My Left Knee

Well, folks, I am off to the hospital tomorrow for a total knee replacement.  I feel a haiku coming . . . .

Left knee replacement.
They say bionic woman,
I say scary stuff!

This feels surreal.  I am giving myself occupational therapy:

  • Attended a class on the surgery and rehabilitation processes
  • Borrowed a bath bench and walker from a friend
  • Purchased a suction grab bar for the shower
  • Taught Ed how to use my cell phone (he doesn’t have one) and how to run the washing machine
  • Ordered an iPad with keyboard so I won’t have to go down to the basement where my desktop computer resides
  • Put a few things in the freezer for future dinners
  • Even contemplated getting a sock aid.

I have talked to numerous friends who have had this procedure done, each one eager to give me the story of his or her knee replacement and to offer advice.  All of them have been helpful to me as I think through various options and questions.  I have been doing knee exercises since last summer — “religiously” (that’s always the adverb used).  I have visited a rehab facility that might be needed post-hospitalization if I can’t go directly home (2-story house, no extra room on the first floor).

A few more odds and ends to take care of today.

So off I go, and I’ll be in touch in a few days.  Betty


An Occupation Haiku Contest!

Shortly after the spurt of haiku postings and comments on this blog last Fall, Barb Schell, Director of the School of Occupational Therapy at Brenau University in Georgia, contacted me with the idea for a haiku contest among students and faculty in the School of Occupational Therapy and the English program.  The contest would honor and draw attention to both Occupational Therapy Month and Poetry Month.  She asked me to help pick the winners and It was a pleasure to take part in the process!

The winners were declared last week, and an award ceremony was held.  Cash prizes went to the student winners and Honorable Mentions to the faculty winners.  Judging was based on the Haiku entry as “in the moment,” experiential, a reflection of everyday-ness, and as having no need for explanation.

Student Winners

1st Place:  Sara Propes

My feet pound the sand
The earth is calm and quiet
I watch the sun rise

2nd Place:  Leigh Anne Viswanathan

The mountain is high
And the folding unending
I hate laundry day

3rd Place:  Kelley Cohron

This wine was on sale
And the shoes that I’m wearing
Sweet satisfaction

Faculty Honorees

1.  Nancy Fowler

No birds singing yet
Early darkness is deep, still
Rest falls on my heart

2.  Lori Gann-Smith

Sis, thread my needle
Stitches dim and dart away,
I can still help baste.

3.  Rudi Kiefer

Putting my shoes on
Is no longer a problem
Thank God for Oh-tee!

I enjoyed every single one of the entries, winners or not — each was a creative gem!

Congratulations to all and thank you for inviting me to take part.  And now, next year . . . . .

Hog Caller for the World*

If you are at all interested in your ancestors and have delved into census records, cemetery records, county history books, old correspondence, photographs of long ago, then you can appreciate that, at times, some very colorful stories and people are often discovered.

Ed is an avid genealogist with much success in tracing back both his family and mine.  If we know that a locale is a potentially “hot” spot on one of our family trees, we spend some time there — visiting cemeteries, public record offices, and local libraries.  We did this a few years ago in Kansas — the prairie state where my grandmother was born.  In the genealogy room of the Coffeeville Public Library, Montgomery County, Kansas, we tracked down Lizzie Bryant.

Lizzie was my great-grandmother’s niece.  We found a picture and a few paragraphs about her in the 125th anniversary edition of History and Families of Montgomery County, 1869-1994.

Lizzie lived from 1868 to 1941.  She is described as having had “a fine education” and as graduating from “the College at Winfield, KS.”  I find myself liking very much that she obviously valued education, which for women back in the 1880s was not to be taken for granted.  Yet, in an apparent about-face, Lizzie took to the “raw, rough life of outdoors and wild adventure.”  She “was afraid of nothing,” and is claimed to have harbored border gangs of men, to have ridden all night to bring food to the Indians in Oklahoma who were sick with typhoid, called on the sick and needy, and wrote obituaries for her friends that had “the beauty of an artist.”

In later years, Lizzie lived on a farm “out west of Elk City” and raised hogs.  It was reported that neighbors could hear her hog calling for miles around.   She was invited to hog call at the fair and “she put everyone to shame.”  From this first triumph, she went on to enter other hog calling contests, ultimately going to the state fair “with her new permanent wave, and a new fringe jacket.”  She came home with a ribbon for hog calling.

For any of you readers who do not know what a hog call is like, it’s sort of a rather high pitched and loud “OOOO–EEEE.”

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This is the fun of doing genealogy.  Disparagers of doing genealogy seem to think we are looking for royalty or famous people in our ancestry.  But that’s not the case.  It’s the Lizzie Bryants who give our search its sparkle — a hog caller with a permanent wave!


*With apologies to American poet Carl Sandburg — “Chicago:  Hog Butcher for the World.”