicks in and “Captures & Releases” to the wild.
But Honey Bees…you’ve got to love them.
A predominately female species. Approximately 1000 Male fertile Drones, ten’s of thousands of infertile female Worker Bees…
Now, as much as I love Honey Bees, I have been stung by one…
and their sting hurts just as much as a Hornet.