"Yes, mommy said we're getting a dog."
This was a total surprise. We had some cats, Christine, Tigger and Annie, a group which would grow, but no dog. I had grown up with dogs always around, but my wife never had a dog. And she complained often about the backing of a neighbor's pooch. But she came out and said it was true, she thought the kids should have a dog.
I xhanged and was hustled out the door sown to the shelter on A Street in Wilmington, The Humane Association. We ambled through the kennels and there was this little yellow lab puppy. How did a yellow lab puppy end up in a shelter. His name was Tucker and we adopted him.
My wife had promised she would care for the beast, take him on walk, whatever. You know how that worked out. He was very energetic and she did walk him, but as he grew she came home one day and said she couldn't handle him. From then on I became the dog walker.
He was a very good dog, very smart. In one day he was housebroke. Even on his walks he would not squat and leave any pile behind. I never had to carry plastic bags and a scoop. He would go nowhere but our backyard. The bad part of this is when on a walk, if he had to go, he would race for home dragging me along.
One Saturday morning I took him out for a walk, as usual, but this proved unusual. Somehow the handle on the storm/screen door cut into my left index finger as we left. As was typical, Tucker took off, but my finger was hung on the door. Blood was flowing. I mangered to pull Tucker back and inside the house, but the damage was done. There was a deep cut three quarters of a way around the meatier part of my finger. I looked at it and wondered, "What is this white stuff?"
The white stuff was the bone. The flesh of my finger had been pulled around a quarter inch up on the bone and the flesh was bunch up near above the knuckle. I pushed the flesh back down over my exposed bone realizing if that bone had broken most of my finger would have been lsying out on the stoop.
I went looking though the hall closet for a bandage, but we didn't have any, so I drove to an ACME Market that was about a mile from us then. It isn't there anymore. Total Wine, where my son works, is in the building now. In the first aid row I picked up some gauze and adhesive tape. I had a paper towel wrapped about my bloody finger. At the checkin, the lady before me, who said she was a nurse, was concerned. She said I should go to the emergency ward and get it stitched.
I hadn't the time. I had promised the kids I would take them to Longwood Gardens that day to see these giant insect statues that were on temporary display. I went home, wrapped some guaze about the wound and then the adhesive tape. At Longwood, Darryl said I was bleeding. I had brought the stuff with me, so I rewrapped my finger as we walked.
The gauze was a bad idea. The next morning the guaze was all semi-healed in the wound and I had to pull it out, thus opening everything up again. What to do? I got the cardboard roll from some toilet paper and cut it down to finger size. Taped a lid on one end and then taped this over my finger to protect it. It was amazing how many times I bumped that finger over the next few weeks.
I could remove my shield and look down into the wound and see things moving inside. I think it was the nerves and flesh and all healing. It took about a month before I could discard the cardboard sleeve. By that time it had healed over, except for the scar. The finger became super sensitive then. If I ran my fingertip along my jaw, my whiskers felt large and like a wire brush. Everything I touched was magnified. I wondered if this feeling would ever go away. It eventually did. I've never been able to bend that finger down to my palm ever since. Oddly, I got arthritis in my right hand some years later and I can't ben that finger either. It was like it was impersonating the injured left.
In 1995 my middle child, Noelle, was in middle school at Talley. I get a phone call about mid-morning one day. The lady introduced herself as the school nurse.
"Just be calm," she said, "there is nothing to get upset about..."
Now you know when someone starts this way that there is something to be upset about.
"Your Daughter, Noelle, broke her arm in gym. We called an ambulance and sent her to Christiana Hospital."
I left work, got Lois and we went to the hospital. Noelle was in the Truama Area. We were led back to her, where a doctor was working on her arm. He had given her a shot of morphine. Noelle was sitting calmly on the cot watching everything the doctor did. She didn't cry or even go ow. She was stoic. In those years she wanted to be a surgeon. She had a collection of operations on VCH tapes that she would watch.
They then took her right out to an operation room. She had a three hour operation to piece back her
arm. She had broken both the radius and the ulna a few inches below the elbow. The ends of the breaks and pieced out her skin, so this was a compound fracture. They had been doing fitness tests in the gym. One consisted of running from one wall to another the length of the room. Noelle apparently pushed against the wall to stop and her one forearm snapped. The gym teacher was across the room and said she clearly heard the snap, it was very loud. Noelle had then walked out to the nurses office on her own, holding her arm, and saying to the nurse, "I think I have a problem here." They then called the ambulance.
This caused me some hassles later. I had a good health coverage on the family, but it did have networks. The ambulance company the school called was not apporved by Blue Cross/Blue Shield and I received a ridiculously high bill of several hundred dollars from the particular company. I finally got a write-off because I argued I didn't call them, the school did. This injury in Junior High almost interfered with her joining the Army later. The photo was taken on a trip we took to Gettysburg, the cast was off by then, but a brace was still taped on her left arm for a good while longer.
1995 might have been a rough year medically, but it did get me writing professionally again. The internet was still fairly new to the public. A popular use in those years was Chat Rooms. They were bad in the beginning. You choose Chat Rooms to enter based on interests. I was in some Christian Chat Rooms and eventually talked about writing. A contact I made in the room was with a Repertoire Theater Group in Florida and they contacted me about writing a play for them.
I write a play called, "Leslie in the Lyons' Den". It was a modern day take on "Daniel in the Lion's
Den". It dealt with a character named Leslie (a name I chose because the part could be played by a male or female actor) who worked in a business office. Leslie was then faced with being asked to do things that were not right by the tyrannical boss, Mr. Lyons. Leslie was faced with her Christianity morals verses holding on to her job and also facing ridicule. The troupe was called "Hearts of Tampa" and they added my play to there repertoire.
In 1996, I was also asked my to write a Radio Ad for their host organization to promote their group, which I also did. It was called "Hotlong". I had done a couple radio ads back in the 1960's for the Knight Corporation that published the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News.
It was probably good I returned to writing in 1995, because it came just before the big change in my job situation.
HEARTS OF TAMPA BAY RADIO PROMO
Larry Eugene Meredith
Lawyer: (Very rapidly, somewhat monotone) The Heart of Tampa Bay is a Christian networking organization meeting every third Tuesday at the Colony Motel with guest speakers. Options include job networking. This is a promotion of Christian ideals in the work place. Not a member of the FDIC.
Announcer: Whoa, there. What was that?
Lawyer: I'm your lawyer and that was your legal disclosure.
Announcer: Legal disclosure? We're not a bank or auto dealer. We're a Christian Networking Organization that gets together to job network and discuss ways to promote Christian Ideals in the workplace.
We are called the Heart of Tampa Bay and meet every third Tuesday of the month at the Colony Hotel...Do you know where that is?
Announcer: We meet every third Tuesday at the Colony Hotel at (fill in address.) where we have a guest speaker and our discussions.
Lawyer: So, if I am interested in networking from a Christian perspective I should contact The Heart of Tampa Bay?
Announcer: Yes, (give information telephone number if there is one).
Announcer: (Rapidly, somewhat monotone.) The Heart of Tampa Bay is a Christian networking organization meeting every third Tuesday at the Colony Motel. Lawyers are welcome.
Lawyer: What was that?