Monday, July 21, 2014

Arlissa - Her Story - Day 47

Arlissa was fussing over Granny when the doctor came in. 

"Well, Miss Arlissa, seems like your sweet Granny was in just the right place if she was going to have a stroke." He smiled at both the old lady and her granddaughter.

"Now, let's check you over, Ms. Hinton."

He gently picked up her hands, one at a time and had her try to press against his open hand, testing their strength. Then he did the same thing with her feet. 

"Well, it seems we are going to have some therapy to go through with you, sweet lady. But I think we can get you up and moving one of these days soon. It's going to take some work on your part and Miss Arlissa's as well, once we get you ready to go back home. You do want that, don't you?"

The old lady stared at him as though he were the most ignorant man she had ever seen. Of course, she wanted to go home. 

"We still have to keep an eye on the heart as well as tending to your physical movement. You must do exactly as we instruct you, Ms. Hinton. Understand?"

Again, she stared at him with what Arlissa called her stony look that seemed as though she were looking right into the soul and knew what you were thinking.

"Ah...I guess you do. Okay. We're going to get your heart regulated and then we'll begin the exercises a few at a time."

He believed in leveling as much as possible with his patients and Arlissa appreciated that.

"Well, I need to go right now, I do have a few other patients to see yet today. I'll be back later on. Goodbye, Ma'am, Miss Arlissa."

She followed him out into the hallway. 'Oh, no, one of those who always followed the doctor outside the room to see if he would tell them any more in private.' he thought to himself.

"Doctor, please...Is my Granny gonna be okay?"

"Now, Miss Hinton, er Arlissa, we're going to do everything we can to get her back on her feet, but with strokes and at her age and in the condition of her heart, especially so, there are no guarantees. I can't make any promises, except to say we are going to do our best. I'm sorry I can't tell you any more than that." 

If he had been wearing a hat, he probably would have tipped it to her before he left. He smiled again, and turned to go. 

Arlissa went back into the room, and found Granny looking resigned. She couldn't tell Arlissa what she was thinking; she tried, but it only came out sounding like nothing either of them had ever heard, so she just gave up and lay back on the pillow, exhausted, tears of frustration leaking from her eyes. Reaching up with her left hand, she wiped them away and shut her eyes, turning her head away from Arlissa.

"Oh, Granny, what am I going to do? What am I going to do?"

Granny opened her eyes and looked at her dear granddaughter. She brought her left hand up to her chin, lifted her eyes, looked at the ceiling, and closed her eyes, moving her mouth the best she could. Then she looked at Arlissa again, and pointed her left hand to the girl.

Arlissa looked puzzled. What did Granny mean? 

Then it came like a revelation. "You mean you want me to pray?"

The old lady gave her a one sided grin, and nodded her head.

Well, at least Granny could still think clearly. Arlissa bowed her head and began to talk to the Great Physician.

(To be continued)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Arlissa - Her Story - Day 46

Arlissa knew Granny was most likely upset, but that was to be expected. So she didn't look for fear she would not be able to continue. 

"I know, Granny. It's not a good situation. You see, but I gotta finish tellin' it before I lose my nerve. It ain't gonna be easy with us tryin' to raise that little boy. When the Sheriff told them that Rosie gave me guardianship of Benny, they was really mad and he called me and told me to not come over right away. Now I know that the only way I'd have any right to legally raise him is the paper she wrote out, me not bein' kin to him or anything. She took her own life, Granny! Right there practically right in front of me and I didn't know it. There...that's what I wanted to tell you."

As she turned to look at her grandmother, Arlissa's eyes widened. She had never seen Granny looking like that. Or sounding that way. Granny was trying to talk to her, but all that was coming out was all like mixed up and she had spit running down one side of her mouth. Her eyes were open wider than Arlissa had ever seen them, except when Granny was really, really upset or alarmed. 

She ran for the nurse. 

"Oh, help, help, please. Somethin's wrong with my Granny! She can't talk. Hurry, hurry!" 

Arlissa was wringing her hands, agitated beyond measure. When she had gotten the attention of the nurses, one of them ran back with her to 215. 

"Look at her! What's wrong with her, nurse? Why is she like that?"

The nurse took one look and immediately began working with Granny. 

"Okay, just try to relax, Ms. Hinton. You've had a stroke; the doctor will be in soon to help. In the meantime, let's get you comfortable and lying down. We know you can't talk right now. Don't worry, your speech has been temporarily affected by the stroke. We're going to work to get it back. Okay? Let's calm down now. I'm going to bring you an aspirin, it will help."

