Tuesday, September 20, 2011


ON  an  autumn night with the pink and white moon overhead, sitting outside listening to jazz piano and drinking Honduran coffee with a slice of freshly pulled-from-the-oven rhubarb crisp.
Rhubarb picked from the soil for the first crop of the season.  It is the first time I have tasted rhubarb that is only two hours old.. two hours from being snapped from its
tightly wound center..and so, when I add the sugar and the lemon and apple juice, then bake, it immediately tenderizes and becomes a texture I can only describe as gooey, thick, piquant, not at all stringy...kind of like the texture of baked eggplant.  The oats on top and the butter and the cinnamon have just enough richness to offset the tart/sweet of the rhubarb.. the perfect mix in a fruit.  Oh my, I better stop.

When will the next crop come around again?  Those dinosaur leaves and their long thick magenta stalks.. I must wait.   I will wait.. I will  wait.

Monday, September 12, 2011


"I told Glenda that the day will come when she will walk into New Hope
Baptist chuch with just the cane and her nice walking shoes.. Ain't that right sis?," says Kathryn looking at her  sister and putting away the leftovers from  lunch.
"I have faith in you, yes I do." she says to me as I get ready to work with Glenda, " You will make her walk good again.. I can just feel it."

  I had been working with Glenda for 3 weeks  after her hip replacement.  She had suffered a stroke 10 years ago but was able to get around with a cane until this last surgery.  Accoding to Kathryn, Glenda was also very depressed since her job as full time caregiver for their mom had come to an end. She had moved to California from Texas to live with her sisterover 1 year ago and Kathryn kept reminding her... Mom was dead.  It was time she looked after herself and started eating what she was supposed to... No more fried foods and sugary sodas like she was used to back home.

 "I think if we could get Glenda to the church,, I know it would do her good.  I bought her some crossword puzzles,  she helps me with the laundry and I make her get dressed every day."   Kathrn has posted notes all over the house with such sayings as:  Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not here yet and today is a present."  or    "Don't let your thoughts tell you who you are."   or  "take it one hour at a time."   Glenda does not seem to notice any of this.. She  repeats to me only that the medications for the depression made her worse.  It was the devils work, she said.

When Kathryn was not around, Glenda did very well. She did all of the exercises without tiring, insisted on walking outside, talked about getting dressed up again, even looked proud of herself when I complimented her on being able to do the ankle circles without the whole bottom part of the leg moving.

"I never knew my foots could do that," she answered without hesitation.  In fact, Glenda was out of her large smock dresses the past few visits and was wearing slacks and shirts in bright solids with scarves to match. I insisted it was time to step out of her house slippers and so She had tennis shoes now which she could not believe were "so comfortable."      "I made you something," she said, as she handed me a bright pink crocheted cap with a red flower sewed onto the side, "I know that our therapy  ends soon" she said.

        "We sure would like to do something more special for you," said Kathryn  whileGlenda was doing standing exercises counting them out to herself.   We stayed in the kitchen inside because the house was filled with stuff everywhere you turned: a large fish tank, vitamin and nutrition books, plastic flowers, macrame hanging baskets, family photos... Glenda had not confessed yet to her sister that one day she would like to live in her own place.  Kathryn might be offended, she thought.

On the last day of therapy, Glenda opened the door and was standing there with only her cane.  She looked tall and radiant.  When she invited me in, I saw three men sitting down on the mantle of the fireplace.  They smiled huge  grins at me when I realized these were the deacons from her church that she always talked about.
"Do I have a witness" shouted one,  "God you are great" said another. and "Praise the Lord." as Glenda paraded from room to room with bright blue tennis shoes on, concentrating on her stride, striking her heel first, gaze  forward (not down as she had done for so many years) mouthing the words, right foot , left foot, right foot, left foot. When she turned around she took a deep breath, checked to see that her scarf turned right side up and began again looking as if she had never taken a step before in all of her blessed 65 years.