Monday, July 16, 2018


Jerusalem Gap by T.R. Pearson is a book I am  recommending even if it is so darn hard to read at times. 

You see, I usually read in bed with my Kindle perched on my stomach. This guy had me laughing so hard at times that the device bouncing merrily on my stomach made me keep losing my place. That is the only hard part about reading Mr. Pearson. The laughs come unexpectedly which makes them all the more enjoyable.  

Now the book is not 100% belly laughs, sometimes you will only smile at the subtle humor , clever turns of phrase, or bizarre situations but is 100% enjoyable with characters you can't help but like and those you don't like, you will enjoy his treatment of them.

I was  attracted to this book at first in that this is a dog story.  I am a sucker for those but am usually leery of them due to the inevitable endings that hurt like blazes.   The description of the story made me look closer. It is basically a story about the growing together of a cranky man and a collie named Nova who was dumped out on the highway at his feet as a stinky, flea ridden pup. 

The dog comes  blessed with a ready smile (yes dogs do smile--some even grin), enjoys impeccable  manners, is mellow, loves everyone and is well adjusted. The book is  about bringing Nova's new, rather grumpy, loner of an owner to a similar state of grace.

Main character description as posed by Amazon--  "Donald Atwell didn't want a dog. He already had an ex-wife, a balky truck, and a cat that was part Persian and part Taliban." 

When I saw he was John Grisham's favorite writer, I was further intrigued. Then I read the teaser by clicking on "Look Inside." That clinched the deal and I just had to have it. I got it free on a promotion but it is only $2.99 now on Kindle. Still a bargain.

It is relative short, only 140 pages, but my is it worth it. The warm nursing home sections alone should demand a much higher price.

Pearson is an established southern writer of the best sort letting you savor the rural southern lifestyle and flavor. He has a delightfully wry, understated  sense of humor which is the dessert but his insight into the human condition is the soul filling main course.
If you love dog stories  and want to meet some delightful characters, do your self a favor and spring for the $2.99.
I consider this book a treasure. 

Monday, July 9, 2018


Rerun, reworked from 2009.

Are you good in an emergency?? Most parents are out of necessity. Children love to test a parents readiness as first responders. That seems to be their major job as a mini adult.

The sad thing about our stability in emergencies is that it is unknown till tested. We may think we will be wonderful at the car accident, leaping in to give CPR and putting pressure on a bleed, but actuality may be far different. Some people are worthless and require emergency attention themselves during panic times. Such as, some husbands in the birthing room.

Now that may be unfair to those Dads who end up viewing birth from a prone position. I mean face it ladies, you really aren't seeing what is going on and are in too much pain and anger at that inconsiderate dolt that got you pregnant, to care about a little gore.

Others are brilliant in emergency, remaining calm and helpful as though that is totally natural. I do envy them. Then there are people, like myself, who have time limits on their ability to function as body parts are hanging by a thread. It wasn't until adult years that I could recognize a pattern in my responses to disaster. Prior to that, each puddle of blood brought on a slightly different reaction.

As a young child, pricking my own blood blister could make me instantly hit the dirt, totally unconscious. A friend could split open his scalp on a swing and I would just be curious, pushing in to get a closer look before I kissed the earth.

Eventually, I developed a consistent reaction. That was, that I could be calm and helpful to a point but as soon as someone in authority took over, the world would spin and if I didn't get down quickly, I was going to crash to the ground in a heap. I was tested often enough to prove this point.

One time, coming upon a motorcycle accident and another time helping a man who had suffered a heart attack while traveling the turnpike, I was really tested. Both times, I could give first aid and comfort to 
the victim or in the case of the heart attack, start  CPR. However the minute the EMT arrived, I was useless and almost in need of care myself. Now you fellows that I maligned about the birthing room can enjoy a resounding, "AH HA!! Not so easy is it?"

This became more evident when I ran the animal shelter. The shelter was my equivalent to raising a bunch of uncoordinated kids. There were the inevitable dog fights, rescuing dogs from horrific conditions 
 and the roadside car attack rescues. I learned to pinch flesh together, put pressure on bleeding wounds and push intestines back into the stomach cavity, all while driving a stick shift on the way to the veterinary.

My consistent response to emergency today is that I will hold it together as long as there is no one else to do it. As soon as a EMT puts his hand on a person or a vet puts his hand on an animal, it is now his responsibility. My task is done and I am no longer required to remain conscious. All those things previously keeping me upright, buckle and leave me looking for a soft spot to crash. Now that I know my routine, I seldom hit the floor hard.

My veterinary Jim use to laugh at my usual response.  As soon as he  lifted the dog onto the examination table, I would just say "Excuse me," then  quickly lay flat on the floor, looking up at him and the bottom of the table. 

He couldn't help smiling as he continued a normal conversation with me on the floor as he explained the progress he was making with the animal. So I guess you could say I am a functional first responder, just not good for the long run. We all can only do what we can with what we have been given.

And how are you in an emergency??