Alone again.

As a child, I spend a lot of my time alone, isolated from the rest of my family by the strict rules of my mother who believed in encapsulating in certain areas of her life. It was tough for me, especially when I started elementary school because I couldn’t bring any friends home which would have been great if someone had taught me how to make a friend. I did, in time, make one friend; his name was Henry, and he was my buddy.

In retrospect, I think Henry found me and took the effort to become my friends because he saw the loneliness. Today, thinking back on our friendship, I honestly think Henry was the first person I loved; not love in the physical sense, but the love of having someone care and caring in return. We met in the second grade, and during those years, we walked to school together, talked and collected glass containers for their deposit, but he never came to my house; he couldn’t because he was black and I was a strawberry-blonde white boy with freckles. But we were real friends. I lost track of him the summer of my fourth grade when my family moved from our apartment over our store on Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota to a house in Bloomington, Minnesota where I had to walk to school alone; alone, scared and lonely.

            It wasn’t too long after we moved that Henry and his family also moved. I don’t know where they relocated to, nor could I find out; I had lost Henry. Several years later, when I was working as an Emergency Room Orderly (we weren’t called ER techs back then) at Minneapolis General Hospital, a white lady came in with someone who was ill. She looked very familiar to me, but I couldn’t place where I knew her from. After her friend was taken into an exam room, she came over to me and said, “are you my honey boy?” There was only one person who ever called me “Honey Boy” and that was Henry’s mom because she said my hair looked like golden honey in the summer sun. I melted! I literally lost it. I put my arms around her and broke down, crying like a baby right in front of everyone. My charge nurse, Olive Lindbergh, took us into a private room and told me to take a break.

            The first thing Henry’s mom said to me before I could even ask, was “He’s gone, baby. Henry is with God now.” I almost fainted. (I’m not ashamed to say, that as I write this now, I am crying.) When I calmed down, she told me told me that Henry had tried to contact me by leaving notes at our store, but I never got any of them. He had wanted me to know where they were moving to and how to get in touch, but I never got them. Then, the summer of his eighteenth birthday, while sitting on the front stoop of their house, Henry died peacefully. His heart, the biggest heart I’ve ever known in my life, gave out. Henry had been born with a heart defect, but he never told me because he didn’t want me to pity him, he wanted me to be his friend.

            I stayed in touch with Henry’s mom and dad until they too left me to join Henry. That was when I really started to feel alone. I had no family support, nor good friends in my life. I had only me and a need to be with people. I went on in my life searching for a connection, a person who would be like Henry; kind, smart and always there for me; needless to say, I made a lot of tragic mistakes along the way. Now, I’m seventy-five years old and alone again, only this time it’s worse than ever before because I’m losing some of my survival abilities to cope with life in this day and age.

            I am alone again, and this time it’s different. (continued in “Loneliness”)

Mother’s Day

I was asked to repost this and another paper I wrote during my first year in college.

Sunday, three A.M. a full moon illuminates a forest alive with night creatures. Their eyes aglow as if in wonderment as our emergency beacons pierced their world. Only the sounds of our engine broke the silence as we raced through the night. No need for the siren. We were ten miles from the nearest major road, fifteen from any community and hadn’t seen another vehicle since leaving the hospital garage.

My partner, a trainee, scanned the road ahead for a sign of our contact while I wondered what we were rushing into.  Our only information was a call received by the dispatcher requesting an ambulance to an isolated rural area. The caller did not reveal the nature of the emergency and his location directions were vague. He said someone would meet us on the main highway. That made me nervous! I decided to radio the dispatcher for police assist. Unfortunately for us, that meant a town constable at home in bed twenty miles away. On the plus side, the dispatcher at the time was my wife.  As she still liked me back then, she decided to request assistance from the Sheriff’s office and two other police departments from adjacent jurisdictions.

Suddenly, headlights flashed in front of us. A large, dark car pulled out from the shoulder of the road, its driver waving frantically as he turned onto a narrow, gravel township road forming a dust cloud between us.

Maintaining a safe distance back, we followed the dust cloud at a slower speed allowing my partner time to note any landmarks he could radio to the dispatcher.

Abruptly, the dust dissipated revealing the dark car with its mysterious driver stopped next to an open grassy area.  A dirt drive wound its way up to what appeared to be an old basement dwelling set good eighty yards from the main road.  We stopped a few feet behind him.  As I exited our rig in an attempt to approach and question the driver he silently pointed toward the dwelling then sped off down the gravel road.

My attention turned to the house. It was built on a low knoll, had large front windows and, thankfully, was well lit both inside and out.

“Something is missing!” I whispered. “No vehicles, people, dogs or movement.”

Slowly we inched our way up the drive. When almost parallel to the dwelling, it made a sharp right to an exterior wood frame, enclosed stairway atop the knoll. There, in the glare of our floodlights lay the body of a woman. Dressed in a blood-stained, pale green nightgown, her head turned away from us; she appeared to be sleeping,  but it was an illusion. An obvious gunshot entry wound to the back of her head told a different story.

Immediately, my instincts and training took control.

“Shut off all our lights, give me the radio and get your ass out of this rig now!” I yelled to my partner. “Hide in the woods beyond the tree line!” Next thing I knew he was running fast and low towards a large pine tree.

