Birthday #Poetry #TuesdayTidbit

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Today’s my birthday. I’m turning sixty years old. But the following poem, from My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, isn’t about me. I wrote it on my late husband’s seventieth birthday. By that time, partially paralyzed by two strokes, he was in a nursing home because I could no longer care for him. I hoped that, like others who move to nursing homes, he would rally and live a few more years. But a couple of weeks after his seventieth birthday, I had to face reality. You can learn more by reading My Ideal Partner.

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BIRTHDAY

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

 

Gray hair against white pillow,
lips caress my cheek,
his good arm encircles my shoulder.
The odor of peanut butter
scent of his shampoo comfort me.
Seventy years old today, he says he loves me,
kiss soft against my cheek,
as we hold each other,
for who knows how long.

***

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Image contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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A DAY OF FIRSTS #Fiction #Tuesday Tidbit

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

I’m forty-seven years old, and for the first time in my life, I have a cavity. Here I am, in the dentist’s chair, about to have it filled. Because this is one of my worst fears, I feel as if my world is being turned upside down. I’m also afraid of being arrested and getting stuck in an elevator, none of which has happened, at least not yet.

“If you’d prefer, I could give you gas,” the dentist says. “but you’d need to rest at home afterwards.”

“No. My husband is partially paralyzed as a result of two strokes, and I need to be able to take care of him.”

“I understand. I’ll give you Novocain.”

As the drill whines, I close my eyes and imagine myself lying in bed with my husband while my next-door neighbor is boring holes into something. To my surprise, there’s no pain, only a cold sensation.

When I arrive home, a policeman is waiting for me. “Did you know you were supposed to appear for jury duty today?” he asks.

“No, I just got back from a dentist appointment,” is all I can think to say.

“You were sent a notice last week. I found it in the bushes under the mailbox.” He holds up a white envelope.

“I see by your cane that you’re blind. So, I understand why you didn’t get it.”

“Actually, I have some vision,” I say, looking at my husband, sprawled in his recliner.

I turn back to the cop. “You’re right. I didn’t see the notice. I’d be glad to serve on a jury anytime, but I need advanced notice, so I can make arrangements for my husband’s care. He’s partially paralyzed as a result of two strokes, and he depends on me for everything.”

“I’m sorry, but I have to take you in, anyway. You need to appear in Judge Watkins’s court this afternoon.”

I feel a sick sensation in the pit of my stomach. My husband, knowing my fears, bursts out laughing. I turn and glare at him. “That’s not funny. What the hell am I supposed to do with you?”

Between paroxysms of mirth, he answers, “Call Westwood Manor.”

Westwood Manor is the nursing home where he recuperated from his strokes and where he goes occasionally for respite care when I need to be out of town. It’s also the place where I worked for fifteen years before I decided to write full-time.

I turn again to the policeman. “Can you wait while I make arrangements?”

“Of course.”

With trembling fingers, I pick up the phone and dial the number I know by heart. I ask to speak with the admissions director I’ve known for years. Thank goodness he doesn’t laugh when I explain the situation. He assures me there will be no problem. “It just so happens I’m driving the van today because our regular driver is sick,” he says. “I have nothing else to do. So, I’ll be there to pick him up in a few minutes.”

The cop waits with infinite patience while I toss items into a suitcase for my husband. I’m glad of the distraction that keeps my apprehension at bay. As soon as I park my husband in his wheelchair by the kitchen door, the nursing home’s van pulls into the driveway.

If I’d taken the gas at the dentist’s office, I would be totally numb. I wouldn’t feel the handcuffs biting into my wrists or hear my husband laughing at me. I wouldn’t be shaking, as the policeman helps me into the back seat of the patrol car. At the station, I’m locked in a holding cell with four other people who also failed to appear for jury duty.

We swap stories. The others had either forgotten, or like me, didn’t know they had to appear. One guy had just returned from a long vacation and hadn’t gone through his mail yet.

Later that afternoon, after being given the regulation orange jump suits to wear, we’re taken to the courthouse in leg irons and handcuffs and herded into an elevator. The car ascends, stops with a jerk. After a moment, one of the sheriff’s deputies says, “I think we’re stuck.”

“Oh great!” I say, my heart pounding. “This day couldn’t have gotten any worse if it tried.”

A gentle hand touches my shoulder. I’m relieved to open my eyes and find myself snuggled next to my husband in our dark bedroom. My talking watch tells me it’s four in the morning. My husband says, “I need to pee.”

For once, I’m not irritated, as I crawl out of bed, pull him into a sitting position, and hand him the urinal. After he does his business, I climb in bed beside him, resting my head on his shoulder, as his good arm encircles me.

“Don’t you have a dentist appointment today?” he asks.

***

Those who know me might think this is a true story, but I assure you it’s pure fiction. I was inspired to write it years ago after reading a newspaper account of how four people who failed to appear for jury duty were hauled into court in leg irons and handcuffs. This story appears in the current issue of The Writer’s Grapevine, which can be downloaded here.

