Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dancing with the Bar(flies)

I have spent many hours in country bars watching people dance. Caren, my sister, is a great dancer, and the best place to practice is in bars. Watching cowboys waltz cowgirls around the dance floor is where I acquired my fondness for cowboys' butts in Wrangler Jeans. Honestly, there is nothing like a well-fitted cowboy's butt in a pair of Wrangler Jeans. Whoever decided that baggy pants were cool is an idiot and I am sure it wasn't a woman. There is nothing that makes me laugh more than watching a young man try to walk down the street while holding his pants up.

As I spent many evenings watching watching butts sashay by another friend, Bev, and I would give names to the "regulars". The regulars are the ones who are always there. The regulars know who they are and know of each other. The regulars nod at each other and give a little wave, but they couldn't tell anyone the other regulars' names. The names Bev and I gave to the dancers were based on their dancing, their outfits and their attitudes:

Eighth grade sweater: He was a tall, lanky, Napoleon Dynamite guy with red hair that wore the same argyle sweater! Every time I saw him he had that sweater on. It reminded me of sweaters that I saw in Junior High. I am sure he was a nice guy, but when one gets ready to go out and looks in the mirror, wouldn't one think, "Hey, I wore this sweater last night."

Princess and Cord: I think Cord was the guy's name, believe it or not and Princess was the girl he always danced with. When they danced Cord would twirl Princess around and around and around and around. Princess would just smile, never sweat, and never get dizzy. She reminded me of one of those ballerina princesses inside the music box I had as a young girl. That ballerina princess inside my music box had that permanent grin, never sweat, and never got dizzy.

Stinky Barry: Caren named this one. She said he was a good dancer, but unlike Princess he DID sweat. Caren insisted that if one was going to dance with Stinky Barry, one needed to do it early in the evening before it was too late.

Gumby and Pokey: I may be showing my age, but I hope readers remember a children's show called Gumby. Gumby was a flat, rubbery, green guy and he had a flat, rubbery horse named Pokey. Gumby didn't move very well. He was very stiff. Gumby and Pokey were a couple that always danced as if they were made of clay with a wire stuck through them. Of course, the only people that understood the joke were old people like Bev and I. 

Dick and Honey: Dick and honey were my favorite couple. They loved themselves. They thought they were the greatest dancers in the world. They would only dance during the band's break because others usually didn't dance during the band's break. But not Dick and Honey, because they wanted the dance floor all to themselves so everyone could see their sexy moves. And that is why I named them Dick and Honey because during one of their sexy moves I was sure that Dick said to Honey, "Remember, this is where you grab my *&%#, Honey!"

Unfortunately, I too was considered a "regular". The other "regulars" used to nod hello and wink, but they didn't know my name. But I am sure that they had a name for me, just like I did for all of them. 

Paco's Perspective

I twirl around and around and around and around. Anyone want to dance with me?

The Flip Side

Is Knucklehead my real name or my made up name?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

You've Gotta Play the Hand You're Dealt

I have Muscular Dystrophy, yep, I am one Of Jerry's Kid. MD is a disease that affects the muscles and as the years go by one gets weaker and weaker. My brother Brad, had MD, also, our parents were told not to make great plans for us because we would both most likely be dead before the age of sixteen. Our parents didn't do what the doctors told them to do. They took us home and treated us like any other children. They moved from Iowa to Arizona to get us out of the cold weather to better our chances of not getting pneumonia which is very deadly for MD sufferers. Our mother fought to enter us in the local public school one half block from our home. Her argument was they may not be able to walk, but they can think. This was 1963 way before PL 94-142 (the law that gave everyone the right to a public education). For some crazy reason, the principal at Holiday Park School in the Cartwright School District agreed. We both attended public school, we both attended public high school, we both went to college but Brad was unable to graduate when things became more difficult for him. (Brad died two weeks before his twenty-fifth birthday and he went down fighting.) I became a teacher even though a counselor told me I was wasting my time because no one would hire me. When I graduated from Arizona State University, I applied for a job in the Cartwright School District hoping that it was as forward thinking in 1978 as it was in 1963. It was and I have been teaching in the Cartwright District for thirty-two years.

I just spent my Spring Break in the hospital with pneumonia. Whenever the nurses and nursing assistances ask me what I "do" and I answer that I teach school they're eyes almost pop out of they're heads.  Unfortunately, they see me at my worst and weakest, so they are probably very confused as to how I could possibly teach when I can't even raise my hands above my head. As I was waiting for the paperwork to leave the hospital a sweet young (they're all young to me) nursing assistant named Ashley started up a conversation with me. Throughout our conversation she learned that I usually make an annual trip to the hospital with pneumonia, that I am way over my life expectancy, that I am still teaching, etc. And then she asked the question: How do you keep on doing it? 

Believe me there have been times when I have felt that I was too tired to keep doing it. But my answer to her was this my life and this is what I do. You just gotta play the hand you were dealt. Some people are dealt royal flushes and some people are dealt nothing. One must do the best with what one is given and many times it is damn hard work and many times thoughts of giving up flows through one's mind. If every time things got rough and someone gave up, this world would be in really bad shape. Turn your hand of two pair, threes high into a royal flush, if one believes it can be done it can. I am always working for the royal flush!

