Time Warp

We’re back from a trip to Michigan. Mom had heart surgery in Grand Rapids at the heart center, and she did so well she was out of the hospital in 48 hours! So we were able to bring her back to Kalamazoo and get her set up at home. This was really a medical miracle because she had a 6th stent put inย andย a new heart valve without having to undergo open heart surgery. I am not impressed easily by modern medicine (though I probably should be), but this knocked my socks off.

While she was in the hospital, the gardener and I went for a drive one day and visited both Saugatuck and Holland. We really wanted to stare at Lake Michigan, so when we saw the sign in Saugatuck we started walking.

Walking without asking. Now, mind you, I have a reconstructed foot. This was a rare surgery done because of damage by a rare tumor. So even though I almost always wear my orthotic-adorned New Balances, I never know when the foot will start to hurt like crazy and I will have to stop walking.

Before we had gone too far I asked a woman who was passing by how long the trail was. “About a half mile,” she said. “But it’s very hilly.”

Yes, ma’am, it was very hilly. But it warn’tย no half mile.

I looked it up afterward. 2.5 miles each way. HEH

I was lucky that my foot didn’t seem to mind and see where we ended up.

Worth it? MUCH.

A beach and a view with very few people.

After that we drove to Holland because the gardener had an antique store to check out, and I wanted to visit Windmill Island as I had as a kid.

Back to my Dutch roots ;).

These shoes would need some magical orthotics for me to wear them haha.

We found a restaurant the gardener could eat in without worry. Celiacs note: Persian restaurants are the next best thing to completely gluten free restaurants! Usually, only the bread, desserts, and a few appetizers have gluten.

Chicken koobideh and a rice dish with barberries.

My mother looked great after her surgery, and the only real hitch was when the discharge nurse told mom she can’t drive for a certain period of time. That made her really unhappy. Next day, she said she wanted blueberries from the blueberry farm. Which, of course, was way out in the country. And we had lots of errands and chores to get her settled in. She even pouted/whined a bit. “I can’t drive myself there.” Sniff sniff.

So we took her. When I walked inside, the smell of blueberries was overpowering. She bought 5 pounds and gave my brother and sister-in-law some of them.

The blueberries seem blurry, and I don’t know why. But we also walked around the farm a bit to give mom some exercise.

Yup, that’s me driving the tractor.

Last year we had Mom’s retirement community plant a plum tree in my father’s memory. We used to have a plum tree in our backyard growing up and Dad would take a pic every so often–as it grew and as we grew. So a plum tree seemed right.

The tree is on the outskirts of a woods that abuts the retirement community. The gardener drove us in Mom’s golf cart through the woods.

When we came out of the woods we saw the beautiful gardens planted by the residents of the community. Flowers and vegetables–so lovely.

It was also my birthday on the day we took my mother home from the hospital. My uncle, my dad’s twin, did what he did last year: called to sing “Happy Birthday” to me. That’s what my father used to do every year we were apart. I love that my uncle is carrying on the tradition.

The gardener and I checked out a few of our old houses, visited his parents’ graves (Dad’s is not in town and there wasn’t time), and appreciated the wild flowers (Queen Anne’s Lace, Chicory, Day Lilies, Ironweed). We left Kalamazoo 27 years ago, and at our last house, we noticed that they still have the same drapes in the living room. That was astonishing because those drapes were actually hung 32 years ago, and they are made of massive amounts of off-white sheers. I can’t imagine them lasting this long. But what I do remember is how much work I put into designing them and finding someone to make them–and how much I loved them! I wrote a poem about them and put it in the portfolio of poems I submitted to Western Michigan University for my application to the MFA program. The last stanza goes like this:

Through shadowed glass,

with guarded eyes,

my neighbors wait

for me to swoop my fingers

through the sheer

and clutch the volume

to my chest.

The poem is called “New Drapes,” though these are far from new, and none of the neighbors could still live there any more. Just one of the many time warp experiences I had.

And so it goes.



Filed under #writerlife, Family history, Flora, Garden, and Landscape, Food & Drink, gluten free, gluten free travel, History, Liminality, Nonfiction, Sightseeing & Travel, Writing

67 responses to “Time Warp

  1. An entertaining and informative post. Great news about your Mom; and marvellous achievement in the walk

    • Thanks so much, Derrick. It was so wonderful to see how great she did and that she missed all those horrible months of recovery from open heart, especially now that she is on her own.

  2. So glad about your mom and glad you took her for blueberries! Also glad you mom’s heart did so well. Medicine today is amazing. I remember an uncle who had a heart attack in the ’60s. He was in the hospital for 6 weeks in a plastic tent filled with oxygen. Now they have those little tubes for the nose and you can be very active. No one stays in the hospital that long unless they are severely injured. I worked with a guy who had open heart surgery (quadruple by-pass) and he was only in 5 days. It’s good. I never liked being in the hospital. That chicken dish looks yummy!