***

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Image contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

Smile #Musical Monday

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

A few weeks after my late husband’s first stroke in 2006, he reached a plateau in his rehabilitation, and most of his therapists at the nursing home gave up on him. Meanwhile, my singing group was learning the song I’m featuring today. It was all I could do to keep from crying, as I sang, along with the others, about smiling with an aching heart. How could I smile when our future was so uncertain? Would Bill ever walk again? For the answer to my second question, you can read My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

According to Wikipedia, “Smile” was written by Charlie Chaplin in 1936. It was used as an instrumental theme for his film, Modern Times. Puccini’s opera, Tosca, inspired him to write the song. John Turner and Jeffrey Parsons added the lyrics in 1954 when the song was published. It has become a popular standard, recorded by numerous artists. I hope you enjoy Nat King Cole’s rendition.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Image contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

Books  

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook  

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My Ideal Nursing Home #Wednesday Words

If I had unlimited funds to start and maintain a business, I would open a nursing home. But this wouldn’t be just any nursing home run by a corporation whose bottom line is money and not the elderly and infirmed residents who live there. In my facility, caring and not money would truly be the heart of the matter. My facility probably wouldn’t have the capacity that many large, corporate-run homes do, but with a smaller population and more staff members, each person could have more individual attention.

The facility would be all on one floor and divided into four or five units, each with the capacity of twelve residents. Each resident would have his or her own room with an attached bathroom that wouldn’t just contain a toilet and sink but also a roll-in shower. Each unit would have one tub room in case a person prefers a bath instead of a shower.

Each room would also have its own phone, and wireless Internet service would be readily available. Of course, many nursing home residents are unable to use the Internet, but for those few such as my late husband who would benefit, the service would be there. Family members could use it when they come to visit.

Each unit would have its own nurse’s station, dining room, and a lounge with recliners where residents could watch TV or just relax and read a book. Each recliner, like each room, would be outfitted with a call button to make it easier for residents to request assistance when necessary.

Residents would be able to choose what they want to eat each day. At mealtime, a menu would be given to them or read to them if necessary, and their choices would be served restaurant-style.

Residents suffering from dementia would be placed in a locked unit, no different from the others except that all staff working in this unit, including therapists and activity specialists, would have had specialized training in helping residents with dementia.

Of course, my facility wouldn’t have to be a permanent home. It would offer respite care and rehabilitation. The therapy department would have all the necessary equipment and even a swimming pool of no more than five feet, where residents could participate in water therapy and water exercise classes. There could even be a hot tub.

Last but not least, my facility would have a large, centrally located activity room. One half of the room would contain chairs and tables for bingo and social events. The other half would be open and used for church services and other group activities. Any resident from any unit would be able to attend any activity and be notified of events in advance.

Of course, money doesn’t grow on trees or flow freely from a stream. But isn’t it fun to dream of what you could do with a never-ending supply? If you’d like to know more about the nursing home where my late husband recovered from his strokes, you can read My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

***

Thanks to Stevie Turner for inspiring the above post. In this week’s Open Book Blog Hop, she asks what kind of business you would start if you had unlimited funding. To learn how you can participate on your own blog, click here.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

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Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

My Life and the Coronavirus #Wednesday Words

Last March, when COVID19 restrictions were first put into place, if I’d still been working as a registered music therapist in a nursing home, my routine would have been drastically affected. Group activities would have been limited, if even permitted at all. I would have spent a lot more time with residents in their rooms and would, no doubt, have heard complaints from those who enjoyed my group sessions about the lack of them.

Residents might not have even been allowed to congregate in lobbies or eat in the dining areas. All staff would probably have been pressed into meal delivery service. This would have been tricky for me, due to my limited vision, because, unless labels on trays were in large enough print for me to read, I could have given the wrong resident the wrong meal. This could have had serious consequences for people on special diets. I’m so glad that in 2005, I decided to quit practicing music therapy and write full-time.

Before the COVID19 restrictions, although I wasn’t working as a registered music therapist with seniors, I still volunteered at nursing homes and other facilities at least once a month, entertaining residents by playing my guitar and singing. This took more time than you might imagine because, like all musicians, I had to practice. I also needed to learn new songs residents requested or that I thought they might enjoy, as I did when I was practicing music therapy. Once the pandemic became prevalent last March, all senior facilities were on lockdown and are still on lockdown today. This has given me more time to write.

During the first couple of months of restrictions, the local YMCA was closed. So, I couldn’t attend water exercise classes, either. I started working out at home, which didn’t take nearly as much time as a trip to the Y. Thus, I had even more time.

Now, the Y is open, and I go there three days a week, as usual. That could change, depending on what restrictions our state’s governor puts into place this week in response to the rising number of COVID19 cases. I’ll be so glad when this pandemic is behind us. Although I may not have as much time to write, I’ll again be able to do other things I enjoy besides writing and entertaining seniors, including attending concerts and plays, eating out, and singing with my group.

***

What about you? How has COVID19 affected your life or your writing? You can either sound off in the comments field below or click here to participate in Stevie Turner’s Open Book Blog Hop on the subject.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.