I radioed the dispatcher, “We have a D.O.A with G.S.W.!  We need help fast!”  *

Now, what do I do?  Sitting in a darkened ambulance, on a small rise next to an illuminated earth home, I was a sitting duck. If the shooter was still there, one well-aimed bullet could have hit me or the large oxygen tank and I am history.

What if there are more victims inside? What if they are still alive? Call it brave or insane; I had to know. It was my job to save lives.

Flashlight in hand, I made my way through the shadows to the stairwell. Standing to one side, I held it high above my head to disguise my position and exact size as I peered through the door. Looking down inside, I saw a single, bare bulb ceiling light, a child’s bicycle in a corner and a second body at the foot of the stairs. As the woman’s, it was face down in a pool of dark, clotted blood. It was a man with a gunshot exit wound in the back of his head.

The bicycle – is there a child here?

Against all policy, I descended the stairs, stepped over the man’s body and entered the living room to a scene of rage and anger. Furniture overturned, appliances were broken, dishes shattered and personal items everywhere but no child.

Cautiously I searched the remaining rooms. I saw a lifestyle of modest income and means but no child or other bodies. I was relieved.

Retracing my path, I exited the house to call in what I’d seen. As I reached the radio to give the dispatcher update, the dark car returned. As if in slow motion, it appeared on the gravel road and turned onto the grassy area in front of the dwelling.

Cutting my report short, I waited and watched. The car stopped, and the headlights went dark. The only light was from the house and beautiful, setting full moon.

I could hear the radio in the ambulance as the dispatcher is telling me the closest police unit it still fifteen minutes from our location.

Estimating the distance from my position to the car at forty yards, I realized I did not have many options.

I saw one person, the driver sitting behind the wheel staring at the house seemingly ignoring me.

Was this a neighbor, friend, relative, curiosity seeker or…?

I had to know! I could not be out here in the middle of the wilderness trapped by my fears.

Heart in throat, I walked to the car while keeping my flashlight trained directly on his face.  I got within ten feet when he suddenly turned on the interior dome light and looked at me. He was young, late teens, early twenties, long black hair, average size and scruffy appearing. He had a strange, peaceful look on his face, a calm as though his burdens were gone.

As I attempted to talk to him, I visually searched the interior of the car with my flashlight. He had no less than eight guns and what appeared to be hundreds of rounds of ammunition scattered over the seats.

He asked me, “Are they dead?”

I believe so.” I replied.

“Good!” he yelled as he slammed his foot onto the gas pedal and sped through the grass to disappear down the gravel road.

There was a return to silence as a soft glow in the east announce\d the rising of the sun.

It was going to be a beautiful Mother’s Day – for most.

G.S.W. = Gunshot Wound

D.O.A. = Dead on arrival

Monday – why I do not hate Mondays!

Ok, so I sound strange. “Everybody hates Mondays, dude! What’s wrong with you?” 

Umm, does the word different explain anything to you? 

I am different, unique, special and guess what? There’s only one person on this planet with my DNA to prove it.

“We get it!, but, how can you be different and not be a Democrat?” (I was actually asked this question.)

“We Democrats are all free-thinkers, each special in his or her own way. We do not adhere to the fascistic commands of the orange-head in our WH!”

The only part of that comment I agree with is “special in his or her own way..” You got me there guys, but the remainder is about as logical as me trying on Speedos. It ain’t gonna work, no way, no how!

Therein lies my argument with the philosophy of the Democrat automatons. 

I love this definition of a “free-thinker” from the Urban Dictionary: 
“One who relies solely on themselves to make judgments based on their own perception of the world rather than blindly accepting what is told or implied by an outside influence, which is usually some kind of authoritarian figure.”

“Usually associated with non-conformists…Very few people in this world have realized that they have access to and the ability to perform independent thought. While everyone has the ability, only the freethinker uses it, because he knows what he wants.” (Chesterfield, 2016)

The Democrat leadership propagandizes this philosophy of having free-thinks lead the party, but it’s a lie. No political correctness allowed: it’s a flat outright lie. It’s as though the rank and file Democrats believe in one form of Democracy while their leadership believes in another.

Now, that said, what the hell does this have to do with my liking Mondays?

So glad you asked! 

On Monday mornings I pick up a case of fresh fruit at Sam’s to take to the Student Assistance office at my Alma mater, Meramec Community College in Kirkwood, MO. When I arrive at school I am always greeted by beautiful, young faces of youth who strive hard every day to succeed in college and get ahead but battling the problems of poverty.

I see blacks, white, Asian, Native Americans with various disabilities lining up to get to class on time to learn! There are young adults confined to wheelchairs due to conditions beyond their control who ask nothing more than a chance to learn and excel. Each and every one of these young people is marching to his or her own band; free-thinkers not chained to ideology, nor restricted by politics. 

For me, Mondays are my refueling days; the time when I recharge my batteries with the help of these energetic leaders of tomorrow.

