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A brisket for Nephrology . . .

This is a letter to my wife, one of the purest and sweetest beings that God has ever created. Her immortal soul returned to its Creator on Thursday, the eighteenth of November, 2010 at 9:15 in the evening. Immediately after joining Him she left His presence, and anointed with the divine influence of His grace she returned to our mortal world for a few brief moments. Her return is documented and discussed here.

Hi, sweetheart,

I know you’re watching and I’m sure you were part of the annual get-together in the Nephrology Clinic at Brooke Army Medical Center, but I’ll recap the luncheon for you just in case you overlooked some of the folks that attended. It was held on Thursday, December 16, the day that would have been your day for dialysis. You’ll remember that Thursday is the least busy day for the unit. There was only one patient that morning, and I believe that was an in-hospital patient.

All the nurses were there: Gracie, Linda, Irene, Gloria, Jackie, Tammie, Jim, Carver, Henderson and Patti, the Head Nurse, along with Kathy, the dietitian, and Dr. Reynolds, the officer-in-charge of the Clinic. Many of the dialysis patients were there, including the Big Colonel and the Little Colonel. The Big Colonel expressed his sadness at learning of your death, and offered his condolences to me and to our daughters, saying that we and you would always remain in his thoughts and prayers.

Dr. Reynolds welcomed us to the event and asked that we never forget those that are longer with us, specifically naming you and Mrs. Kirk, that beautiful little lady with the short gray hair and the ever-present smile, always commandeering a wheelchair and chauffeured by her husband. She followed you from this realm just a few days after you left us.

Dr. Reynolds introduced the chaplain, and following the chaplain’s brief prayer with blessings on those present and those not present, we lined up at the trough for lunch, and what a spectacular trough it was. The tables stretched at least thirty or forty feet along one wall and each table was loaded—the staff should be enjoying leftovers for several days, probably through the weekend and into next week.

You should be very proud of me because with you beside me, coaching me at every step, I prepared a seven-pound brisket, from HEB of course, and brought it still hot on my arrival at the clinic, along with sauce, chips, bread and four gallons of sweet tea from Bush’s Chicken in Converse—incidentally, there has apparently been a complete change of personnel at that location—I recognized none of the staff there.

Rita met me at the entrance of the hospital with a handcart to help carry everything. I also brought another large framed piece of art to add to our gallery in the clinic. That makes a total of fourteen pieces lining each side of the hallway from the entrance all the way to the dialysis section. I’m told that your “art gallery” is an attraction for other hospital staff and patients and visitors. I know that you and I did not make the donations as a memorial, but it doesn’t hurt that it serves as a memorial to you.

Cindy helped me create gold foil stickers for the pieces, and I placed one on the lower right corner of the glass of each, and I also placed a label on the flat-screen television you donated to the Nephrology Clinic to replace that little dinky tube television that was there. Each of the gold stickers reads, Donated to Nephrology by Janie and Mike Dyer. And just in case you are wondering, Rita still watches The View every morning with religious fervor.

I wish the hallway were a bit longer so I could expand the gallery in your name. I also wish that I could create another Taj Mahal to honor your name and your life, but I’ll have to be satisfied with the Taj Mahal that resides in my heart and in my memories of you and of my life with you. Just as is the original Taj Mahal in India, the Taj Mahal in my heart and memories is a symbol of our eternal love.

I helped the nurses set up the banquet tables (Irene made me don plastic gloves before I could help sanitize the tables). When the signal was given to Come and get it! I joined the long line, loading far more on my plate than necessary, but I admit shamefully that very little was left when I finished. I shared a table with Ernie, his wife and his daughter. You’ll remember Ernie as the camera-bug transplanted to San Antonio from El Paso so his severely handicapped wheel-chair-bound daughter could receive treatment here. He is still following Cindy’s blog and working on his photographic skills.

Unless you were preoccupied in another area, you probably noticed that I visited you in the cemetery that Thursday afternoon. There were few visitors that day, but the machines and their operators were present as always, hard at work maintaining and enhancing the grounds, watering and grooming and planting and preparing new communities for military wives and husbands and for the orphaned children of military families. The perpetual care provided by our government for those families ensures the beauty and the future of one of the largest such cemeteries in the nation.

