Another long stretch between entries... Okay, bike stuff first, as usual; the replacement Kuryakn module came in and the running
lights have been running flawlessly. I've got over 5K on the scoot now and I can't wait for the next few frozen (and incapacitated)
days to pass.
Incapacitated, you say? No, I'm not injured nor ill but, rather, paying the penalty for avoiding a colonoscopy for too
long. First, let me say that jello and black coffee makes a totally unacceptable breakfast. Further, it's gonna get worse. I'm trying
to get my usual Tuesday evening, pre-trash day, stuff out of the way early, before I have to start "cleansing" this afternoon, since
I don't want to be too far from the facilities. I prepared Mom's dinner (delicious, by the way) yesterday so I only have to microwave
it for her this evening, AND warned her she's gonna have to use her bedside potty once I begin...the disadvantage of a one bathroom
My son, Sean, is going to take and return from the procedure and I've arranged for my little sister, Peg, to stay with Mom while
I'm gone tomorrow. I have no frickin' idea how I'm going to react to the sedation, nor what time I'm getting home, so tomorrow evening
is getting played by ear. Either Sean or Peg might have to help with dinner.
Okay, that's it for now. Y'all take care and I'll really
TRY to update sooner. I should be okay enough to make the Annual Planning Meeting at Post 240 on Sunday and maybe I'll seeya there.
I know, it's been a long time, and I haven't been out on the scoot all that much lately. I've had some tough periods
over the past 50+ years. Spending 3 weeks solid on a gangrene ward, interviewing young Army officers, the result of a Ranger
Training School training screw-up, kinda messes with you a bit...the smell of rotting flesh and the anguish of young men, fresh out
of college or The Point, knowing they're crippled to varying degrees for the rest of their lives. Interviewing NCO's twice
your age and having to convince them that the STD we were treating them for was the result of their wives cheating on them while they
were in the field..."no, you don't catch it from a field latrine seat". It kinda destroys something inside you to see a tough
as nails sergeant break down in tears in front of a lowly Spec-4...the loss of my sister at 13, and the sight of my father in tears.
Uncle Curtis decided he couldn't handle any more, I was the one who went over and cleaned the blood and gore off the bedroom ceiling,
and then patched and repainted the holes before Aunt Beuna ever saw the bedroom they shared for so many years. Having someone
you loved tell you they never did love you but you were just the best thing that came along at the time. There are more, but
these are the few most indelibly etched in my memories. These all pale in the face of the past few weeks, watching my mother,
a child of the Depression and widow of an old China Marine slowly disintegrate before my eyes. As I like to kid that all
her life she's been a D-3 Cat, unstoppable, plowing through whatever happened to get in her way. In her mind, she's still that
D-3 Cat, but she's thrown her treads, her hydraulics are shot, the electrical system doesn't fire right and she's so frustrated that
I have to do for her. "I'm sorry I'm so lazy..." It breaks my heart!
I've finally broken down in the past week and
she is now under Hospice care. An aide has just given her a sponge bath (which she DOESN'T want me to do). Gulf Medical has
just delivered the nebulizer which will help clear her breathing. They are arranging a volunteer to come sit with Mom for 4
hours a week so I can get a little break. God bless Hospice!
Okay, rant, or whatever you want to call it, over; I feel
a little better. Sorry if anything I've written has made someone uncomfortable, but I needed to say it. 'Til next
time, Namaste, y'all!
Been putting this off for too long and still can't organize too well, so I'm gonna cheat and and copy my Facebook postings:
I spoke too soon this morning about how well Mom was doing.. She is off to Baptist ER with chest pains and nausea. I'm still shook,
but I'm scurrying around doing laundry, drying the mattress she wet, and generally getting the adrenalin down before I drive to the
ER. Prayer time again...please
2/15 sorry if you didn't get a "like" from me but I haven't been FBing much. Mom's taken
a turn for the worse and I just haven't been on here. She's sleeping a lot and thank goodness for Covenant Hospice...wonderful people.
She goes in and out of knowing me but she really likes the monkey playing in the back yard? I've cried a bit, now and then, but it's
okay. Who knows?
2/16 Hospice rocks! They're kicking it into high gear...already had a visit for the social worker who's gonna
arrange for a volunteer to sit with Mom for 4 hours one a week so I can get a break; the home health aide just called to come over
and see if Mom wants a bath; and the nurse-manager is going to be by this afternoon for medical assessment. NOw, if I can just get
away for enough time to get some more cigars...I'm almost out.