My Trek thru Time – Intro

I haven’t published a personal post for quite a while; to my loyal followers, I apologize. I was in an accident March 09 of this year where I came close to being paralyzed from a neck injury; fortunately, I wasn’t. While recuperating, some friends and a relative or two urged me to start writing my memoirs; it gave me pause to reconsider some things about myself and my outlook on life.

`           My life has not been easy, nor has it been ordinary; what it has been was one emotional struggle after another each a lesson unto itself. Since coming into this arena we call earth, I’ve been forced to attend challenging classes not found in any school curriculum. I’ve learned hard lessons that might have destroyed a weaker man; I won, I overcame adversity to finally, for once in my life stand tall, proud of who I am.

I would like to share some of the insight I’ve gained.

With your permission, I will begin this by stating that I will never again apologize to any member of my family for my past or present actions. I do not emphasize that to be mean-spirited or arrogant; I do it to forewarn any who may read my words.

If I were to apologize, it would be to myself for not getting the help I needed when I could afford it. Therefore, my introduction intends to be an opening of a massive door into my being, into my very inner pains and terror to release what was and allow what is to enter. It is my challenge to the shadows that once brought only loneliness and anxiety to an outcast, punished for not meeting the expectations of those who should have loved.

I will speak of the unseen tears shed over many years; the cries in the night unanswered, a family always out of reach. The trauma that permanently destroyed a lonely child leaving him to struggle as an adult.

If I were better educated and more intelligent, I think I might find worthier terminology for what I feel, and it’s causation, but I’m not so I’ll take a SWAG (scientific wild-ass guess) and call it: Abandoned Child Syndrome [1] – Parental Alienation Syndrome [2]

I will share my life story in the hope of maybe, one day being able to cry again; to shed the tears suppressed even now.

Papa Nyk

[1]              Overview on Abandoned Child Syndrome – Its Causes and Symptoms, Threads of Feeling (2018), (last visited Sep 16, 2018).

[2]              Linda Turner, Abandoned child syndrome Parental Alienation Pas (2018), (last visited Sep 16, 2018).

Things I Never Told Nana


My father and I never bonded, hell sometimes I wondered if he even knew who I was. From the time I was born until age 15 when he died, he only actually communicated to me twice. Oh yeah, once in a great while he told me to do things, but that’s talking, not communicating. My bad, I forgot, he taught me the difference in spelling lavatory and laboratory when I was about eight, but that was it for father/son bonding. I can remember as a young kid how I wanted to badly for my dad to notice me the way he seemed to notice my two older brothers, especially the older one, Ronnie. But he didn’t: as a matter of fact neither did Ronnie.

I first began to notice this when we moved from our house in Camden, a suburb of Minneapolis to an apartment over the “dairy store” my parents bought at 1119 East Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis. In the front room, which was over the front part of the store, my parents had their bed set up in a closet area. Next was the living room with an inside staircase to the store, then my brothers’ room (I had two brothers) was next to the dining area where the space heater was. At the back wall of the dining area was a door into the kitchen, bathroom and my room sort of behind the refrigerator (a Kelvinator, in case you wanted to know). My room was the darkest as it only had one window which had a large tree overhanging it. I always wanted to climb that tree but never did because I was afraid of heights: the fact is heights still bother me but not as bad as when I was a kid.

The kitchen had a door leading out to a very scary old set of wooden stairs leading down to the dirt parking lot in back of the store. About halfway down, there was a small landing then where they made a left angle (if you were ascending) turn and ran adjacent to the “bottle shed” where we stored all the empty refundable bottles. Everything was refundable back then, well not exactly everything, I wasn’t, but then that was my fate. Almost from the time I could walk, it was my job to sort the empty bottles by make, size and what they were used for. I learned to hate Grain Belt and Hamm’s beer bottles cause their labels were always sticky.

Constructed of corrugated tin panels over the wood frame on a dirt floor, the “bottle shed” had no heat in winter and no air conditioning in summer. Winter wasn’t so bad, but summer was a killer with the heat, humidity, and bugs. Come to think of it, we had those same three problems in the apartment, the bugs especially in my room because it was almost right over the shed. I can remember having a lot of those sticky fly traps things hanging over my window and the doorway. The spiders never had to weave webs in our home, the fly traps provided their meals.

My room was the coldest one in our apartment, but I got used to it. Guess that’s why I can’t sleep well when it gets too warm in my bedroom now. Thank God for central air conditioning, back then we cooled at night by setting a block of ice in a large bucket then having a fan blow over it. If that didn’t work, we soaked our sheets, then got as much water out of them as possible before wrapping ourselves in them to lay down in front of the ice block. I’m surprised I never wet the bed, then or now.

I don’t recall my mother ever coming into my room at bedtime for anything other than to tell me to put the book down and go to sleep. My dad didn’t even come in to do that. Nope, I never heard: “Did you brush your teeth? Did you go to the bathroom? Did you say your prayers? I wasn’t subjected to any of those ridiculous practices. To this day, I don’t know if my brothers were either because they slept near mom and dad; I didn’t have to.

I was lonely at times, but I had my good friend Teddy with me. Yep, you guessed it, I had a real Teddy Bear. Nana gave him to me, and I named him Teddy; I was talented even as a child. Nana told me that Teddy was named after President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt so I should be proud; I was, and still am.

