Timing is everything…

A series of near misses.

Tuesday started off like any other Tuesday. I was up at 4 am. I took a shower and got ready to go to the studio to train my morning clients. I let the dogs out and then put them back in the house. I gathered my many bags and coffee, trying to balance everything and getting down the steps safely. I put the bags on the passenger side of the car and walked around and got in my car, backed out of the garage and headed to the studio. It was about 4:50 a.m. I pulled out of the garage and headed up the driveway to the highway. I had gone about a mile when I heard a loud noise. Suddenly it was really loud inside the car. I turned off the radio and listened. The car was moving a little bit, like it was really windy out. It was pouring rain so I really wasn’t sure about the wind. Then my warning light came on. The warning light that tells me my tires are screwed up. Great. I figured I must have had a flat tire. I slowed way down and turned around when I could. I was about one and a half miles from the house. I didn’t want to go fast and risk ruining the rim, so I limped the car back to the garage. I got out and walked around to the back. Crap. Not only did I have a flat tire, I had a blown tire. It looked like it had just disintegrated. Well, now what? 

I decided to take the pickup. I have never driven it before. It’s giant. It barely fits in the garage. I hopped in. I couldn’t find the garage door opener button or the steering wheel tilter. I had to get back out of the pickup, walk through the garage, squeezing between the pickup and the wall and then up the steps and then to the garage door opener buttons by the door going into the house. The pressure was on now. I had to find the button in the pickup in order to close the garage door, otherwise I risked being soaked by the pouring rain. Yeah, it was pouring and it was also pitch black (what does pitch black even mean?). I backed out of the garage without ripping off the mirrors. I was impressed. I finally found the headlights switch and the windshield wiper switch. I couldn’t find the steering wheel tilter yet. So the steering wheel felt like it was way up on the dash. I felt like I was driving an 18 wheeler. I made it to the studio without further incident. 

I was really impressed with my parking abilities on this day. I managed to not hit any other vehicles while parking and backing out of parking spaces. 

I am sure you have all heard the saying, “Timing is everything.” Today, timing was everything. I was grateful I wasn’t out on the Interstate and having that tire blow. It would have been a way different scenario I am sure. Timing is everything.

Many times today that phrase came into play. I picked up a friend’s daughter from dance and took her home. They live by us, so it was an easy favor. On the way home it was still light and traffic was non-existent. We were about a half mile from home and all of a sudden a deer came flying out of the ditch and ran across the road. It wasn’t really flying, but you know what I mean. If we would have been going the speed limit, which is 65 miles per hour or been there ten seconds earlier, we would have hit the deer. Timing is everything. 

Later that evening, John loaded my car on a trailer and we hauled it into town so it could get some new tires. We were a few miles from town. There was a pickup in front of us. All of sudden that pickup slammed on its brakes. Oh crap. We had to slam on the brakes, which is a little difficult when you are trailering a car and your pickup weighs a ton, literally. It’s a little difficult to stop quickly. We were a few feet away from smashing into the pickup. A very small pickup with three dogs in the back was in front of that pickup. We didn’t know that and we didn’t see that until the pickup took a left turn. I don’t think he used a blinker or had any brake lights. Timing is everything. 

In life, timing is everything. Every single one of these situations could have turned out vastly different if it had been 30 seconds on either end. I definitely had my guardian angel working overtime today. I am grateful I didn’t have to find out how I would have dealt with the flip side of those situations. I am very blessed and I know it. 

…and then there were none

My uncle died this week, September 14th. His name was Bob. He was in the middle. He was the 4th oldest of seven, three above and three below. He was my dad’s brother. My dad was the baby. They were 15 years apart. 

Uncle Bob had that cool calm demeanor. Even if things were stressful or chaotic you would never know it. I can hear his voice, the way he said my name. The way he delivered anything he said. He had kind of drawl to his voice. The words were formed slowly and were delivered with precision and velvet smoothness. 

At the visitation on Tuesday (September 18th) there was a slide show of many, many pictures of  him and family. He had a great family. Brenda and Susan (the city cousins) were his daughters. Every single picture of him with those girls absolutely oozed love. You could see it. You could almost feel it. He and his wife, Sandy (passed away in 2015), absolutely adored those girls. They could not have kids of their own and they opened their hearts and home to these girls. You never would have known they were not born to them. There was one particular picture where he and Susan were sitting at a table and the way they were looking at each other brought tears to my eyes. It’s a dad and daughter love for sure. I see it with John and Tayler all the time. 

There were pictures of him with dad and his other brothers and sisters. There were some pictures of dad I had never seen before. The memory of his funeral came flooding back and I felt so bad for Brenda and Susan because I knew what it felt like. I had lived it. I think the hardest part was watching Brenda’s daughter, and Susan’s two boys. Losing their grandpa was hitting them hard. Grandparents are the best and it is so hard to lose them. It was hard to witness. I wish them strength and peace. 

