Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Laura went to the stable. Four horses stood there. She put a saddle on Star. He was seven years old, big and dark brown. Her sister came out to the stable. They were both going to exercise the horses. It was a warm, sunny day. Janice saddled up Moonbeam, a white mare. They got on the horses and started walking them.
A few minutes later, Laura was telling Janice about the new doctor in her hospital. She raised her hand for a second to make a point. Just then, Star bucked. Laura went flying into the air. She landed on her head and shoulder on the grass.
"Oh, my gosh!" Jan cried. "Laura, are you all right?"
Laura moaned. Jan gently rolled her over. She didn’t see any blood. That’s good, she thought.
"Can you move? You’re not paralyzed anywhere, are you?"
Jan pulled Laura up into a sitting position. Laura slightly moved her legs and arms. She wasn’t paralyzed. When she moved her right hand to touch her head, she groaned.
"What’s the matter?"
"That hurt. When I moved my arm, it hurt."
They still didn’t see any blood. Jan unbuttoned the top buttons on Laura’s blouse and looked at Laura’s right collarbone.
"Oh, no," she said.
The yardman comes every two weeks. He drives a gray pickup truck. The truck is a Ford. It is about 15 years old, but it runs well. It doesn’t burn oil, and it gets decent gas mileage. The yardman’s name is Byron.
In the back of his truck are a lawn mower, a leaf blower, a rake, and a shovel. Byron uses the leaf blower to blow leaves and dirt from the back of the building out to the front of the building. Then he rakes up the leaves into a bag. He blows the dirt out into the street. He cuts the lawn with his lawn mower. He trims the hedge. He uses the leaf blower to blow the dirt off each Welcome mat that lies in front of each apartment door.
Then he puts all the leaves, the grass trimmings, and the hedge clippings into a wheelbarrow. He pushes the wheelbarrow to the back of the building, where he uses his big shovel to empty the wheelbarrow contents into the big dumpster. It takes Byron about two hours to do this work.
When he is done, he goes half a block up the street to the house on the corner. There he does the same work again.
It was time for a haircut. Lenny didn’t even have to look in the mirror. Even though he was going bald, he knew that he needed to cut his hair every two weeks.
He had a "tongue" of hair on the top of his head. His hair was thinning at the crown. He still had plenty of hair on the sides and back. It was what they call "salt and pepper," a mixture of gray hair and dark brown hair. It was only a few years, he figured, until the salt and pepper became just salt.
He never let his hair grow for more than two weeks. The longer it got, the worse it looked, he thought.
He spread a newspaper over the bathroom sink so that no hair went down the drain. He plugged in the clippers and started cutting his hair. He started at the back of his head, went to the sides, and finished on the top. Every minute or so, he had to clean the hair out of the blades with an old toothbrush.
Finished, he picked up a hand mirror to check out the back of his head. Everything looked okay. He carried the newspaper back out to the kitchen and shook the hair clippings into the trash can.
Then he took a shower.
Nancy was new to America. She came to America speaking only her native language. She brought her 8-year-old son with her. He was all she had in the world.
They found an apartment in Arcadia. They were there for only two months when a neighbor’s dog jumped over the fence. The dog ran toward Nancy’s son. Nancy put her body in between the dog and her son. The dog stopped when it saw Nancy screaming at it. She was going to punch it in the nose. The dog turned around.
Shaking, Nancy took her son upstairs. They stayed in the apartment all weekend. Then Nancy found another apartment, close to the school that her son was going to attend.
She and her son walked everywhere. One day her son started coughing badly. He had an asthma attack. All the walking was making his asthma worse.
Nancy knew that she had to buy a car. So she called up the Honda dealer. She talked to a salesman who spoke her language. She told him that she wanted to buy a new car if he could come over to pick her up. The salesman said he would be right over.