Good Morning Ted and Jody:
After six to eight weeks of going without a massage, (I stopped counting least I fall into a deep depression) I finally got a massage this morning. Oh, what a relief it is. I probably should have scheduled 4 or 5, but she has other clients; and, I did learn to share in kindergarten. Juli is between nursing positions. After being put in jeopardy of getting black marks for the actions of her superiors, both times by her immediate supervisor, twice she resigned as head of nursing at a nursing home. She gave them 30 days notice. Since they were in the middle of an annual state review, she stayed 45 days to get them past that. I suspect her next position (which she starts in mid-July) will be a bit less tense. Anyway, it was great to talk with her this morning and get caught up with her children and parents. Besides, I was in dire need of a massage.
I stopped for breakfast before my massage and ran into Art. Art is in an apartment now and has found the books at the dollar store. He just finished a biography or autobiography of a former head of one of Sony units in America.. so Art was full of news from twenty to forty years ago in the broadcast and music industries.
On a more current news cycle, I was interested to see the Washington Post story yesterday about what Obama knew about Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election and his dilemma in dealing with it. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/world/national-security/obama-putin-election-hacking/?utm_term=.7d5eaa9f52bb
Since the pestilence is so far into his denials about its existence, it is pretty clear the Russians will be back with more sophisticated ways to do it again.
I hope this finds you enjoying summer.
Warmest regards, Ed
006 Tuesday Morning, June 16, 1926
Fiction in 998 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
The night before, the gas station and post office at Ladoga Wyoming looked deserted and darker than Mrs. Calkins had ever experienced in her entire life. Today the sun was out. Moving to the window she looked out in the direction of the gas station some 100 yards bellow the house she was now in. There were three Model Ts, two motorcycles and seven single horse-drawn wagons parked by the gas station. ‘I suspect they would call them buckboards,’ she thought remembering her childhood Saturday morning movie days. . ‘A virtual population explosion,’ she thought. “But where are the people,” she said out-loud. She could hear no voices and saw no movement from the window she was looking out. She called out, “YO0-HOO, ANYONE HERE.” Getting no response she moved to the window on the other wall and saw high desert as far as the eye could see. She found her clothes neatly folded on a chair and remembered folding them and changing into the shift that Thora had given her when they came up after a long talk over a cup of tea. Thora told her, ‘this is the room the first young one will have, after we get the papers, you know.’ Mrs. Calkins asked her why the papers were so important. Thora responded that ‘Otherwise it isn’t right in the eyes of the Lord.’
Having changed into her clothes from the day before, Mrs, Calkins opened the door and took the stairs down to the kitchen. Out the back door of the kitchen she could see a knot of people on the top of the hill to the north, just as the night before, Tom Ladoga had told her they would be burying his father. While it was difficult to count the people at the distance they were away from her, Mrs. Calkins estimated a dozen or more people were gathered on that hill. Turning to the interior of the kitchen she saw a notepad set up like a tent on the table next to a coffee cup. She went over and found it was a note from Thora telling her the coffee was in the pot on the stove and bread in the pie safe.
The coffee was hot and strong. No cream, no milk, so Mrs. Calkins went to the hand pump on the sink and pumped until she had a small stream of water and added water to the cup to cool it and make it less able to hold a spoon upright. Pulling her fanny pack off and laying it on the table, she opened it and took her personal items out one at a time taking inventory: cellphone, cellphone charger and cable, lipstick, compact, mascara, gum, ibuprofen tablets, wallet with useless money and credit cards and a driver license that won’t be valid until well into the next Century, her wedding ring that she had carried every since Frank died, and key ring with house, car, and safety deposit box keys. ‘All the evidence around me says this is 1926. If I tell the sheriff what happened and when I will be sent to what passes for a mental institution in 1926. Better I have amnesia,’ Mrs. Calkins thought. She emptied her wallet of all the cards, and money and ids. Using the cloth she had used to pour the coffee, she opened the lower door on the stove in which coals were bright red. She added her money, credit cards, and ids to the coals. The ‘fresh fuel’ briefly flamed sending up a bit of black smoke through the chimney. She went to the door and saw that the knot at the top of the hill was still in place. ‘If I am lucky, no one saw the bit black smoke the plastic made,’ she thought. She returned to the table and put the remainder of her ‘belongings’ back into her fanny pack and strapped it on. ‘I don’t know why I am keeping the cell phone, but it will be easier to explain than had I tried to burn it,’ she thought and sat down and calmly drank her still strong but cooler coffee.
Thora was the first person back down the hill from the funeral. She looked excited and happy when she entered the kitchen. “Pastor Braton from Rawlings came for Nathan’s funeral. He going to hitch Tom and I after they all have coffee.”
Mrs. Calkins stood up and asked, “What can I do to help. What do you need me to to do make it easier for you, Thora.”
Thora pointed at Mrs. Calkins and said, “Do you have any more cosmetics? I mean you didn’t seem to have a purse last night, but today your face looks freshly made up. Do you have more.”
Mrs. Calkins turned the fanny pack from her back to her front, unzipped it and pulled out mascara, lipstick and her compact. He handed them towards, Thora. Thora put up her hands, “I don’t know how to use them. Can you put them on me? Please, I want to look, well you know you’re being a Missus and all. . .”
A woman dressed in black entered and looked at the two women and said, “You better freshen up Thora. I’ll tend to the men’s coffee. The Pastor has to be back in Rawlings this afternoon.”
Thora said, “Thank you, Norma Rae,” Pointing to Mrs. Calkins, she said, “Norma Rae this is Aida Calkins, Mrs. Calkins. She is going to help me get ready.”
Norma Rae, frowned, “Best she change clothes too or there will be talk what with her wearing pants like a man. Sure there will be talk.”
Mrs. Calkins said, “You are right and nice to meet you, Norma Rae.” Grabbing Thora’s hand “Come upstairs we got a lot to do and no time to do it.” The could hear the sound of men walking and talking about what a great fellow Nathan was as they flew up the stairs.