Uncle Bob beat the genes. He beat the Friman genes. They weren’t good. There was a family history of heart disease and high blood pressure. My grandpa, Roy, died at the age of 62. World War I Veteran. I believe the cause of death was hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis. Dad was 18 at the time. That would have been hard, losing your dad when you were only 18. Uncle Bob would have been about a month shy of his 33rd birthday. That is still very young to lose a parent. Grandma died about 20 years later. 

There were two girls and five boys. Muriel was the oldest. They called her Sis. I remember her from when I was little. I can only remember a few times though. She lived in Oregon and we didn’t see her that often. Dad died on June 3, 2000. When Muriel found out he died, she said she could go now. She died on June 15, 2000. She was 79 years old. 

Everett was the next oldest. I remember being around him only a handful of times as well. He lived in Iowa. When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, Corie, I received a phone call, telling me that he had died. He was 64 years old. Heart attack. Veteran, United States Navy. 

Next in the lineup was Duane. Duane lived in Sioux Falls. We didn’t see him often either. I can remember being around him when I was young. They all had that wicked sense of humor and a common look about them. Duane died in 1981. He was 58 years old. Heart attack. 

Uncle Bob is up next. Right smack in the middle of them all. Maybe that was his ticket to better health. Just kidding. I know Uncle Bob’s lifestyle contributed to his long life. He ate well and he exercised. He jogged all the time and he was an avid golfer. In fact he golfed in early August of this year with Susan. Very impressive. Uncle Bob was 93 years old at the time of his death. He hit the jackpot. He lived a very good life. He was a good guy and he was a great uncle to us. He was done. His body was tired. He went to be with Aunt Sandy and the rest of his family. Veteran, United States Navy. 

Uncle Don came next. I think next to Uncle Bob, we saw Uncle Don the most. I believe he and Dad were the closest of friends. He was at our house a lot and we visited a few times when he lived in Kansas. Uncle Don always reminded me of the actor, Ed Harris. He looked like him. The wicked sense of humor was strong with this guy. He was so funny and loved life. He lived it. Uncle Don died on July 1, 2000. He was 66 years old. Heart attack. Veteran, United States Navy.

Aunt Shirley was next. She lived in California, Santa Barbara. When I was in high school I thought about moving out and living with her and establishing residency and then going to school out there. I wonder how different my life would have been if I had. Decisions made are so interesting. Life decisions are so interesting. Shirley died January 3, 1992. Cancer of the bronchial tubes. 

Next up, the baby of the bunch. My dad, Gary. The crazy, funny, life loving dad. I miss him every single day. He couldn’t escape the Friman genes. He had quadruple bypass surgery when he was 48 years old. That bought him 12 more years. He died June 3, 2000. He was 60 years old. Heart attack. 

Here we have the birth order and the death order. 2000 was a very sad year. 

Name                    Year of Birth               Name                 Year of Death

Muriel                         1920                     Duane                      1981                                  

Everett                        1921                     Everett                     1986                          

Duane                         1923                     Shirley                     1992

Bob                             1925                     Gary (Dad)               2000

Don                             1933                     Muriel                      2000

Shirley                         1935                     Don                         2000

Gary                            1940                     Bob                         2018

…and then there were none. May they all rest in peace. 

Messages

The voice. I recognized it instantly. “My name is Sandy Austin Asbury, I’m an FBI Agent here in Pierre, South Dakota, and I was a construction guide at the World Trade Center in the summers, 1968, 69 and 70. 

I could hear the struggle in her speech. How hard it was for her to sound out her Ss. At the same time she sounded so good. See, Sandy’s cancer was initially found in her mouth, on the side of her tongue. It was melanoma. I’m sure you’ve heard of melanoma. Part of her tongue had to be removed. A big portion on the side. She had to have lots of speech therapy afterwards in order to get her speech back to any semblance of normal. She worked hard and she did great. 

Yesterday was the 17 year anniversary of 9/11. The terrorist attack on US soil. The taking down of the Twin Towers in New York City. A day that will never be forgotten. 

After the attack, I remember Sandy telling me that she was being interviewed for a special. A special involving the building of the World Trade Center. There were several young girls who worked at the site as it was being built. They were construction guides. They were also called Building Stewardesses. There were a lot of upset people because of the construction project. These girls were hired to be guides to the public. It was a great public relations move so as to get people on board with the project. They had uniforms and explained the project to the interested public. They had to know what was what. They had to be ready for any construction-related questions. They had to be trained well. 

“This taking a guide job was a big step for me because I had been painfully shy when I was very very young. I was viewed as somewhat of a hippie-looking person — bell bottoms, long hair and blowing bubbles wherever I went and wearing sandals. But in my little uniform when I was a girl guide I looked just little miss all American.”