I told Teddy everything – all my hidden stuff and more. Even things I tried talking to Nana about, but they might hurt her to know. I don’t know why I felt that way other than the fact that I never, ever wanted to hurt her in any way. I guess I was afraid of losing her love yet knew Teddy would always love me: he was the brother I never had.

For awhile, I wanted to call Nana and tell her everything, but I didn’t dare. Back in the 1950s, we didn’t have cell phones, and long distances calls were expensive. There was no way I could hide calling on our phone, and I didn’t have money to use the pay phone on the corner. I think I once tried to call her on the police call phone next to the pay phone, but the operator told me to hang up. It was ok though, I probably could not have heard Nana with all the buses and streetcars making noise. I liked the streetcars but the buses always coughed black, smelly smoke when they started to more.

My older (by 3 years) brother David hated Teddy, but I think he hated me even more because he would do things to hurt me. He would think it funny to steal from me, lie about me and even harm Teddy. Once, he even cut Teddy’s neck so bad I had to suture it up. That’s when I learned how to sew, not real well but I did suture my Teddy until Nana could show me how to do it properly. She said I did a good job of basting it then gave me a curved needle and heavier thread to “heal your Teddy.”  I actually enjoyed hand sewing for many years and later in life when I began getting arthritis, I started to do satin stitch embroidery. I figured that is Rosie Greer could do needlepoint, so could I.

“Be sure you sew the cloth, not the fingers!” was Nana’s credo. Funny, even now, some sixty odd years since last we spoke, I can still hear Nana’s voice. She was a born teacher; one that never stood at the head of a class but she was always at the head of my class.










The Wisdom of My Nana

As a child, I often sat with my grandmother beneath her grape arbor in Mankato, MN, there to talk and listen to her stories of nature. She was not a learned person in the sense of a formal education, but she was a sagacious woman in the ways of the world. Tragically for me, and the world I lost her when I was fifteen.

Before she died, she had to have one of her legs removed because diabetes had shut down the circulation and she was developing gangrene. I lived in Minneapolis, MN, at the time so I went to Mankato, (90 miles) and stayed at the hospital with her from the night before surgery, during surgery and most of the day after, when I had to leave. That was the last time I saw her or heard her voice. Her last words were, “we will share our love of nature under the arbor again one day.” I miss her wisdom.

Starting yesterday, and continuing throughout the night and into today, St. Louis, MO is experiencing severe storms. The thunder rages like the sounds millions of buffalo stomping over the plains in the days that were. Lightning, the arrows of Father Sky, piercing the darkness,   illuminating their way while torrents of rain assail their path. These were the visions my grandmother gave to me. She made me understand that nature is not science, nature is alive.

When I would ask her why storms came, she would tell me about how she had to do the spring cleaning of her house and that Mother Nature was no different.

“Mother Nature’s house is much bigger than ours.”, she would say. “She has more work to do, so she tells Father Sky he has to help her.”

“Make the Sky Buffalo run over the cloud prairies to warn all the creatures that we are going to clean. Wake them with the light of your arrows that they may prepare and seek shelter.”

But Nana, the wind blows so hard it shakes my brain to pieces!

“Child, pay attention, it is rare that the wind begins by blowing that hard but if it should then you best hide down in the root cellar cause a tornado may be coming. You don’t recall cause you were only two, but a big twister came through the town in 1946  killing eleven people and injuring a hundred or so more. They are very dangerous.”

Does Father Sky send tornadoes to hurt people?

“I don’t think so. I’m not sure what causes twisters but, like everything else in nature, they serve a purpose. Perhaps it’s a way for nature to make sure humans know who is really in charge. An old Lakota lady once told me that twisters were nature’s way of cleaning out the weak and cutting new paths for the strong. Heard tell on the radio that cold and warm air crashing together cause them. I just do not know.”

What happens to the animals when a tornado comes?

“Sadly, many animals are killed by twisters because they have nowhere to hide from them. Humans, at least the smart ones know enough to find shelter when they can.”

Nana, does the Sky Father always send twisters when he sends the winds?

“No darling, sometimes he just sends the big winds to clean out the old nests and dead branches from trees so there can be new ones.”

But Nana, if he does that, he might hit me on the head with a big branch or nest!

“That is possible, yes but most of the time the Sky Father will send warnings such as gusts of wind, thunder and many times the temperature will suddenly drop just before the storm to warn us. Course, nowadays, we have the weather guessers who might be able to predict a coming storm.”

So the Sky Father makes the wind blow and the rain fall to help the Earth Mother clean her trees and stuff?

“That’s right hon, he washes out old branches, nests, leaves and even dead animals then rinses the trees to wash away the dust.”

And the Earth Mother likes for him to do this?

“I believe she does for aren’t we all a part of her? Don’t the minerals contained in decaying branches, leaves, and animals return to the soil to help fertilize it?

But Nana, if it rains really, really, really hard all that water will fill up the creeks and rivers to flood stuff!

“Yes, that is true but what happens when there is flooding?”

I dunno know.