Because I am always working for the royal flush, I have a bad distaste for whiners. I can only listen to whining for just a short amount of time because whining doesn't make the task any easier and it definitely doesn't make it go away. After a short amount of time of whining, I have to try to lead people to their royal flush and if the whining continues, I can get very snippy (okay, I am a bitch). 
Another thing that keeps me going is my faith in God. One of my favorite songs is called He Keeps Me Singing. It was written by Luther B. Bridgers after he lost his wife and three children in a house fire. Now that is being dealt a lousy hand! When he was asked how do you do it?; he responded with the song He Keeps Me Singing. It is hard for many to believe that God is always with us. God has never promised a royal flush every time, all he has promised is that he will be with you through the good times and the bad times. I will know when God is ready for me fold and I also know that he will be there to rake in the deck.

Dear sweet (young) Ashley, 
Do the best with what you are given. Don't settle for the lousy hand dealt to you, but fight for the royal flush. Don't be happy with okay. Don't be a whiner (in our short conversation I think I can say you definitely are NOT a whiner). Remember, God is always with you!

Paco's Perspective

Who is Ashley? I bet she would love me! I wondered where you were!

The Flip Side

Is Ashley a doctor? My knee hurts and it is keeping me from catching those lizards!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Doc on the Rock

In my blog called Deserving, I mentioned Dr. Stonecipher, who had been our family physician for over twenty years. When the blog posted, Janet's husband, Dave, called me and asked if Dr. Stonecipher was the doctor that everyone called Stoney. Dr. Stonecipher was Dave's famliy's physician for many years and they knew through an organization called The Dons' Club, no not the mafia Dons, but a group that was interested in Arizona history and had an annual event at the Superstition Mountains. To top everything off Dave's sister-in-law works with Dr. Stonecipher at the jail in the Prescott area. Is that a "six degrees of separation" or what?

Needless to say I got in touch with him and made plans to go to Camp Verde to see him. The "sistahs", Chris, Caren and Rhonda, our "sistah from another mother", were in town a couple weeks ago and we made a "sistahhood" pilgrimage to Camp Verde. Illona who now doctors me and happened to be Dr. Stonecipher's P.A. some time ago came with us. She had applied to be a "sistah" and her hazing was having to be locked in a car over an extended period of time with a group of "sistahs", and with Caren at the wheel which means it is also a test in bladder control. Not only is Caren the Snack Nazi, but she is also the Pee Nazi. As she gets into the driver's seat, slowly she turns to the back and emphatically states, "Pee now or go in your purse because I am not stopping until we get to the destination." I always wondered why Caren carried such a big purse on trips. 

Of course on the way up, we solved the problems of the world. Really, if the "sistahs" were world leaders there would be no conflict. The "sistah" world leaders would get together and do a little shopping, eat a little Mexican food, drink a few margaritas (okay, drink a lot of margaritas), catch a movie and then later in the evening over wine the conflicts would be solved. Boys in Charge, GET A CLUE! So after solving the world's problems,betting what Dr. Stonecipher looked like after all these years, and laughing so hard that the "sistahs" ' mantra, "Stop making me laugh or I'm gonna pee!" was shouted a few times, we ascended on the Stonecipher household.

First, Dr. Stonecipher looks exactly the same just older, stocky little guy with cowboy boots and jeans. For a man in his seventies he is very spry and very busy. He is the medical director at the jail, he works in an office called Doc on the Rock, and he gives of his time to doctor folks at the local nursing home. But, I shouldn't have sprung Illona on him because he kinda didn't remember her and she kept saying, "Clearly, I don't make an impact on people!" We agreed because "sistahs"always agree, and we told her that maybe she needs to work on her forgetableness. We spent the morning chatting, reminiscing, laughing and drinking coffee which is not an intelligent choice with Caren at the wheel. Poor Bill and Helen Stonecipher, it was quite a "corndog day"! 

As we were getting ready to leave and saying our goodbyes, Dr. Stonecipher got up went into his mancave, the garage, and handed us a folded up piece of notebook paper. We all read it and cried! It was a letter that his 11 year old daughter, Jill Marie, wrote to him on the day of our brother, Brad's death twenty nine years ago.


I tried to call you at the hospital, but you already left. I just wanted to tell you that I know how hard it is to lose someone as close as Brad was and I am very proud of you. I know and so does everyone else that you did your best, but I know it even more. I feel that I can understand you and your feelings pretty good now. And right now I hurt because I know what Brad meant to you. Well, he meant the same to me. I am sure his family is very grateful to you for all those times you did pull him out. I guess this time God really thought is was time for him to come Home. I am very proud of you Dad and I love you very much.

Bo-Marie (Bo is her nickname)

PS. Be a "fighta" just like Brad!

We all knew how much Dr. Stonecipher cared about Brad, but not to the extent that he shared it with his family. Dr. Stonecipher and Illona are perfect examples of people who can be professionals but still care. Over the many years that I have made my yearly trips to the hospital, I have found that caring in the medical field is slowing slipping away. I would like to say to all the doctors out there, "It is okay to care, truly care for your patients."

If you live in the Camp Verde area and are looking for great doctor that truly cares, go to the office called Doc on the Rock, and tell Dr. Stonecipher Cathy Cunningham sent you. He remembers me, sorry,  Illona, I am the unforgettable one!

On the lighter side Illona is now an official "sistah", she will be given a sistahhood pin in an official pinning ceremony as soon as she designs the pin, has enough made for all of us and buys the wine for the ceremony. By the way we are accepting applications for "sistahs", if you get an outfit, you can be a "sistah", too.!

Paco's Perspective

Dr. Stonecipher is stocky? I am stocky! We could be buddies!

The Flip Side

I like corndogs. On a "corndog day" do I get to have corndogs?