Good Morning Ted and Jody:
The driveway was passable yesterday morning. However, the Hyundai scraped the snow off between the tacks. It seems the Hyundai Santa Fe is lower than the Honda Rigdleline. Never the less, Nancy got it out onto the worn-down Hall Road. Then WA504 was plowed! (The plow trucks need to use WA504 to get up to the Cascades in this part of the county, so they plowed down here as well as up there). While it got up to almost 40 the day before yesterday in the afternoon, where the folks on WA504 plowed out their drives on the up hill said of WA504, the drives melted, flowed across the road and created patched of black ice overnight (5 to 10 degrees below freezing overnight and 10 below when we left at 5:25 A.M.). So, there were periodic eight to ten-foot-wide sections of black ice across the road where ever there was a plowed, up-hill, drive off WA 504. I can only imagine that the down-hill plowed drives were sheets of iced from the runoff of the melt from WA504. I-5 was also plowed and traffic was at full speed and then some. We ran out of snow just south of Longview. However, 4 miles from the entrance to the I-5 bridge crossing into Oregon the traffic came to a standstill—we were in the early part of rush hour. While our navigator claimed, we would arrive at 6:50, those last 17 miles, beginning in Washington took us 55 minutes. So, we only got there and hour and 15 minutes early instead of two hours and ten minutes early.
As we drove south on I-5 the temperature climbed from 30 degrees F. to 40 degrees F. This is a sure sign that the County we live in does not pay its heating bills on time. Coming home the reverse happened, but it was above freezing when we got home. We stopped for lunch at a Denny’s at Jansen Beach in Oregon. When I have not eaten for more than a day, I tend to order something I have never tried before. Yesterday it was a sandwich with fried eggs with sausage & bacon mixed in the eggs, sliced ham and cheddar cheese all on toasted potato bred with a hint of maple syrup toasted into it or brushed on it. I also had what are called hash brown potatoes with onions and cheddar cheese cooked into them. While I love hash browns, I loved them plain. So, adding the cheddar and onions was the novelty. The strategy here is that even if I don’t really like something, the flavors after a two-day virtual fast will always taste good. However, this does make for a less than objective evaluation of the food. So,that you know where I borrowed the strategy: My Dad hated tomato juice. Back in the 1939 he was working a fire line to contain a fire in the pine barrens of Bayfield County, Wisconsin. He had been on the line for two days when a truck came by and dumped a case of canned “provisions” without labels for the fire fighters. The case contained only canned tomato juice. He claimed, “That was the best tasting food I had ever eaten.”
The colonoscopy? He found four small polyps, took them out and sent them to the lab. We’ll know in ten days to two weeks if I have to have another colonoscopy next year or if I can wait a few years—all depends upon the lab work now. But, thankfully, I don’t have to prep for the lab work (although Denny’s has some pancakes with blueberries made like donut holes, I might be willing to try the next time.)
On Monday I go in for a Open Lumbar Lamino to attempt to relieve the pains in my legs and back from pinched nerves. I go fasting for that procedure. I wonder if I can finagle another dining event after that one? It is worth a try. In the meantime, I need to start practicing my post-op exercise–sitting up straight and not whining.
I am appending the 3rd installment of the Agent Amanda story.
I only got 3 hours of sleep on Monday Night. I did, however get over 12 ours last night. Now, I think it is time for a nap so I will be properly rested and can get to sleep tonight.
I trust this finds you in good health, happy, well rested and as ready to see spring arrive as I am
Warmest regards, Ed
003 Conditional Release
Fiction in 1316 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
Alice Beaverton had served 49 months of her 60-month sentence for what she thought of as only getting the necessary things her baby would need. The state disagreed, as did a jury of her peers and a judge. They called it grand larceny. ‘Grand larceny was in the prices those stores charged for such small articles of clothing. Why the material alone was less than a full yard. Grand Larceny, my ass,” Alice thought. “I only wanted nice things for little Jessica Ann growing in my belly.’ Her husband, a new lecturer on the University Network, brought in enough money for the standard clothing, crib and the like for a child, but ‘but my unborn Baby Jessica Ann deserved the finer things when she came into this world. Yes, my lovely Jessica,’ thought Alice Beaverton.
Jessica Ann was born in the prison hospital in Alice’s second month of incarceration. They let Alice hold Jessica Ann and even nurse her for ten days. But they did not let Alice keep Jessica Ann, her baby, in the cell with her. ‘Some nonsense about hurting the child. My God, did they not know Jessica Ann was the world?’ she thought as she walked with the matron to the discharge changing room.
The matron held open the door to a room with shower facilities. Alice Beaverton walked into the room and the matron, said, “I’ll be back to escort you out in 30 minutes.” The matron closed the door and Alice could hear the lock snap into place.