She removed the tray cart which was over the bed and got the old lady settled in the bed. Ms. Hinton was still trying to talk and getting more agitated by the minute. 

Arlissa stood by, helpless to do anything except try to assure her Granny that she was going to be okay and not to worry about anything. 

"I'll take care of you, Granny! You're gonna be okay. I promise! Now let's jist get you better. The nurse'll be right back with an aspirin. If she says it'll help, then it will. Aspirins are medicine, ain't they?"

She knew she was prattling along, but right now, that was all she was able to do. She began to pray. She knew God was right there with them and would help them through this. 

"Oh, Lord, please jist be with us, and help us know what to do to help my Granny. You made us, Lord! You know our bodies even better than we do. You know us from even before the time we were made inside our mothers. You knew we were goin' to be, before we was. I'm trustin' You, Lord, to help my Granny to be better, if'n it's in Your Will to do so. Thank You, Lord. Amen."

She had spoken aloud and then she looked at her Granny, who looked much more peaceful and settled. She had heard the prayer and prayed with Arlissa. It was her Granny who had raised her and taught Arlissa about God's love and care for them. 

The prayer was the best thing Arlissa could have done as she spoke it aloud. Not only was she speaking to God, but Granny heard and responded in faith.

The nurse returned then and had Granny sit up and see if she could swallow a sip of water. She did swallow and so the nurse gave her the aspirin to chew. 

"Now, just chew slowly and then take another sip of water. The doctor will be in in just a while. He had an emergency surgery that he is taking care of right now."

Turning then to Arlissa, she said, "She is much calmer now. What happened?"

"I spoke to another Physician, and He is helping too." Arlissa smiled.

"You did? Where? How?"

"I can talk to Him anytime and any place. So can you, if you want to."

The truth began to dawn on the nurse. She lifted her eyebrows.

"Oh, Oh! Yes, yes. Good." 

She was clearly taken aback and seemed rather embarrassed. Hmmm. 

"Well, I'll send the doctor in as soon as he gets to our desk."

Arlissa had a lot to think about, and sat down by Granny when the nurse departed. She took Granny's hand, and spoke.

"Now, Granny, you're gonna be jist fine, so don't you worry none. Okay? We're gonna get through this, I jist know." 
She smiled reassuringly and patted the old lady's hand. Granny just looked at her, wondering if her time had come.

Arlissa looked at Granny's mouth which drooped on the left side. She learned later that apparently the right side of the brain was the one affected by the stroke, and that was where speech control was located. She was going to learn quite a bit about the effects of stroke in the days ahead.

She had to wonder how long her Granny had, and how she could care for both Benny and her Granny at the same time. Then there was her job, too. What would they do for money?

(To be continued)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Arlissa = Her Story - Day 45

Pulling into the parking lot, she was glad to be there and that she had found a parking spot not too far from the entrance. Hurrying out of the car, she headed for the door and was soon on her way into the building.

When she reached the desk, she was sure her Granny must be in room of her own by now, so when she inquired, she found that to be true. 

"Your grandmother is in room 215 A. So far she doesn't have a roommate. We didn't have room in the ward, so she was put into a semi-private room. We have a lot of people with the influenza in the ward."

After thanking the nurse, she headed for the elevators. Of course, they would have put her Granny in the Ward, because of their financial condition, she realized. As she rode up, she stewed over the whole situation. What were they going to do? She sure didn't want Granny worrying, and now... more problems. Thank you, Rosie! Well, they would just deal with things as they came. God would help them, she had to believe.

Putting a smile on her face, she exited the elevator and found Room 215.

Pushing the door open, she saw her Granny sitting up in bed, having lunch.

"Where you been, girl? You talked to the sawbones yet, to see when I can get outta here? It's costing us money, every minute I'm in here! I can sit around in bed at home, if need be!"

Uh-oh! Granny was in a snit, and this was going to take quite a bit of sweet-talking and diplomacy. What tack to take to approach this attitude? Granny in a snit was not a pleasant thing to watch taking place.

"Now, Granny! If you really want outta here, ya gotta calm down and not cause trouble. Besides, I got somethin' I need to talk over with you."

Walking over, she shut the door as though she wanted privacy, and not have anyone to overhear what she was going to discuss with the old woman.

Well, that calmed Granny's tirade, because if Granny had any one attribute, it was an everlasting curiosity. A big smile split her face and she was soon all ears and no sass. She sat up and said, "Tell!"