2/22 So many thanks to my son, Sean, for reminding me that
I CAN'T make her better...only more comfortable; and to Eddie, for sharing with me his experience with his mother, so I'm more comfortable
with my tumultuous feelings. Bless you both...I needed it today.
2/23 Just got off the phone with our Nurse/Manager, explaining
the current situation. She told me she was looking over the weekend reports and was getting ready to call me to see if I would consider
going to continual care, LPN coverage 24/7...I broke down and cried, I was so relieved. She's getting in touch with the CC Supvr and
will call me back.... PTL!
2/23 Mom's nurse/manager just left from setting up the care plan for the continuous care nurses. The
CC supvr is working on lining up staff and will contact me as soon as she has the folks and let me know when they'll be here, and
Nina Marie just stopped by and dropped off a FANTASTIC sandwich so I won't lose any more weight...I never realized that she and Frank
only live about a mile from me. God bless ALL my angels!
2/24 My Angel of Mercy is here...and his name is Chris. He must be to
drive back and forth from Andalusia every day for this job. He's taken over and is examining Mom now. I think I might just be able
to get back to sleep again!
2/25 Close to the end...Hospice nurse said I should tell Mom it's okay to go and rest. One of the toughest things I've ever
had to do. On the other hand, she never believed anything I told her. We'd be sitting on the porch, sipping our respective beers,
and she ask me "What is the flower out there?" I'd take a look and finally figure out she was seeing some yellow leaf or whatever
and tell her that. She'd argue that it was a flower until I'd walk across the yard pointing until she say "yeah, that one" and she'd
argue until I'd pull it off and bring it to her before she'd ever admit I was right.
Sean and I have been out on the carport,
smoking and swapping Mom stories. Now, if I can just sleep 'cause I know I'm gonna need it. G'night, y'all.
boys and girls...they sent me a genuine, full fledged, experienced RN tonight. Not only can I sleep through the night, barring Mom's
leaving us, but I can also allow myself a nice Evan Williams on the rocks this evening since I won't have to be administering any
of the drugs.
2/28 Her race is run and she's finally with Dad & Babs and free to roam her azaleas and camellias again.
If you see footprints in the sand, she's walking the beaches again, as well. Bon voyage...I love you...
2/28 Phase 1 complete...Mom's
earthly vessel is now at Oak Lawn and I await further instructions on a job I've never done before. Phase 2 will be following her
wishes as far as the funeral service goes...and she had DEFINITE opinions on that matter (as on everything). Phase 3 will be the result
of many other conversations we've had inasmuch as I will personally take her cremains to Barrancas in my saddlebag as the final motorcycle
ride she missed so much the past decade. As she wished, so shall it be done.
2/28 I am so humbled by the outpouring of
condolences and prayers for Mom and me. I'm sorry I can't acknowledge each and every one individually but please know how touched
I am. Funeral plans are in limbo at the moment but I will post when I know them myself. Mom's wishes were somewhat askew with tradition
but I will do my best to carry them out. Again, thank you for your thoughts and prayer; they are deeply appreciated...and needed.
3/2 The Queen is dead; long live the king! It just dawned on me as I was getting myself together before heading
to the funeral home to make arrangement..I am now the patriarch of the Trees Clan. For whatever it is worth, I feel like I have been
eminently successful in my life in having 3 strong, self-sufficient, sons to carry on the name once I, too, am gone.
Phase II underway. Mom's celebration of life will be at Oak Lawn Funeral Home on New Warrington Rd. on Wednesday, March 4, from 6-8
PM. No preachin', just visiting and remembering her. I'd love to see all of y'all. Her final trip to rejoin Dad will be private, getting
that last motorcycle ride she asked for.
3/4 Okay, just checked 3 different forecasts and they all pretty much agree that
the rain won't come in until about 10, so I'm taking the scoot to the funeral home. That way, after the visitation/whatever, let's
ride over to the Bluegrass and lift a brew in honor of Mom, since she won't be sitting on the front porch with me any more. Y'all
come, y'hear... ps: I ain't buyin'!