There were toiletries, towel and wash cloth, shoes, a stack of clothes, a small tablet and the purse she had when she was arrested. ‘I’ll bet the candies I had in there are still there,’ she thought. She immediately took off her baggy, prison garb and stepped into the shower. ‘While they like you clean, they want you clean with others,’ she thought. She was enjoying the first shower she had taken by herself in almost four years.
Toweling off, she dressed quickly and looked in the purse. The cosmetics in her bag were drying out, old and probably not serviceable. However, she overlooked those failing and though ‘Not enough cosmetics to do a bit of good.’ Then she pulled out a hard candy in a wrapper ‘Ah, the candies are still here.’ She popped one in her mouth and rolled it around, ‘harder than the dickens, and it has cracks’ she thought.
She had finished dressing and making a mental inventory of her purse when the matron returned. She looked at the matron full in the face for the first time. ‘Wearing real clothes gives one a bit of confidence,’ she thought. She read the matron’s name tag, Melissa Hickson, ‘I like that name, she though. ‘Perhaps I could borrow it?’ Alice asked, “What next?”
The matron replied, “That is an identity tab,” pointing to the small tablet. It contains all the necessary endorsements for you to walk the streets, get employment, open and use a financial account, take public transportation and the dates you can visit your daughter and everything else you used to use for identification, money and keys. Carry it with you. Don’t lose it. It will serve you until you get an id implant.”
Alice picked up the identity tab and put it in her purse. She loosened the straps on her purse and hung it on her shoulder. “I guess I am as ready as I will ever be,” she said. She turned to the matron. “Well, Melissa Hickson shall we go?”
The matron replied, “We have to stop at the counselor’s office first. He will detail the regulations until your permanent release.” She opened the door and said “Follow me Alice Beaverton.”
They walked nearly a city block, this way and that, through one locked door after another until they reached a door marked ‘Release Counseling.’ The matron pointed to the door and said, “He is expecting you. Good luck. I hope I don’t see you back here again.” With that, the matron left Alice standing in front of the counselor’s door.
Alice hesitated for a moment, like the shower, except when they put the place on lock down, or studk you in solitary, no one was ever quite alone in prison. She savored the moment. Then she knocked on the door.
A voice from inside said, “Enter.”
Alice grasped the door handle and turned. Nothing happened. Then the voice from inside said, “Oops, forgot to unlock it.”
Alice grasped the handle again; this time, the door opened. Directly across the room from the door in which she was standing, sat an overweight, balding man with a ruddy complexion behind a table that was completely clear. The table has a modesty panel so she could not see his legs or shoes. He was wearing a tunic with the prison logo on the left breast. The man beckoned and said, “Come in Alice Beaverton and let’s get you started on your life of freedom.”
Alice sat down across from the man and put her purse on the floor. The man said, “I am Doctor Caruthers. I am a psychologist. I am not here to examine you or impede your progress to freedom. No, I am here to make sure you understand what you face out there,” as he pointed to a door at a right angle to the door Alice had used to enter the counseling room. “First there is your temporary identity tab. Would you mind putting it on the table please.”
Alice reached down for her purse. She fished around for a brief second and pulled out the identity tab. When the identity tab was placed on the table, a screen in the table illuminated. Everyone now has access to everything by touch. This is possible because of an implant is placed in every person who turns 16 years old. You will get an implant,” Dr. Caruthers looked at the lit screen on the table and then looked up, “in eleven months when your sentence is completed. You are being released, on good behavior, so to speak.” He looked at Alice and asked, “Do you understand all of that.”
Alice shook her head yes and said, “Yes, I understand. But how do I use that thing?” she asked pointing to the identity tab.
Dr. Caruthers replied, “Anyplace there is a touch pad or the like, you simply have to get, what you call, ‘that thing,’ near it. You do not have to make physical contact; a few inches away will do.”
“So, are there restriction built in to the, what did you call it?” asked Allice.
Dr. Caruthers shook his head no and said, “You can go anyplace and use facilities just like a person with an implant. There are none of what you would call restrictions. However, the provision of your condition release is you may only visit with your daughter for six hours a week on the days stipulated in the release notice.”
“Why is there a restriction on when I can see my Baby Jessica Ann?” asked Alice Beaverton.
“I don’t know for sure. But, I would guess it has to do with the divorce your husband obtained and the provisions of the custody document for your daughter,” Doctor Caruthers said. “If you want anything to do with your daughter and your visitation schedule changed you had best obtain legal counsel.” The Doctor hesitated for a moment, “Indeed, I would recommend that in any case, as mothers divorced while in prison do not get the best deals in a divorce.”
“Is there anything else I should know, Doctor?” Alice asked.
“Just don’t lose the identity tab, for if you are hurt or injured, it will be used to find you and get you help,” said the doctor. He smiled broadly, picked up her identity tab and handed it to her. “Then too, you won’t want someone to steal your identity, now would we?”