    • The hospital is always awful–and it’s a good place to pick up an infection, too, unfortunately. What you say about heart attacks in the 60s–yes, I remember those days. And when a kid “just” had a broken leg–the traction and length of time was awful. As for the blueberries, how could I not take her hahaha? That little pout ;).

  3. Glad to hear about happy medical outcomes, on all counts! And a beach with few people is my idea of heaven. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks, Maggie! Seeing the lake that way was so much more special than walking into the crowds at South Haven. It was as though we “discovered” the lake.

  4. Lovely account, including family, nature, and memories. Your photos are splendid! You really took this reader along. A delightful journey.

    • Ah thanks, Elaine. I was so glad to be able to be there for Mom, and then to take a little break was good, too. Our trip there was pretty awful, as so much travel today is!

  5. Happy Belated Birthday, Luanne! Looks like you certainly had plenty of other things to think about this year on your birthday, but I like that you were able to return to some favorite places in the midst of your mom’s medical travails.
    What a trooper she is – I’m very glad she is doing so well from the surgery. (Guard your car keys.)
    I loved the pictures, too – particularly the windmill and, of course, the one of you driving the tractor. Too fun.
    I’m impressed with your hiking!! Take care of yourself.

    • Thanks for the birthday wishes! It would have been a lousy birthday except that Mom got sprung AND I had potato pancakes for lunch ;). We joked about taking her car keys (and the keys to the golf cart, too), but she didn’t have a great sense of humor about that haha.
      You, too, Sheila!! And say hi to T.

  6. Nice poem, Luanne. I’m very happy for you and your mom that her surgery went well.

    • Thank you so much, Anneli. We had a hard time getting there the day of the surgery as the entrance to I94 was completely blocked and of course nobody sells a map these days–or can give directions either. We’re a bunch of idiots with our technology. So when I finally got to the ICU and saw Mom sitting up, with her normal color, and asking for food, it was a great feeling.

  7. I loved this post! So much great stuff going on. The photos are beautiful!
    I’m so happy everything went well for your mother, Luanne. What a relief for you.
    I’d say that walk was worth it. And how great that it didn’t bother your foot. Keep walking girl!
    Happy belated birthday. When was it? Mine was the 22nd. xo

  8. Such a delightful read, Luanne. I AM amazed by modern medicine and am so glad your mom benefited from this recent procedure ๐Ÿ™‚
    Blueberries, mmhm. Oh yes. Michigan blueberries are mostly what we get here.
    I have a stupid foot, too, not as dramatic, too many pirouettes, lol, but it acts up now and again, so I can completely relate to being pleased your foot let you keep going. What a view!
    That Persian dish looks scrumptous and I am hungry!
    I’m pleased y’all had such a great trip ๐Ÿ˜€

    • The Persians make regular koobideh which is beef, but when you can find chicken koobideh, YUMMY.
      Sorry about your foot. You were a dancer? Or are you kidding? What is so dumb about a bad foot is when it seems fine and then suddenly oops it isn’t and you’re stuck somewhere. That happened to me in the middle of Manhattan visiting my daughter. At least there they have public transportation, unlike the state park woods and dunes.
      Hope your weekend is one you’re grateful for!

      • I was a dancer, I wasn’t kidding.
        One of my worst was a day at a state park, hiking. We were with another family and it was killing me and I felt like it really brought the mood down. By the time we were done and back to the car, I was swollen badly. They say it’s neuropathy from RA, triggered by old injury. I had inserts for fallen arches for four years, lotsa tests, and the only physically visible issue is inflammation and um, that ankle is inches bigger. So mine isn’t as bad as yours, I can keep moving, though painful. Still, I relate, and I relate most to not knowing when it will act up, or how badly.

        • Ugh, it’s awful having foot pain because we rely on those guys a lot. It is so embarrassing to me to have my foot act up and annoy other people or ruin their time, so I can empathize. What kind of dancer were you? Why don’t I remember reading that?

          • It IS embarrassing sometimes. Ballet and modern, mostly. I dunno. I allude to it now and again, but I quit a long time ago, so it’s not something I talk about a lot.

            • My daughter was a dancer for years before she started putting as much effort into her singing and acting. So I was a dance mom before there was a TV show. And I took ballet for years as a kid and then again a bit as an adult and then jazz as an adult. Hahahaha. I was so much better when nobody was looking than when somebody was.

              • I second that. I loved doing it, not performing. I think it’s nice we have another thing in common. My oldest did a bit of ballet, and wasn’t any good, but she did a bit better in tap. She loved the costumes. My younger two did ballet and tap and were good at it, but didn’t want to make it their whole life. That’s how so much of the extra-curricular is now, completely absorbed or not at all. Hard to have well-rounded kids who aren’t overscheduled. :/

              • Oh, yeah, it was already like that with my kids. My daughter was perfect for it–loved the focus on her talents. My son not so much. When he started to get really good at something he would quit haha.

              • I encourage mine to do two things a year. Lately that’s been music and sports, but Bubba and Moo, they’ve definitely tried a lot of stuff on.