Mission accomplished! This morning, I delivered Mom's ashes to Barrancas National Cemetery so should rejoin her husband
and daughter. I did, however, deviate from my original plan to carry her in my saddlebag. I recalled that my father had
always objected to riding motorcycles, referring to them as "murdercycles", so I felt it would be disrespectful to him to do that.
On the flip side of that coin, though, Mom and I always had a special relationship, and she would sometimes conspire with me to do
something and "don't tell your dad". In that light, I have found a vendor called In the Light Urns and have ordered a small
container I can wear riding which will contain some of Mom's ashes, and having it inscribed, "Alice Trees Still Riding".
I'm sure Mom will smooth things over with him...she always did.
With the warmer weather, combined with more free time, the bike
is finally getting some exercise...enough so that I had my 7500 mile service done today while we went to Barrancas. I've actually
discovered more roads I hadn't ridden right here in Escambia County. Did you even know there was someplace called Molino Fairgrounds
right on the banks of the Escambia River?....OR that the old Barrineau Park dirt road to the Perdido River is now completely paved
and you can ride all the way to AL 112? Cool beans, and I've got lots more exploring to do!
Okay, that's enough for now.
I hope to seeya on the road, or at a local watering hole sometime (check out The Bluegrass on Blue Angel) and, until then, ride safe,
be good to one another and watch out for those cages. Namaste, y'all.
So many firsts in my life...Thursday was my first birthday without Mom, and today was the first Easter. I have lived by myself
before but, since Sean has moved back to his place, this is the first time since 1982 and it's taking a bit of adjustment. Little
by little, I'm making small changes to the house but the strangest part is realizing that any schedule I have is my own. I can
actually make plans now but find I don't really want to. I'd rather just have options and know that I can exercise any of them.
Does this make any sense to you, because I'm not sure it does to me?
At least, with the warmer weather, I am putting a lot of
miles on the scoot. A couple of times, I've had a lady friend on the back, but I find I sometimes enjoy the luxury of not having
to concern myself with the comfort or safety of a passenger and just see where the road takes me. Today, for instance,
I did a sort of replay of one of the routes I ran over 20 years ago when I was delivering auto parts. What was truely amazing
to me was the combination of total change vs. NO change in some of the areas. This was the Atmore-Flomaton-Brewton run I used
to do with Sandy Sansing parts and, WOW, Flomaton to Brewton on 31 sure has changed! Coming back down Chumukla Hwy didn't seem
at all different, however. It was a good 175 mile run, though.
I know I mentioned ordering it in my last Ramblings, but
the mini urn with some of Mom's ashes have been accompanying me on my bike and she has gotten more miles on the scoot in the past
ten days than she got in the previous ten years. I hope she's smiling on me, probably behind Dad's back.
it for now. I'm tired and want to start wrapping it up for the day. I don't seem to have the energy at 72 that I had 20
years ago (well, DUH). Take care, ride safe and I'll seeya on the road. Namaste.
Happy birthday, Mom...another first in my life (I think Mother's Day may get worse) after Mom's passing. There've
been all kinds of things to take care that I didn't anticipate, like magazine cancellations and the like that the mail brings.
This morning, however, I got a really strange one...a letter from the State of Florida stating that there had been a data breach and
Mom's information, including name and social security number, had been accessed illegally. As a consequence, the state was paying
for one year of Lifelock identity theft protection. When I went on-line to register Mom's name, it would not accept it so Im
going to have something else to deal with. If'n it ain't one thing, it's another!
The bike riding has been pretty good...when
it hasn't been raining! We've had around 8" of rain in the last week (with more to come), but I've only lost at rain tag twice
when I just HAD to get out for a therapy session. I don't mind the occasional shower in the daytime but, with my glasses, I
can't risk getting caught in the rain at night because I simply can't see with the headlight flare on my lenses. I've had to
forego a few things I've wanted to do but, believe it or not, this ol' biker CAN exercise good judgement when he needs to.
that's it for now; laundry and grocery shopping is done, I've got to call Lifelock and figure out what the glitch is, and then HOPE
it is dry for Gallery Night tonight. Y'all take care, ride safe, be good to one another and I'll catch you next time.