"Well, you know Rosie O'Hanlon..."

Arlissa was going to draw it out as much as possible to pull her Granny into the story. 

"Yes, go on...what about Rosie? What's that foolish girl done now? Is she back home?"

"Now, just a minute, Granny! If I'm going to tell you about her, you gotta keep eatin', cause you need that food to get stronger."

"Okay, okay.. see, I'm eatin'. Yum! Now, go on!"

The girl continued with her story.

"Well, I went over to her house yesterday. She has a little boy now, named Benito, but she calls him Benny. His father is not married to Rosie, and apparently got her hooked on drugs while she was with him. She came home with me and brought Benny with her."

The old lady sat back against the bed. "Well, I never!"

"I know, Granny. It's hard to get ahold of, but apparently true."

Sitting up again, "Tell me more, child! What happened when she got to our place?"

"Granny, you keep eatin' now!" She watched as the old lady took another few bites. The food was slowly disappearing. Good. 

"Well, I had a good time playing with Benny and Rosie didn't do a lot more talking. We had a bit of supper and Benny had played so hard, he got sleepy and we put him to bed on my divanette in my bedroom. Then Rosie and I sat and talked awhile before she went out on the front porch for awhile."

"What'd she do that for? Kinda bad manners if you ask me..but then she always was kinda flighty and fidgety, even when you girls was a lot younger. And on drugs??? She's got no business raisin' a little boy! How old is that pore little tyke anyhow?"

That was the way Granny was - she would take off on a tangent when she was listening to someone tell something. Her curiosity was a thing to behold. Arlissa wondered if she would ever get to tell a story the way she intended. 

"He's almost three, I believe. But that's not what is important right now, Granny. You see..."

Arlissa was having trouble going on with the story because the enormity of Rosie's passing was choking her up again, and the tears began to fall.

"Oh, Granny, Granny... Rosie's dead! And she wanted me to raise Benny."

Through her tears, she heard Granny gasp.

(To be continued)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Arlissa- Her Story - Day 44

Arlissa waited and as she did so, realized that Bobby Joe didn't know about his friend, Zeb's sister being dead. She knew she had to tell him before the morning got any later. She determined to tell him as soon as he returned.

Fifteen minutes later, here he came leading a fellow driving a truck. Arlissa took a good look at the truck and driver. As he driver got out of the truck, she could see he was a burly fellow with a gap-toothed smile, which he was displaying with good humor. Realizing she didn't even know that person, she looked at Trooper Odom with a querulous look on her face.

He smiled back at her confusion, and explained. 

"He was driving down the road and I stopped him to see if he could help you. First I asked if he had jumper cables, then if he had time to help a lady in distress. Fortunately, he was willing, he was about the fifth person I had stopped."

"Howdy, ma'am. I'm more than happy to help you get your car charged and started. I admit I never had an idee that I'd get such a strange request when I left home this morning. Just wait till I get home and tell the wife and kids what I got to do this morning. I never turn down the chance to be of help anytime. Now, how about you get back in your car and we'll get this hooked up and charge that battery and get you on your way."

"Thank you, sir! l really appreciate your help. Could I have your name, please?"

"Ahh. My name don't matter. Jist glad I could be of help."

After a few minutes, the car battery had received enough charge to keep running, and the man shook Bobby Joe's hand and tipped his cap to Arlissa, got into his truck and waving his hand, he drove away.

"Bobby Joe, I can't thank you  enough for what you just did. But, I do have something I need to tell you that happened during the night last night. I wouldn't want you to think I neglected to let you know."

"Really? What about?"

"It's about the neighbors, the O'Hanlons. Zeb's sister, Rosie, has been my friend for a long time, and she came over to visit me last night with her little boy, Benny. She took her own life last night and I found her this morning and...and..."

She had told all this in one breath so she could get it all out, but then she broke down and began crying all over again. In no time, Bobby Joe had gathered her into his arms, where she collapsed against his chest. He held her for a few minutes and then she pulled back.

"I'm sorry! I'm gettin' your nice uniform all wet."

"That's okay. You can get my uniform wet any time you like, but I hate to see you cry."

Wiping her eyes, she got into her car and said, "I really got to go. My Granny's goin' to be wonderin' what happened to me.  And I gotta drive this car while it's got a battery charge. Thank you for helpin' me. Seems like anytime I need some help, there you happen to be. The O'Hallorans might enjoy a visit from you, bein' Zeb's friend and all. Bye now."