“Just like the trees, when Father Sky sends his rain down upon Mother Earth, the water washes away natural debris and vegetations into our streams and rivers. There, the debris-filled water will carry its burden to larger rivers such as the Mankato River which in turn, flows into the Mississippi River. As the rivers fill with water and debris, they will overflow their banks and fill the land. When the water recedes, it leaves the sediment which is a natural fertilizer. I heard that this happens every year in the Nile river in Egypt and it may happen in your lifetime. “ (Nana, if you’re listening, it occurred in 1993 – worst flood in history.)

Nana, does the Earth Mother have a big dumpster or trash can to put stuff in?

“She certainly does, she has seven of them – the Seven Seas.”

But Nana, what happens to all that sediment stuff that goes into the seas?

“That which can be recycled by Mother Nature will be. That which cannot becomes deltas such as we saw down in New Orleans.”

I remember, but we saw stuff like soda bottles, and glass and stuff down in the delta place.

“Sadly, you are right. There are things that even Mother Nature cannot rapidly fix. It is a tragic mistake of human greed and indifference that produces the filth and poisons we see on our Mother Earth every day. Perhaps one day people will wake up before it’s too late and realize what they have done.”

Nana, I miss you and love you more now than ever before.



My Quarter Million Dollar Arm


    One morning, in spring 2008, I agreed to take a friend to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Driver’s License Examination office so he could take the behind-the-wheel exam. As he had a permit, I allowed him to drive my car, “Priscilla”, a Chevrolet Prizm, four- door in good mechanical shape but dinged some to use for the exam. I rode shotgun with my window down and arm resting on the door.

    We picked a good day – weather was clear, warm and dry. As we were headed out south bound Hanley Boulevard, traffic was steady but moving at a pretty good clip. We were in the outside lane going with the flow of traffic, doing about 38 mph in the 35 mph speed zone when all of a sudden a north bound car attempted to make a left turn directly in front of us. My friend barely had time to say “Oh shit” before we T-boned the car in the front passenger’s door, and column. Obviously things came to a crashing halt (pun intended).    

    We were both shaken up, and when I looked at him, I saw a minor laceration above his right eyebrow. As I asked if he was ok, I attempted to reach over with my right arm, but noticed only my shoulder seemed to want to cooperate. I looked at my arm, and noticed that from the hand to the shoulder is looked about the size of an adult elephant’s leg, and almost the same color. Now I’m a good size man with substantial biceps but this was ridiculous.

When I attempted to open my door to check the other driver, I discovered that despite my best efforts, my arm decided it had a mind of its own. Needless to say, I conceded that match, and waited for help to arrive. While waiting, the other driver got out of her mother’s brand new Volvo station wagon, sat down on the curb and started shaking like a leaf in a gale. Luckily some people had stopped to help – they cared for her until the police, and rescue squad arrived, which didn’t take long as the cop shop and fire department garages were less than four blocks away.

When the rescue squad crew got to me, they took one look at my arm, and decided to have a conference on how to get me out of the car. I’ll throw in the technical complications here to make understanding the situation a lot easier.

I’m 6’1″ tall, and at that time weight around 250 lbs. As I said previously, my arm had swelled to the size of an adult elephant’s leg from shoulder thru hand, and I had no control over it. Subsequent MRI at the hospital disclosed that I had sustained a comminuted fracture of the humerus (upper arm). What was once a solid bone had become nine separate pieces amidst muscle and sundry tissue, and I didn’t feel a thing.

When the rescue crew got back to me, the first thing they wanted to know was if I wanted morphine – “We’re qualified and approved to give you morphine.” My response was, what for? I have no pain, and even if I did have pain morphine would only deaden it – pain is a symptom!

    So, no morphine, but now getting me out of the car becomes an issue. They want to put an air splint on my arm before they help me out of the car. There’s just one problem, air splints are designed to stabilize a fracture between two similar joints, no can do with a shoulder joint.

    Second conference needed to discuss what to do about the arm. I stopped them by asking if they had an “IV board.” OK, I’m old, get over it.

    For those not in the know, and IV board is a small board, usually made of simple plywood and cover with gauze that was historically used to immobilize an arm while the patient was receiving intravenous fluids, etc. Nothing fancy, but functional for the times.

    At first, the younger medic didn’t know what I was referring to but one of the older guys did. Lo and behold, the only piece of equipment needed to treat me on this huge, and very expensive ambulance are the gurney and a simple IV board. I cringe when I think of my taxes.

    “Do you want morphine before we move you?”

    NO! I’ll move myself. So I did, I held the IV board below my lower arm to stabilize it against my body, then got out of the car, and laid down on the gurney, which three strong men then lifted up, and put into the ambulance.

    “Do you need morphine?”

    NO, but they might.

    Now for my favorite part. The young paramedic radios into the emergency room to give details about me, my injuries and my refusal for morphine. As he’s doing so, I hear him say, “Patient has a fracture of the right femur.”

    “Femur?” Umm, no, I don’t think I was born with a femur attached to my shoulder.

    “Excuse me doc (facetious), but I think my humerus is injured, not my femur.”

    “Huh?” he says.

    You told the ER it was my femur, and while I’m not orthopedic specialist I’m pretty sure it’s my humerus.

    “Umm, excuse me,” He called back and tried to correct himself. It didn’t work, he said femur again.

