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Some days you're better off just staying in bed


© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 28, 2001

It was 8 in the morning, and my husband had just left to play golf with his buddies. I carried the newspapers from the day before to the back porch, and a gust of wind slammed the door shut.

Locked out, in bare feet and a gauzy nightie.

I could get out of this.

I tried the neighbors closest to me. I rang their back doorbell several times, but the only response was the yapping of their little poodle.

Next I tried the neighbor on the other side; no answer there, either. Wind-blown and disheveled, I stood in the middle of the driveway, waving and calling to my friend Jay across the street.

Time for another strategy. We kept an old, insulated box, used years ago when milk was delivered to the house, on our tiny back porch. It was filled with small garden tools. The four curtained windows softened the bright summer sun. I began to re-read old newspapers and magazines, but the mouth-watering pictures of food reminded me that I hadn't had breakfast.

I went out to our little garden and pulled up a few tiny radishes and carrots, then washed them under the outdoor faucet and took a few gulps of water.

Hours went by.

I remembered the basement windows. We had removed the storm window from one of them. I was able to push it open, but shelves loaded with vases, jars and odd dishes, all breakable, were underneath. I needed an extension ladder to let myself in, but it wasn't in the garage; our neighbor had borrowed it the week before.

I tried his garage door. It was unlocked, and our ladder stood inside. I hauled it out and lugged it across our lawn. I eased it through the basement window and over the shelves and climbed in.

Too bad I hadn't come up with this earlier; by now, it was 3 in the afternoon.

I had a shower, a quick sandwich and a cup of strong coffee, then began to prepare dinner. My husband was due back from his golf game, and I wanted to have things ready by 5. Did I have a story to tell him.

By 6, there was no sign of the golfers. They had never been that late before. I sat by the window and waited. They drove up at 6:30, and my husband looked tired.

"You must have played another round," I said.

"We never played a hole. Look at Irv. We spent all day at the Burlington hospital with him."

He sat in the back seat, all bandaged up. His swathed head looked like a cocoon; only one eye, his nostrils and his mouth were visible. His golf cap looked silly.

He had fallen when they got to the golf course. He stumbled on an incline, landed head first in some thick hedges and passed out. An ambulance took him to the hospital.

"I am so happy to be home after such a long ordeal," my husband said as his buddies drove off. "How was your day?"

- LaVerne Hammond, who divides her time between Wisconsin and Florida, is an octogenarian at work on her memoirs. Write her in care of the St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg FL 33731.

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