It's been a couple of weeks since I last Rambled on, primarily because I had nothing to Ramble about; that changed
today. I have frequently told folks the reason I haven't been to Thunder Beach the past few years is primarily because of the
traffic annoyance; both getting there via US98, and in Panama City Beach itself. Well, after running some errands this morning,
I found myself on I-10 eastbound and, letting the mind ramble(lower case) on, decided to ride to Thunder Beach by way of DeFuniak
Springs and down US331 to pick up 98 well AFTER the FWB/Destin/Sandestin rolling traffic jam.
I must say that the I-10 portion
of the trip was fantastic. How I ever enjoyed highway riding before electronic cruise control is beyond me. I settled
in at a leisurely 75 and enjoyed the hell out of that part of the ride. Of course, it WAS a perfect day, weatherwise.
In fact, the early part of 331S was also enjoyable...until I discovered that they are four-laning it between 98 and I-10!
Coupled with all the OTHER beach-bound traffic, the construction made the ride South much less than pleasurable(okay, miserable, then).
I got to 98 and the four-lane, though, the trip into PCB was a breeze. I took the back beach road for quite a while before I
ran over to the beach side. Okay, mid-day Saturday...not too bad until I got near Pier Park, or whatever it's called now.
There I ran into (almost) solid scoots, not moving, for as far as I could see. I started to say bumper-to-bumper, but that doesn't
work for scoots. I managed a u-turn right in front of a deputy who ignored me and headed back West, vindicated that my earlier
assessment of Thunder Beach was correct, at least for me.
Getting out of PCB, proper, it suddenly dawned on me that there were
really only two ways back and I had already had my fill of 331 construction. Hoping against hope, I continued West on 98 only to discover,
to my chagrin, that I was also correct in my earlier evaluations of travel on 98. To use half a word, this was turning into
a real cluster. After walking the bike half-way through Sandestin and Fort Walton Beach (so it seemed), when I got to Navarre
some strange impulse made me decide to take the bridge and ride the beach way to Pensacola Beach. WHY did I lose my mind and
forget that this shorebird nesting season?????? Traffic on Pensacola Beach proper, AS WELL AS all the way through Gulf Breeze
was the same and, finally, I forgot about the Crawfish Festival at Seville Square...AAAARRRGGGHHH! Considering I was only out
of the saddle twice to gas up, it took me 7 hours to cover 235 miles and I KNOW I was doing 70-75 all the way between P-cola
and Defuniak....but it WAS a perty day.
Y'all take care, ride safe, be good to one another and I'll catch you next time.
....another two weeks have passed since last time I was here, and I'll have to blame Mother's Day, to a degree. Firsts
are proving to be hard for me since Mom's passing, although day-to-day life getting easier as I rediscover who this guy is.
My son, Sean, and I were discussing this over coffee and smokes Sunday morning and, although I have no idea if this also applies
to women, we concluded that men seem to find their own definition in terms of the roles they play and the expectations of others.
I've been a son, soldier, husband, employee, father, and probably a lot more that I haven't even realized. I guess the
best description now is a son of God inasmuch as that's the only approval I'm looking for now.
I'm not too sure how much approval
I've gotten since I've gotten rained on three times today in a little over 50 miles of riding but, since I made it home safely, if
damp, it's enough. It's not as if I really needed an excuse to ride but, the trigger event was a letter from the Property Assessor's
Office saying I was losing all my property tax exemptions. I was expecting the Widow's Exemption but not Homestead AND Senior
Exemptions. After a slightly pissed/panicky phone call, it was explained that they only have one form letter to use....and it
DID get may attention, didn't it? I just had to go sign new exeption paperwork since the old ones only had Mom's signature since
1982, when Dad passed.
Given the choice of going downtown to the courthouse, trying to find a parking place, being patted down
(electronically) and emptying my pockets...AND riding 25 miles on a pretty day to the Molino Service Center, where the only restriction
is no smoking inside, the choice was easy. There wasn't even any waiting and she seemed glad to have a customer. They
have a tag office up there, too, and they were just as deserted...hint, hint. Anyway, by the time I started back, the skies
were darkening and I had to ride through rain a few times. Except for the vision problems, it was actually nice...as soon as
my pants dry.
Okay, that's it for now. Gonna try (if dry) to make the Harley Bike Night tonight and see what other idiots
are going to smoke the place up in the burn-out pit. Sure stunk last time and I had rubber boogers that night from breathing
it. Y'all take care, ride safe and be good to one another. Love to see you tonight...Namaste!