    I let it go this time. Thought the ER nurse could deal with it without my help.

    Halfway to the hospital, the ride in the huge, very expensive ambulance is feeling like I’m riding in a coal cart on a very rough road.

    “If you’re having a lot of pain, I can give you morphine for it.”

    I’m beginning to think this kid is a pusher for a Mexican cartel.

    No, thank you!

    We get to the hospital where an ER nurse climbs into the back of the ambulance ready to give me a shot of – wait for it – Morphine!!

    About now I’m feeling I’m still unconscious in my car, and having a sick dream.

    No morphine thanks.

    “That’s a humerus!” I hear whispered.

    Well doh, I think.

    Into the ER, cut my shirt off, one of my best of course, and off to Radiology where another nurse asks me if I want Morphine.

    No thank you.

    Throughout all of this, I have no pain, even in Radiology where they bend, twist and turn me, and my arm into exotic positions for the MRI. That done, and I’m back in the ER where the nurse asked me. “Do you need any pain medications?” At least she didn’t say Morphine.

    So I’m lying on the gurney in the ER for an hour before the Doctor finally arrives.

    “Hi, I’m Dr. So n So, your arm has a bad fracture, and I’m giving you this morphine while I splint it.” Zap, I get dosed without another word, and he walks out.

    After about fifteen minutes a “Orthopedic Technician” comes in to set up the materials for a plaster splint. When the doctor returns they begin to create a splint. It’s an artistic endeavor, but alas, not a functional one. (Please refer back to the air splint idea – two joints)

I had to return in two days to have it changed. Second one didn’t work either so I switched doctors. Second doctor decided some new device would work – it didn’t. What it did do was allowed by arm to swing 180 degrees to the back. I could shake hands with people following me, and not have to turn around, but forget trying to use a can opener – no luck there.

    The principle here is that in order for a splint to work, it must immobile, and realign the bone, fracture and all so that it can knit. The way they were splinting my arm was only protecting it. Thankfully, after weeks of no improvement, the second doctor realized his mistake, and referred me to a specialist at Barnes-Jewish-Children’s hospital.

    Went to the clinic to see the specialist, where x-ray orders were waiting for me. Across the hall to x-ray, two films taken and back to the specialist’s office, where I only had to wait 15 minutes to be examined. Doctor looked at x-rays, and said the bone will never knit without support, I’m putting in a titanium rod from shoulder to elbow – is tomorrow morning too soon?

    I loved this guy.

    So here I am, repaired with new parts, and having a blast when I go to the airport or courthouse, but have uncertainty about some rescue squad personnel.    


Meeting My Spirit

 We all have nightmares during our lives. For most, they’re simple boogeyman type scripts beginning in our childhood and most often ending in mid-teens. Some of us are more unfortunate, we may have a recurring nightmare for most of our lives – I did.

    My nightmare began in my pre-teens and consisted of a dark, unknown entity pursuing me through a misty gray forest. Regardless of how fast I ran or how hard I tried to hide it kept coming for me. At times I could feel the heat of its dark eyes on my back and moist breath on my neck. It’s breathing even and controlled while mine was tortured and drained. Yet not once did I think to stop and face my tormentor. My eyes sought only refuge, a sanctuary where malevolent creatures of the misty forest were forbidden entrance.

    In each nightmare, we run for hours neither one winning, nor losing ground. And in each I am tired and alone, my body drained, my spirit shattered and bled of the will to go on. I long to lie down on the moist gray moss and await the end then suddenly I wake and there is no end.

    Then one night, when in my early sixties the nightmare changed –

A cry breaks my sleep – mournful voice adrift on the air. What lurks beyond my door in the early morning dim? Is it the wind or a spirit transfixed to this realm by daggers of ice?

    Do I shiver from cold or dread; an unknown for both beset my body. I draw my robes close as a sense of foreboding arises within me clutching at my throat with skeletal fingers. My mouth dries yet I must find words of welcome to greet my unknown visitor.

    “Hau kola friend and be welcome in my poor home. Enter for I will build the morning fire to warm us this solstice dawn.” I call out to the unknown but only the rustle of a night bird replies.


With mind a raging river of thought and wonder I light the morning fire. Is he still there, do I hear his breath or does my mind play me? Alone in my hovel I must know if man or spirit awaits beyond. Do I throw wide the doorway to reveal my tormentor or wait approaching light of day?

    As if in answer to silent prayer, through my smoke stained window I see rays of the sun making small progress against the gray veil of night, forcing it slowly towards the western darkness.

    I call out to the emptiness, “Show yourself friend, that we may know one another. The fire warms and soon I will offer warm drink to chase the cold from you.” If silence has voice will I hear it calling me?

    A sound of rhythmic pounding draws near while beads of cold sweat drown my vision. I demand answers from the door but my voice falters – “Who are you!? What do you want of me?”


Drawn to my small window, I see the sun crowning the horizon sending warm arrows of light through the ice covered forest. Trees come alive with the glitter of billions of tiny fires bringing new hope and beauty to me.

I hear you beyond my door, I know you await but I no longer fear you. The drum of my heart has slowed, the strength of my mind returns, I will no longer cower in foolish fear of the unknown.