This week has been strange. I needed to write this. Sandy has been on my mind all week. Since Monday, the 10th, I have heard the Eagles’ Peaceful Easy Feeling song at least eight times. That was the song that was played at her funeral. There have been so many connections to her this week. It has been almost laughable. I know she is letting me know she is around. 

I was tagged on Facebook by Kathy, Sandy’s step-daughter. Kathy was there with Nancy, Bill and me around Sandy’s bed when she took her last breath. She’s special to me. She always will be. Kathy tagged me with the link to the interview. As I started listening, I couldn’t help but smile, after the tears, of course. I loved Sandy’s voice. It is so soothing and she always sounded so happy and full of life. 

I think the most important thing Sandy said during that interview is still so extremely relevant. She was definitely a trail blazer and was a very strong woman. She stood up for herself and for other women. She was such an amazing person and I still miss her so much. 

“The possibilities of all the trade and business and commercial things that went on as a young woman just getting ready to go to college, I started to realize all the things that you could do in life and uh, I was the first female agent that was on a squad in the FBI Newark office in 1981. “ 

She was a strong woman and I am so grateful I got to hear her roar. 

 

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1147470

Sorry Kevin

My 7th grade math teacher’s name was Mr. Curl. Wallace Curl. Math was not my favorite subject, but it just so happened this was the class I was in when one of the most embarrassing things in my life happened.

Junior high, or middle school as it is called these days, is where it happened. I was shy. I mean really shy. If a teacher called on me, I shrunk in my seat and turned several shades of red, like the phases of a ripening tomato. I hated it. I couldn’t help it. I’m not sure why I was so shy. Does anyone really know why they are shy?

I sat in the middle row. It was the old part of the building. It smelled like old books. I really liked that smell. It also smelled like old wood. The wood floor creaked as feet walked across it. The classroom had windows, so at least when I was daydreaming, I could look out the window. I recall our desks faced north and the windows were to the west.

Kevin Maskovich sat in front of me. He had broken his leg so he was on crutches. He was really nice to me and always took time to talk to me. For the life of me, I can’t remember anyone else who was in this particular math class with me. Tunnel vision and tunnel memory may be real. I do remember Mr. Curl standing at the front of the class with piece of chalk in hand, at the ready to scrawl the math problems on the board, beads of sweat running down his forehead. He had his suit coat hanging on the back of his chair and his shirt sleeves were rolled up to his elbows. Heaven forbid I would have to get up and go to the board. That would be like pulling my fingernails off with a pair of pliers. Actually, pulling the fingernails off may have been better.

Everyone was tired. This class was right after lunch. We had hot ham and cheese sandwiches that day. I have never in my life eaten another one after this tragic day. It was hot in the classroom. There was no air conditioning in the school. I didn’t feel well. I was sweaty and nauseous. I was getting worried. I was afraid I was going to be sick. I didn’t have time to ask to go to the bathroom. I couldn’t stop it. It was like a lava volcano erupting up through my throat. I barfed. I puked. I hurled. I blew chunks. Oh God!!! What just happened? I wanted to die. I wanted to absolutely die! How could this happen? Idiot! Why didn’t I run to the bathroom? Why?????

I remember Kevin saying, “What was that??!!” Well, buddy, it was barf and I got some on you. Poor guy! I felt terrible. He did move his crutches out of the way pretty fast though.

Mr. Curl got the janitor. They brought in that disgusting smelling cat litter-type sawdust product to cover up the vomit. You know, that reddish brown stuff. Vomit powder. Supposedly this helped clean up the mess, once the product absorbed the liquid. GAWD!!! I still wanted to die. I just wanted to slither away. I wanted never to be seen again. I just wanted to go home.

I remember watching the janitor sweeping up the vomit. It almost made me vomit again. Someone came and got me and took me home. It was probably my mom. I was devastated. I was embarrassed and I just wanted to shrivel up into nothing.

The experience was traumatic. I had a hard time going back to school. I think it actually took almost two weeks for me to go back. Every time I thought about going to school I would become physically sick. It was hard. I know I wasn’t really sick, but I couldn’t go back. I just couldn’t. One day when I thought I was all better, dad gave me a ride on his way to work. We pulled up to the school and I told him I couldn’t get out. I told him I felt sick. He took me home. I would have to try another day.

I finally got my shit together. I knew I would have to go back at some point. I knew I would have to face my fears. I couldn’t be “sick” forever. My grades were going to go to crap if I didn’t get back. I forced myself to go. Even though it was the last place I wanted to be, I forced myself to go back. See, sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do. It’s part of life. It’s part of growing up. It’s part of becoming a better human. So, I had to.

 

** As I was searching Kevin’s name, I realized that he passed away in 2010 from cancer. May he rest in peace. Sorry for puking on you, Kevin.

** Mr. Curl passed away in 2012.