As she pulled out into the road, she realized she hadn't told him the reason she couldn't call on the O'Hanlons for help. Well, no matter, he would find out soon enough when he went to visit them. Then he would probably turn against her, too. Or maybe be caught in the middle?

Time would tell, she reckoned; in the meantime, there was Granny to explain it all to. She wondered just how she was going to ease into it, like she hoped she could without really upsetting Granny. Would Granny be able to deal with a long drawn out lawsuit, being sick and all?

(To be continued) 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Arlissa - Her Story - Day 43

Arlissa got ready to go see Granny and knew she needed to tell Granny about everything that had happened. Should she worry her with all that, she wondered. She didn't want to upset her Granny, but when Granny came home would be too late to tell her. Nothing but to do except just out with it right off, but maybe just kind of ease into it slowly. Yeah, that's what she would do...just ease into it. 

She walked out to the car and prayed the car would start. It was temperamental about starting and Arlissa never knew if it would give her trouble or not. She had no sooner put her foot on the starter pedal than she heard the sound of a motorcycle. 

Laying her head on the steering wheel, she gritted her teeth. Not that pesky Bobby Joe Odom! Not now! Arghh! No, here he came, right up to the car window...looking in and smiling.

"What do you want?"

"Well, now, Miss Arlissa, I just came by to see if you might need some help with starting your vehicle. Seems like I remember yesterday you havin' some trouble with the old gal."

"It's going to do just fine, smarty pants! Just listen..."

She turned on the ignition and to her dismay only heard the click, click of an inactive battery. Her face turned a beet red and she jumped out of the car ready to do battle with the only handy object of her anger standing before her with a smirk on his face. So she let go and smacked him right on the nose with her fist.

"Whoa! Hey, listen!" The object of her anger grabbed her fist and held on. "I had nothing to do with the fact your car won't start. Let's take a look at it, okay? I was only teasing you a bit. Reach in there and release the hood."

She did so and he raised the hood on the car. 

Leaning over the car works, he noted a lot of corrosion on the poles of the battery. 

"I think maybe I see the problem here. Let me just clean off these places and see if that doesn't help." 

Taking out his pocket knife, he opened the large blade and cleaned the poles of the battery, then reattached the wires.

"Okay, now get back in and see if she'll start. Just had no way to get the juice flowing in the battery cells."

She turned the key again and it gave a low growl, but nothing more.

"Hmmm. You need it to be jumped from another car battery. Once that's done, you can drive it long enough to get the charge built up. You got a neighbor that would come over and give it a charge? How about the O'Hanlons?"

"Ha! Not much chance of that this morning. Nope. Ain't gonna happen. Right now, they wouldn't give me air in a jug."

Bobby Joe smelled a story but he couldn't say anything, except to ask about other neighbors. 

"Wait a minute. I got an idea. I'll be back in a few minutes. Don't go anywhere."

She simply looked at him as if to say, "How in the world would I get anywhere now?"

He headed off on his motorcycle and left her sitting in her car.

(To be continued)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Arlissa - Her Story = Day 42

Going into the kitchen, the sheriff closed the door to avoid being overheard, then asked the operator for the Hinton house.

The phone rang several times, the sheriff praying the whole time that Arlissa was still at home. He wanted to avoid a confrontation at any cost right now. He knew he would have to be present when and if she came to claim the boy.

"Come on, come on, answer the phone, girl!" he was saying to himself like a mantra.

Just then, he heard the halting voice on the other end of the phone. 


"Ah, Miss Arlissa, this is the Sheriff. I think maybe it might be best if you wait a while to come over and try to pick up the boy. You might want to give them a bit of time to grieve their loss. Mz. Tunstall near exploded when she read that document that Rosie left for you. How about you go visit your granny in the hospital today and talk with her about all of it. After all, she don't know about Miss Rose and all."

"Oh, okay. If you think so, Sheriff. I don't know, but it may be a good idea to talk it over with Granny. She's got a right smart head on her shoulders, all right. Thank  you, Sheriff. I'll let you know what I decide to do."

The Sheriff let out a breath, wiped his face which by now was drenched in sweat and hung up the phone.

Going back into the living room, he told them again how very sorry he was about the whole matter and told them he'd most likely be back some time with further news. 

"We'll also have an inquest soon into Miss Rose's death." Turning aside, he walked over to the couch where Marie O'Hanlon sat sobbing quietly, he knelt down and took her hand in his big one. 