I throw open my door and you are there. Your eyes glisten as you slowly advance toward me throwing off the snow that concealed your spotted white coat. Your ears up, lips drawn back and fangs dripping like melting ice yet I feel no fear.


A sudden lunge, arching your sleek body towards me in graceful flight you strike knocking me into the snow. Atop me, great paws bear down on my shoulders and vile breath assails my face. I feel your eyes penetrate my very being as I await the death I know will come.

    A voice, powerful and resonant invades my mind.

“I am with your spirit old man, know that you are loved!”

I have not had a nightmare since.

The end finally arrived.

Dream Catchers

How do you tell the difference between an authentic Native Peoples dream catcher and a fake one?


Legend says that when Iktomi, the Trickster spirit created the first dream catcher is said it needed a hole for the good dreams and visions to enter and that you kept it over the head of your bed as you sleep..


dream_catcher<—Authentic – over head of child’s bed.




Fake dream catcher hanging from interior rear view mirror of a truck totaled in accident.

Can’t help but wonder if the driver was having a dream or vision.


These are my opinions based on information I have researched.





Essay on Pain

    All my life I’ve had a silly little dream about running. I would see myself running through fields of wheat in Kansas, along Minnesota deer trails, on the beaches of an exotic island and once up the side of a mountain. Crazy hey? Even now, as I enter my seventy first year, I have this same dream and you know what, it still hurts.

    When I was growing up, most of my friends were athletic, playing baseball, football, swimming, running foot races, and more but not me. I couldn’t run and didn’t know why. I tried, believe me I tried so hard and wished even harder but I could only dash maybe twenty yards when I would get a terrible pain in my left side. More than once, this pain doubled me over and I dropped to the ground crying. It hurt, and I didn’t know why.

    I told my mother about this and her answer was, your brothers can do it, so can you. That was her mantra until, in my early teens while playing outside with my dog Misty, the pain hit me worse than ever. I fell to the ground gasping for breath. Misty must have thought I was suffering from overheating so she licked my face like a madman.

    A neighbor noticed me laying on the ground and came over. When she saw how hard it was for me to breath, she yelled for my mother to call an ambulance. My mother came out of the house and said I was “faking it for attention” but that she would call the doctor. So they helped me into the house, sat me on the couch and she called.     

    The doctor told my mother he didn’t think it serious but to bring me into his office in the morning for a chest x-ray anyway. I don’t know which hurt the most, my side or my mother saying I was faking for attention.

    I spent a miserable night. Couldn’t get comfortable and when I did, either the pain became more intense or my breathing more troubled. My mother seemed to have slept well, I could hear her snoring in her bedroom. (In all fairness, I should note that I have sleep apnea and, in retrospect suspect my mother did too so the quality of her sleeping must remain in question.)

    In the morning, I was up with the sun, showered and ready to go to the doctor before mother got out of bed. While waiting, I found I was the most comfortable standing and when I tried to sit, the pain grew intense, so when it was time to go, I was wondering how I was going to sit in the car for the thirty minute drive to the doctor’s office. Mother, attentive but also had to remind me that if I was doing this for attention, I was going to pay the bill plus ten percent interest. Back in the 1950s ten percent was close to usury.

    When we get to the doctor’s office the nurse took one look at me and put my skinny little butt (yep, back then it was small) into a wheelchair and took me directly to the X-Ray Department at the clinic. Once there, she does the routine vital signs work then waits outside while I get zapped. That done, the nurse is at my side checking me and standing guard as if I’m about to explode while the radiology people develop the film. When we get the ok to go, I’m hurting so it’s back into the wheelchair and to the doctor’s office examining room where my mother was waiting.

    After a few minutes the doctor comes in and says, “Richard you have a right lung pneumothorax of unknown etiology.” (I wrote that down.) He explained that pneumothorax means a collapsed lung and etiology means unknown origin.

    “Could he have done it to himself? He’s always doing things to get attention.” My mother asked (Thanks for the vote of confidence mom!)

    Don’t recall everything the doctor replied but it was something to the effect of, he would have to have struck his back or chest very hard to accomplish it and “I see no external signs of trauma.” He treated me by applying a tight binding to my chest until the lung expanded again. But in retrospect, he never mentioned why I was having pain on the left side. A mystery finally solved when I was in my sixties.

    I had a number of these episodes throughout my teens, enough to make “You’re faking it for attention.” a mantra for my mother.

    When I was old enough, I joined the Naval Reserves like my brothers had done, but when I went to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center and tried to swim, I couldn’t. This was probably because no one ever taught me, but was more likely because I couldn’t breathe and when I swallowed water, I choked. They had to drag my ass out of the water every time. That hurt.

    When I returned from the Great Lakes, I decided to get out of the Naval Reserves and join the Air Force. I knew I would be successful there, I had to be just to show them I could. Well, two weeks into my basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, TX I collapse while running in formation. Woke up in the infirmary with the most sarcastic male nurse I’ve ever seen looming over me. I couldn’t wait to hear the mantra, but he didn’t know it so he carted me off to x-ray, where they discovered my right lung was partially collapsed. I was given a medical discharge.

