fabrics feb 2009

AT THE PHARMACY


Today, I was sitting and watching the world while waiting for a prescription to be filled at the Publix grocery pharmacy. A young father pushed a food cart to the “Advice” window of the counter. A boy about three and a half sat in the basket. The youngster’s legs easily fit through the openings in the cart and moved in the perpetual rhythm belonging to children.

At first my glance was quick and moved on to survey the rest of the store. But, some-thing had caught my mind’s eye and I turned back to look at the young boy.

The father was talking urgently to the pharmacist behind the counter. I

couldn’t hear his words but I understood concern from his tone and tense body. A crisis or at least an inconvenient problem had occurred. I focused on the child. The boy looked blue to me, both psychologically and physically.

Initially I had thought he was wearing streaked blue pants and shirt. But, as I moved closer I saw that the boy did not have on long sleeves or long pants. His skin, at least all of the skin that I could see, was streaked blue.

His neck, his ears, his face, forehead, cheeks, nose and chin, his throat, his arms, his hands and palms, his legs from thighs to ankles were all streaked indigo. Then I heard the father say to the pharmacist, “We were getting ready to go to church and Brian here,” he gestured to the child in the cart, “was in his room getting dressed. When I went to get him, I discovered he had covered his body with magic marker. He said he was giving himself tattoos.”

Somewhat hang-dogged in appearance, the boy looked like a small Maori tribesman from New Zealand. Swirls, and circles, harsh lines and blotches of cobalt, some heavy, some spaced out, covered every part of his exposed body. Absently, I wondered what the rest of him looked like under his clothes.

Wallace (Jan’09) adds, “Whether in my nightly dreams or during my daily trips around town, I am always looking for surprises and wonder in the ordinary.”

*

THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE

A Mystery Solved– Mostly

My brother Jim and I went to the Gogebic County Court-house and Social Security Administration. There we gathered some information on Dad’s name change from “John Johnson” (which was on the birth certificate) to “George H. Johnson.”

At the courthouse we found records that Mom and Dad were married in Ironwood, Mi. on Oct, 14th 1920. Witnesses listed were Mr. and Mrs. Irvin Johnson — not related to us. Their marriage license listed Mom as “Sophia H.” and dad as “George H.”

I recall back in 1933 on the way to church, a car pulled out in front of us, and we (Dad, brother Paul and I) broadsided the car. Paul hit the windshield and had stitches put in his face. We look-ed up the accident report and there Dad’s name was listed as, “George H. Johnson.”

Records show in 1963 Dad began collecting Social Security payments in March 1963 under the name, “George H. Johnson.”

We never found any reference to a legal name change.

Brother Jimmy and I agreed that Dad just didn’t like the name John and had “adopted” a more uncommon name he liked.

Le (Jan.’09) says, “Dad’s father’s name was Christian J. Johnson! Could the ‘J’ stand for John? Probably. So that is where Dad’s parents got his birth certificate name, John.

*

MY BEST MONEY EVER SPENT— Revisited

On page six of the June 2004 issue of Ninepatch I mentioned a used bureau I acquired for $25 in the 1970’s at a flea market. It may have been the best money I ever spent.

That old, distressed, serpentine bird’s-eye maple bureau had five drawers, each possessing four crystal knobs. There was just one problem with them: three were missing.

I had always wanted to find three matching pulls to replace the missing ones or find a new set. However, a little research taught me that it would take a lot of hunting and more money than I had paid for the bureau itself.

When I was at a home improvement store the other day, I happened to notice they had a vast variety of knobs. My financial circumstances were such that I could afford them, too. I went home to measure the distance between the screw holes, thinking that I might be able to buy ten handles, instead of twenty knobs.

On my next errand day, I returned to the home-improvement store and brought a set of handles home. Unfortunately, the screw holes on the drawers were at the wrong angle.

Another few days passed before it was convenient to make a third trip to the store. On that trip, I forgot to take the handles with me to return. I went ahead and purchased twenty brand new knobs, anyway. They weren’t as flashy as the crystal ones. In-stead, they were a simple round shape with a couple of bevels, manufactured from metal and brushed with a dark reddish-brown metallic stain that complimented the dark reddish finish of the maple.

When I started attaching them, four were not drilled deeply enough. I had to add washers so that I could screw the pulls snugly to the drawers.

At last! My old bureau looks complete.

Carol (Jan.’09) adds, “I returned the handles to the home-improvement store and found an antique store to purchase the seventeen old knobs. It took me more than thirty years to accomplish, but that bureau-knob project is now done!”

*

BEAD SHOP EPIPHANY

I was driving home from Holland, Michigan heading north on U.S. 31, when I decided to make a famous Michigan U-turn and head back to a little strip mall I had just passed. I had seen the word “beads” printed on a sign, tucked into one of the corner stores and I was hooked. I love bead shops. It’s my personal choice of crafting and anytime I can visit a new shop, I do it.

I entered the shop and hovered around and around the bowls of shiny baubles, selecting just a few to take home and play with or put away for some future project. The shopkeeper was pleasant but unobtrusive, a good talker when questioned or encouraged, but savvy enough to know when a customer wanted to be left alone to browse. That impressed me. As I stepped to the counter to check out, the lady cheerily offered me some cake. It seems her business was celebrating a third anniversary. I handed her my MasterCard along with my driver’s license for my modest purchase as I filed away the store’s location in my mind for future visits.

“Ah,” she said as she read my driver’s license, “What a cute name! My mother was going to be called ‘Linda Lou,’ but my grandmother’s neighbor beat her to using the name. She was called ‘Linda Ruth’ in-stead.” She shook her head and chuckled, “My grandmother was so mad at that neighbor!”

“Well,” I replied, “Perhaps she was lucky that she didn’t get stuck with that name. I used to be teased about it! A brother-in-law was always calling me “Loo loo.” I said it in a way that perfectly illustrated that brother-in-law’s inflection of tone.

The shop owner frowned, “Oh, that was mean. Shame on him. If he were here, I’d tell him to stop it.”

I shrugged, “He’s gone on to his reward, so he doesn’t do it anymore.”

A fellow patron who had walked up chimed in with, “I doubt he’s gone to a reward!”

We all laughed and I wished them a good day as I walked to my car.

“Wow,” I thought as I headed my car north again, “What just happened there?” I felt a sense of relief, a sense of relaxation, the good kind of sweet feeling that I have after a particularly powerful 12-Step Meeting.

Linda (Jan.’09) adds, “I can breathe easier after I have those little epiphanies.

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