  9. Happy Birthday Luanne! I’m glad your mother has recovered so well and that you had a little time to take in the scenery while you were there.

    • Thank you, Andrea! Yes, it was good to get out of the hospital and the travel mode and just relax for a few hours! Even if that relaxing was a lot of walking up hills ;).

  10. So much in this post, Luanne–family, food, nature trails, and memories.
    I’m so pleased that your mom had the surgery and is doing so well. I’m sure she was relieved to be out of the hospital so quickly, too. I’m glad your foot cooperated so you could see that view. Wow!
    A belated happy birthday to you, and oh, how touching that your father’s twin brother has taken over his tradition. (Nope, that’s not me getting teary-eyed.)
    How clever you are to design drapes and then write a poem about them. I’m glad they’re still there.
    We don’t have any drapes in our house–though I’m sure that cats would love them. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks, Merril! Yes, it’s so sweet of my uncle! He also lost his only daughter some years ago (he has a son), so we are good for each other. The living room of that house was really unusual for a 60s tract colonial. Both end walls were full glass/window. So the room needed a lot of drapes for a bit of privacy and softness, but I didn’t want to lose all that precious light, which is why I wanted toga-ey things. We both still miss that house sometimes as it was such a neat one.

  11. This is just like having a chat over the back fence Luanne – I’d say ‘Welcome home, how’d it go?’ and this would follow ๐Ÿ™‚ Belated birthday greetings and what a wonderful gift that your mom is well and back home and your uncle sang to you in lieu of your dad ….. So lovely! I attended a funeral two days ago of a wonderful man who passed from heart complications that couldn’t be fixed. So it’s especially nice to hear of someone who has been. I love your lace curtains, the last part of the poem and the fact that they are still there! Sometimes things made with love last ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. What a great trip, Luanne. I lived in Michigan for 25 years and always enjoyed the Lake Michigan area. Thanks for the memories.

  13. I love that part of Michigan. My mom was from Hastings and my parents are both buried there. Beautiful, rolling hills. So green in the summer. You describe it so well.

  14. I’m so excited to hear things with your mother’s surgery went smoothly and beyond your expectations! This is such great news, Luanne. ๐Ÿ’–

    Blueberries and a teary eyed Mom somehow made me smile! I guess we should be glad our mothers are present (yay for Moms!) as well as showing gumption! ๐ŸŽ†
    I think more about my own Dad in the Summer. Once he retired, this was his favorite season! hugs xo

  15. Oh dear! P.S.
    I liked this portion of an older poem by you, “New Drapes.”
    I was glad you made it to see the Great Lake Michigan. It was wrong that the person told you the incorrect length of the big hike!
    Happy birthday all year!! This is belated, sorry. Sending you hugs and wishes for one of your best years ever! ๐Ÿพ ๐ŸŒˆ ๐Ÿท ๐ŸŽ

  16. So much in this post! Wonderful news about your mom. May she grow stronger by the day. Those blueberries will help! I have a good friend who just went through surgery to ‘reconstruct’ his foot. Won’t be able to walk for 8 months, but hoping to walk lots in his future. I’ll tell him about your half mile (ha ha, plus a few in between). Good for you!
    And the drapes – how wonderful is it to view an old place you once lived in, and see your ‘new drapes’? Your poem is fabulous.

  17. What a wonderful post, Luanne, so full of joie de vivre… beautiful memories, lovely pics… heavenly food – would love the recipe for that persian rice… maybe Google can help !
    Your mother is so lucky to have such a loving daughter, and so glad her operation went well.. amazing that you can have a sixth stent !!!

  18. Nice poem. Hope your foot is OK. Beautiful pictures. I really liked the one with you driving the tractor. Glad you were able to bring your MOM home.

  19. Thanks for the great tips about Persian restaurants!

  20. Oh my, oh my! I enjoyed this post so much. I too have a reconstructed foot, and were ONLY New Balance per surgeon’s dictates. I told him the other day when I went to get a shot in the TOP of my foot (You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced this, Hon.) “You can demand I wear clunky shoes, but you can’t keep me from coordinating the color of my shoelaces to my outfits!” Thanks for taking me on this “outing.”

    • Oh, wow, that is amazing, Rae! Yes, I understand about the shot. I’ve had lymphoscintigraphy twice–they go between the toes to stick needles into the tiniest vessels–the lymph vessels. And when they biopsied my foot for the tumor they went in the wrong way (the side instead of the top) because it was handled by a new “baby” doctor who bungled it badly. It hurt so bad the nurse and I were stuck together by sweat and she was crying! So trust me I get it! I LOVE the shoelaces! I want to do that! I hadn’t thought of it and will have to give you credit.

  21. Hiking on a new trail, celebrating another birthday, fresh blueberries, and a mom getting better enough to whine about not driving …. sounds perfect ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Happy belated birthday! So many good things happened on your visit! Your mom’s surgery went well, visits to Lake Michigan, Leduc’s, Windmill Island, and more. I loved all the pix. You captured Michigan.

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