There are so many things I wanted to talk about this week. Last week was Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday and how can I let that pass? I’ll catch up with Bob later.
Last Tuesday, we said our final goodbyes to Eileen Hodnett, as sweet a lady as you’d ever hope to meet. She attended all the Bible study classes in the Woodland until COVID shut us all down. I still find myself driving by the Woodland Hotel and looking for her in the lobby windows.
Saturday was Bob Bredlau’s funeral service. I only met Bob once but what a charming man and good storyteller. It was a large turnout and Meadowview was packed for the lunch. I was seated with Art & Jane Peterson, Frank & Louise Olszewski, and then came Scott & Deb Marrier. It needs to be said that I have never understood how Scott got Deb to marry him. I suspect a lot of alcohol was in play. Deb is smart and funny and organized and Scott is…Scott.
Scott regaled us with stories that will require more time but I have to give you this one, at least.
He recalled the first time he laid eyes on Deb. “I saw this beautiful girl in a miniskirt walk past me and I spun around with my jaw hanging open. Now, in my biker days, I had a long FuManchu mustache and long, dark hair. I turned to talk to her and I don’t even know what I said but she ran into her house and slammed the front door. I could hear the door being bolted from inside. I decided then and then that maybe I should change my look.”
It took many more tries and many more days/weeks/months for Scott to finally win Deb. I refer to my earlier alcohol theory.
On Thursday, we said goodbye to our old pal, Chuck Edgar. It was a sweet and sad service with his family coming from all over, including his granddaughter in the Navy who is stationed near Tokyo at Camp Fuji, a Marine Corps installation. Chuckie was cremated and the family was going to deposit his remains near the river at his property in Owen.
In typical Chuckie fashion, not everything went according to plan. The service was moving. The well-wishers were many. The guests were invited to join the family for lunch at IGYS in Withee. The guests would wait for the family to deposit Chuck’s remains and then join them at IGYS. But seconds turned into minutes and minutes to many minutes as we awaited the family. When the family did arrive, Betty Edgar (Chuckie’s widow) came over to me and said, “You’re going to get a kick out of this.” She then explained the delay.
The family arrived at the intended location, ready to say a final farewell to Chuck—husband, father, grandfather. Until someone asked, “Ummm…where’s grandpa?” Good Lord. Chuck had been left behind. Chuckie’s son, TJ, rushed back to retrieve the remains and then to rejoin the family and say a maybe-not-so-solemn farewell.
Somewhere, somehow, Chuckie was cackling that laugh of his.
Last Wednesday, Nicole and I got to go see the Orioles play in Minneapolis against the Twins. Yes, the Orioles lost in a very good game (be quiet, Jim Scheuer) but we had a great time. Within five days, we got to attend a live music festival AND see our Orioles. I say OUR because I think I am converting Nicole to the wonderful ways of the Birds of Baltimore.
Speaking of Birds, Nicole and I were taking our lunch break on Monday and we got a phone call from our pal Jay “Bird” Koder. You may or may not remember how I have told many stories and written extensively on the Bird. Usually, the stories are about music. At least, the ones I tell you.
Monday’s story was about the Bird’s misadventures with his insurance company and his attempts at getting referrals for needed medical care. He was also experiencing some trouble with a tooth but figured there was no way that his insurance would cover that. “Oh, sure. We can help you there,” they told him. “We have a dental clininc not far from you.”
Jaybird goes on to explain that this clinic was more like some M*A*S*H unit with a banner hanging from ropes on either end, as opposed to a permanent sign display on the front of the office. “They bragged WE DO EXTRACTIONS. Man, I thought they were a little too proud of that. So, I go into the waiting room and it looks like the main foyer of the United Nations. I met a sweet lady from the Congo who actually attended a music festival where I had performed. Another lady was from Huaca, Mexico, where I had gone with World Vision and she talked about the impact of our visit there. So, I am feeling the love here!
“They finally take me to the last room down a long hallway. The assistant is getting me ready when the dentist comes in to start the exam. After a few minutes of him looking around, he tells me that the tooth I thought was bad is not as bad as one on the other side. We are going to have to pull that one first and maybe do a temporary fix on the other one.
“All of a sudden, there is a loud commotion outside. I hear lots of footsteps and lots of loud talking. The dentist and the assistant bolt from the room and I never saw them again! The shouting subsides as people are clearly leaving the building but what am I supposed to do, all hooked up and everything? I hear shouting and footsteps coming down the hall and some Iranian woman bursts into the room, shouting something about Allah, Allah, Allah! I mean, she looks like some Al Qaeda woman who is NOT speaking English. Another woman comes in and she is speaking Castilian Spanish and neither one of them understand each other and I think they are going to come to blows and I am strapped into a chair in between them! Here I am trying to speak my Bird Spanglish and it’s not going well, at all.
“Finally, a third woman comes into the room and she speaks to both of them and everybody calms down. I’m thinking that she must be the General Secretary of the United nations because she gets them calmed down pretty well.
“Come to find out, the secretary outside had collapsed and everybody freaked out, thinking she had just died of COVID. I mean, people just scattered. As we later found out, the poor thing had collapsed from the pain of kidney stones and she was going to be fine.
“Meanwhile, me in the chair, have now got the Al Qaeda dentist working on me to proudly pull that tooth. Man, she’s got like one knee on my chest and has some kind of industrial wrench torquing on that tooth. It took three-and-a-half hours to get that thing done.
“I have to go back in two weeks…”
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