Saturday, January 13, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Sometimes we do the oddest things.
Every summer in college I worked at a summer resort as a way to pay for school. My parents encouraged this in all of us kids, so we were often in far-flung spots.
When I was 18 I was working in Michigan on the shores of the Lake.The swimming pool was available to staff (and townies who worked at the resort) before it opened to the guests, so usually by 7:30 there was a good crowd. The waitresses were off-shift, the maids were going on, the desk clerks had just changed duty and the yard guys couldn't work yet because we didn't want to wake the guests. Anyway,we had a good 2-3 hours to use the pool.
I'm a strong swimmer, having grown up around artificial water (swimming pools) all my life. That summer several kids were there who'd never been near a lake the size of Michigan or near a pool. They were mainly inner-city kids from Detroit or Milwaukee. One girl, Paulette, was a skinny black girl with a 'fro and a laugh you could hear a mile away. Paulette and I became buddies since we were both waitresses. She was determined to learn to swim, but damned if she didn't just sink like a rock every time she got out of the shallow end.
We all kept an eye on her, of course, and all tried to help her learn to 'inflate' so she'd float (many jokes were flung around about my ample flotation devices, but we won't go into that). So one day there's about 30 kids in the pool and we're cavorting. I hauled out of the pool to the side, looked around ...
I looked at the spot under the diving board and saw a black shape at the bottom of the pool. I didn't think twice. Literally. I just yelled, "Paulette" and dove in.
She was almost out of air. I arrowed down to her and got next to her. She didn't know what to do. She didn't know how to push off or kick or anything. So I got an arm around her and pushed off the bottom. She, of course, was panicked and almost drowned me by clutching on. I kicked, pushing her ahead of me. I had one hand on her butt and the other on her thigh and I was pushing her up for all I was worth. I really wasn't sure we'd make it. I was starting to take in water, and I'm sure she was, too, because she was getting weak.
Then a couple of other kids dove in and got her arms and dragged her up. A friend got me and hauled me up to the surface. We got Paulette out and turned her over and pumped her, releasing a bunch of pool water. I was able to drag myself out on the ladder and when she could sit up we sat together and had a good cry.
That night we all 'went to town' (the nearest place with streetlights) and went to Sherman's Ice Cream Parlor, where Paulette's townie boyfriend,a HUGE intimidating black guy, bought me an ice cream sundae and kept hugging her like a big old teddy bear. It was great.
Monday, January 08, 2007
I have no idea what came over me, but I jumped on the hotel phone, had them call an ambulance, then jumped over the registration desk, pushed people back, yelling if anyone was a doctor or EMT. Luckily, one of the attendees was an EMT (this was a real estate conference) and she rushed to his side. I, meanwhile, went into 'fence' mode - pushing back the curious, pulling people I knew into a ring around the guy.
Then my boss showed up. My boss who couldn't stand the sight of blood. Luckily her husband was standing right next to her to catch her when she fainted.
The ambulance arrived quickly, cleared out the area and I went behind the registration desk, adrenaline running high, ready to help revive my boss then decompress. BUT then the temporary worker who was working with us said, "I don't feel very good." Here, the girl was a diabetic and she was going into shock - totally unrelated to the seizure incident, but she was young and obviously not caring for herself properly. So, there I went, back on the hotel phone and looking for orange juice.
Once that was taken care of and the break-out sessions re-started, I found a nice corner to crawl into and have a good cry. It seems, instinctively, I'm a good person to have around for an emergency (and since having children, this theory has-unfortunately-had cause to be proven true), but I absolutely fall apart afterwards.
God willing, I'll never have a reason to see what my reactions would be if my life were at risk. Your perceptions change when you've got kids. I'd lay my life on the line for them, but for a stranger? I'd like to think yes, but I rather think I wouldn't because I wouldn't want to leave my kids without their mom. But, like I said, God willing I'll never have to find out. Hats off to the subway rescuer! He's a hero.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
The big news story this week here in the States, of course, was the guy who leapt in front of a subway train and covered another guy with his own body, saving him from sure death.
Have you ever been faced with this dilemma? Have you ever seen someone who was in trouble and didn't really think about it, but just leapt in and tried to save them? I suspect those of you who are parents have experienced this -- near death adventures involving trees, kids dashing into streets, etc.
Tell us about it....
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Who would have thought...
But with this large group, we were missing important events, like birthdays. Now, I don't mean we forgot their birthday, but celebrating them as a group wasn't happening.
So, in September I had the bright idea of a monthly 'Birthday Bash.'
During the first one, Grey, a grandkid, asked me if we were going to do this every month, as his ninth birthday was in December. It touched my heart. So, I confirmed that there would be a 'bash' for his birthday.
I always cook, then we have the 'bash' after we gorge ourselves with food. One thing about living in Louisiana, every major event has to include great food. Each month the menu changes, with some of the daughters bringing dishes from their homes.
After chowing down, each 'birthday' person gets a small cake of their own. With one candle. We sing the famous song, they blow out the candles, and the gift opening begins, youngest to oldest.
Caroline turned two in November, and believes that every party is for her. So, in December, I purchased a cupcake 'cake' and took one of the small cupcakes and placed it on a plate with one candle, just for her. None of the other grandkids questioned why I did this for one, but not for all. They seemed to understand, without me explaining.
What makes this event stand out for 2006 is the response of the grandkids. Ethan, 12, told his mother that when he went to his friends birthday parties that the aunts and uncles were never there, and he thought that it was great that his aunts and uncles and cousins were there to celebrate birthdays.
Which brings me to the 'best thing I did in 2006'--bringing my family together to celebrate the entry of individuals into our family. How great is that!