    I left Lackland in pain – physical and emotional. In retrospect, it was good because they had tagged me to become an Air Policeman and ship me to Thule, Greenland. Greenland would be no problem but I could have gotten someone killed if I couldn’t perform my duties as a cop.

    Back home, which really was no more than a room in someone’s house, I started looking for work. I began working at the VA hospital in Minneapolis, MN as a dishwasher. No running, no swimming, no climbing and I could breathe – Yay. I worked hard and earned the coveted role of line prep in the seventh floor patient dining room. It was so cool, alone doing my thing in the secured dining room of the psychiatric ward. That lasted until the day a patient came running in and said “the president’s been shot!” Yeah, sure bud what else is new. Lunch is over and I need to pick up the dirty trays from the patient rooms and you can’t be in here alone, so out you go.

    As I ushered the patient out of the dining room, I noticed something rather odd. A nurse was on her knees in the hallway crying her eyes out. Now this is getting weird. That was about 1:00 PM, November 22, 1963, the day I quit working at the VA hospital.

    My next job was as an orderly in the Emergency Room of the Minneapolis General Hospital, definitely not a good place for white uniforms. Dark red would have worked better.

    The year I turned twenty one, the hospital was taken over by Hennepin County and I was asked to join the newly formed Hennepin County General Hospital Ambulance Service. I was HOT in my uniform but I was keeping a secret – I was having respiratory problems especially on humid days. That was to become a problem when carrying patients down flights of stairs. Never dropped one but came close more than once and by the time we got to the bottom I was gasping for air. No one said anything about it but I think they suspected. Then one day my secret was out. While unloading a patient from the back of the ambulance I got a severe pain in my left side. We set the gurney down and I immediately collapsed. That really hurt!

    I ended up in the staff physician’s office telling him my complete medical history. He got an x-ray and sure enough, my right lung had collapsed by about sixty percent. He informed me I needed immediate surgery and recommended a cardio-vascular surgeon at another hospital. I agreed thinking I would finally be healed so he ordered an ambulance to take me (no charge!).

    The next morning they operate. I wake up cut from mid-sternum to my right underarm, two tubes stuck into my side, IVs in both arms, oxygen nasal cannula on my face, tube in my bladder and my doctor sitting on the edge of my bed.

    The doctor said the procedure, called a thoracotomy was a success and that all they had done was “scape the pleura of the (right) lung” then “sprinkled talcum powder” over it and closed it up. Tubes in my sides were to drain any fluids from the chest cavity so my lung could expand. “You’ll be as good as new in a couple weeks.”

    The next step was to get me out of bed (this helps prevent postsurgical pneumonia) – it hurt. A nurse and an orderly helped me stand then with wheeled IV standard, tubes hanging out of my side, a pump attached to a long extension cord and a Foley catheter hanging below my belt we went for a “walk”. It hurt but I made it.

    That evening they removed the IVs, tubes from my side and Foley catheter from my bladder. Guess which one HURT! The following morning I was discharged, told to stay home for a couple days and report any issues immediately.

    My mother came to visit and actually said nothing about my doing it to get attention. I was amazed, but then again, she never apologized for not believing me – that hurt.

    I was twenty four when they did the surgery and told me I’d be fine. Once my surgery healed, I tried to get some exercise by running. I wanted to get into shape to apply for a job as a police officer so I ran, not very far because it hurt. My left side hurt. I gave up on everything athletic, even to the extent of playing ball with my kids and that hurt.

    I had a couple more severe attacks over the years but didn’t do much about them. I learned how to bind my chest by myself and let it go at that. Then one winter day when I was sixty six years old, I slipped on some ice and did a major back slap on the ground. I could barely breathe let alone get up so I lay there for a few minutes wondering if this was the end. It wasn’t, but I sure thought so. I managed to get up, get to my car and drive home to bind my chest but this time it felt different so I called my doctor. He told me to go to the radiologist for a chest x-way which I did. A few hours later, the nurse called me and said the doctor had referred me to a pulmonologist and that I had to get a scan of my chest. So it’s back to the radiologist for the scan then home again. Almost to the minute I arrive home, I get a call from the pulmonologist’s nurse saying I should come right in but she couldn’t tell me why.

    By this point in time, I’m hurting like there’s no tomorrow and wondering if this is just a bad dream. At the pulmonologists office, the nurse takes me right in to see the doctor who makes me wait an hour then comes in to tell me he knows why my lungs collapsed so much. I was born with a congenital defect of my left lung – it never fully inflated. Seems it never adhered to the posterior wall of the rib cage forming a void which could not be seen on x-ray nor heard in my breathing. He said he was surprised I hadn’t died when my right lung completely collapsed. I told him it hurt too much to die.

    So, finally after sixty six years of complaining and being thought a liar, someone listened and proved I wasn’t. Someone found the problem on my LEFT side and told me it caused all the problems on my right. Someone who said I wasn’t doing it for attention.

    What hurts the most now is I never got to look my mother in the eye and say, you were wrong and you hurt me by not believing! You caused the pain and ridicule I felt from others. You should apologize.

    I cannot run and it hurts.


Happen to notice I didn’t mention my father in this? He was only a shadow, there but never in my life. He died when I was fifteen