"I'm so sorry about your big sister, Miss Marie."

Looking up at him with those big brown eyes, she whispered, "Thank you, Sheriff. I know she was hard to get along with some times, but she never really meant some of the things she said, and she always looked out for me."

He knew what she said was true. He patted her hand and said he was sorry again, then stood and walked over to the Tunstall couple again, shaking Mr. Tunstall's hand and patting Helen on the shoulder, which she shrugged to shake his hand off of it.

UH-OH! Seemed she was going to choose to be angry at the Sheriff as well as Miss Arlissa. Well, it was only natural, he thought. Everybody chooses to get mad at the law and it's representatives when they run afoul of it. 

Picking his hat up from the coffee table where he had placed it only minutes before, he took his leave of them through the front door.

"Whew!" Wiping the sweat from his brow once again, he opened the truck door and threw his hat into seat beside his, and climbed in.

"I dread the days to come. I'll probably have the whole clan of the O'Hanlons to wade through if and when I have to accompany Miss Arlissa to pick the boy up." He told himself. "I may have to take several deputies with me."

"Oh, Lordy, Lordy! What a mess!"

(To be continued)  

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Arlissa - Her Story - Day 41

While Arlissa fed the chickens and finished up the necessary chores on the farm, the Sheriff took no pleasure in his task of discussing Rosie's demise with the Tunstall/O'Hanlon household. He also had the unpleasant task of letting them know what the document he held in his pocket contained. It was going to knock them for a bigger loop than losing Rosie, he believed. 

He knocked on the door of their farmhouse, praying silently to himself, asking for wisdom and knowledge of the best tack to take in this unpleasant duty he was facing.

Mrs. Tunstall answered the door with tear-stained features on her visage; clearly wishing it were not so, but  unable to stem the tide of forthcoming events, clearly ignorant of what the future held for her family. 

"Come in, Sheriff. We've been expecting your visit. Please come and have a seat in the living room and please keep it as quiet as possible. We finally got little Benny to sleep."

"Yes, ma'am. I'm sorry ma'am, to disturb you at a time like this, but I got some things that's gotta be said and I'm not looking forward to it."

Following her into the living room, he removed his hat, and placed it on his knee as he sat down. 

"First, let me tell you how sorry I am about Miss Rosie. I don't pretend to even understand all she was going through to make her do what she did or why she took certain actions which will become more clear in the next few minutes."

They looked at him, perplexed by his words. What was he talking about? What actions had she taken besides taking her own life?

"Please know that I'm convinced that Miss Arlissa knew nothing about what Miss Rosie was planning on doing. I know that for certain."

Now they were more confused than ever, and their emotions were clear as they looked at him, with their eyes full of questions.

To answer their queries, he simply took the document from his pocket and removing it from the envelope, he passed it across to them and sat back, waiting for a reaction.

He was not disappointed when it was forthcoming. 

"What??!! I don't believe it! How could she? How could she be so heartless and conniving as to keep our grandson away from us? What was Rosie thinking, anyway! Well, I for one, will not stand for it. Over my dead body is the only way she'll ever get her hands on my only grandbaby!"

By now, Helen Tunstall was standing and shouting, waving the paper around, getting ready to tear it into shreds. Her husband simply reached over and removed it from her grasp before she could do so.

"Now, Mrs. Tunstall, I must have that document back. I have seen it and I know it exists. As an officer of the court, I'm sworn to uphold the law. I'm sorry, and I know how upset you must be."

Mr. Tunstall returned the document to the Sheriff and he replaced it in the envelope and returned it to his inner pocket, and patted it to ensure it didn't fall out.

"Ha! You don't know the half of it, Sheriff! That little gal is going to have the fight of her life to get my grandchild away from us. We've got possession of him and I've always heard that possession is 9 point out of 10 when it comes to ownership."

"Now, Helen, think about what you're sayin'! We don't own people! We take care of children, but they are not our possessions. We'll settle this all amicably, but we're not goin' to go all off the deep end about it. Now just calm down a bit and sit back down here."

Whew! The Sheriff pulled out his handkerchief and wiped the sweat from his brow. He was sweating bullets by now and hoped the worst was over, but knew it was only beginning. Maybe he'd best call Arlissa and warn her about coming over at the present time. Give them time to cool down a bit. 

"Uh, mind if I use your phone a minute?"

"Why, no, Sheriff. Feel free. It's in the kitchen on the wall."

(To be continued)