My visit with you that Thursday afternoon was bitter sweet, as all future visits will be. I accept the sadness that cloaks and permeates each visit, but I exult in the knowledge that the sadness is temporary, because I know that at some time in the future I will join you and our immortal souls will be reunited.

And I know that, in the glorious morning of the Resurrection our bodies will be raised, and become as incorruptible as our souls.

Sleep well in heaven, my darling. I love you more today than yesterday, but less than tomorrow.

Mike

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Posted by on December 18, 2010 in death, Family, flowers, health, marriage, television, Writing

 

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My cologne? Eau de Bush’s Fried Chicken . . .

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the Forum yesterday. No, belay that—I didn’t mean the Forum—that’s where Julius Caesar was heading when Brutus intercepted him and said, Here, Julius, hold this! and then stabbed him. No, I was on the way home from having lunch at Bush’s Chicken Restaurant in Converse, Texas and a funny thing happened when I stopped at the newly opened 99 Cent Store at Thousand Oaks Drive and Jones Maltsberger in San Antonio.

That store was open for a year or so then closed for some reason. The closing saddened me—among many other bargains they sold watermelons for 99 cents, the same brand that the HEB supermarket across the street was selling for prices up to seven dollars. The 99 Cents Store just reopened with lots of fanfare, with grand opening day bargains that included 22-inch flat screen TVs for 99 cents to the first nine people through the door—people began lining up two full days before opening day with picnic chests, coolers and lounge chairs.

The store was open two days before the Grand Opening, and I stopped there the day before the Grand Opening. They were closed that day, and a nice lady told me that as I was exiting my car. She and her husband had just been turned away, and she was kind enough to brief me before I made the trek to the front door.

The couple were long past the eligibility age for AARP, but I must say for the lady that she retained a keen sense of smell. After she told me the store was closed, she said, Sir, can you tell me the name of your cologne? and I, nonplussed, said Excuse me? She asked me again, saying that she really liked my cologne, that the scent was heavenly and she just wondered what it was called—I suppose she intended to purchase some for her husband, or perhaps for herself—who knows?

I use neither cologne nor aftershave lotion—in fact, I do not shave because I have a full beard and mustache. I use deodorant but it’s unscented, as is my bath soap. I answered the lady truthfully, without a hint of laughter, not even a smile.

I said, Ma’am, I don’t use cologne. That isn’t cologne you smell—it’s Bush’s fried chicken. My clothes and those of my wife had apparently absorbed the odor of fried chicken, plus we had a take-out box with leftover chicken pieces resting on the pullout drink holder on the dashboard. It was a hot August day with virtually no breeze, and the odor exited the car at the same time I did.

This is a true story, certifiably a candidate for Ripley’s Believe it or Not—had my wife not been with me to verify its truth, I don’t believe I would have ever told the story. Veracity is one of my pitifully few positive attributes, one that I strive to attain and maintain in all my conversations with others, whether written or vocal. I freely admit that I boast a lot, a fact that is substantiated by some of my postings on Word Press, but hey—it ain’t bragging if you done it!

The lady acknowledged her faux pas gracefully and with laughter, and asked for more information on the source of my heavenly odor. I briefed her on the two locations of Bush’s Chicken Restaurants in the city of Converse and told her that other outlets in the San Antonio area were on the drawing boards.

Please don’t tell Bill Miller of Bill Miller’s Restaurants what I told the lady before we parted. Bill Miller’s is a chain of restaurants that offer fried chicken as a staple along with barbecue and sausage and brisket, tacos, iced tea, and various pies, ubiquitous in San Antonio and with locations in other Texas cities. Some locations, but not all, serve breakfasts, and their tacos are outstanding. When you go, and I know you will, try the potato, egg and cheese taco—it’s great!

I told her that Bush’s Chicken Restaurants plan to open more outlets in the San Antonio area and would likely give Bill Miller a run for the money—at least in the fried chicken part of his business.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2010 in fast food, food, Humor

 

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