Baby Steps and Independence

Since last summer, my husband has been talking about getting a bike so the two of us could start riding together. I received my beautiful royal blue Trek bike about seven years ago for my birthday. 

For Father’s Day my boys and I bought him that bike. We asked him to come out to the front porch where we were standing with the shiny new bike, complete with big blue bow, and smiles all around. He was surprised. 

We went on our first ride together last Sunday. We are not 30 or 40 or 50 years old, so we are taking it slowly. Our first ride was about 30 minutes long and we were tired. 

On Monday we decided that on this Fourth of July morning we would load up our bikes and drive to a well-known, local bike path.

The Little Miami Scenic Trail, affectionately known as the “Loveland Bike Trail”, is over 70 miles long. There is free parking, picnic tables, rest rooms, coffee shops, ice-cream shops, restaurants and entertainment. 

It is truly a lovely place to bike. Much of the trail follows an old railway line of the Little Miami Steam Railroad, circa 1836. President Abraham Lincoln road the line to his inauguration in 1861.

Most of the trail runs along the banks of the Little Miami River. The trail is a dedicated, car-free zone with an adequate width that allows runners, cyclists, moms pushing double-wide strollers, and even an occasional horseback rider to feel comfortable. 

It is truly lovely with sparkles of sunshine and plenty of cool shade along the paved, flat trail. 

Today we rode a bit longer, about 55 minutes. We even integrated a bit of interval training, riding hard and consistent for three to four minutes, then slowing to a pace of that seemed to please our heart rates a bit more. 

We have the right gear. We wear safe helmets. We are set with squeezable water bottles that fit snugly into our attached holders. 

For us, it is baby steps. Baby steps that will, if we stay consistent, lead to big steps of endurance and freedom. 

Baby steps toward independence. How fitting for this day. 

A Yellow Ribbon

On this date in 1973, the musical group, Tony Orlando and Dawn, had a number one hit with their song: “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree”. 

The yellow ribbon has long been a symbol of support for absent or missing loved ones. There are some who believe that the tradition of the yellow ribbon dates back as far as the Civil War era, when a yellow ribbon worn in a woman’s hair indicated that she was “taken” by a man who was absent due to service in the United States Army Cavalry.

That may be urban legend. 

“Tie a Yellow Ribbon” was a massive international hit, holding a number one spot on the U.S. and the U.K. charts for four consecutive weeks. It earned more than three million radio plays in 1973. 

The song was sung from the perspective of a man returning home after three years in prison. He was looking anxiously for the agreed-upon sign that the woman he loves would welcome his return. 

In January of 1981, the Library of Congress was inundated by press inquiries about the historical roots of the yellow ribbon. What prompted this abundance of interest was the spontaneous appearance all around the country of yellow ribbons welcoming home the U.S. hostages after 444 days in captivity in Iran. 

The library’s research team scrambled around for historical evidence but came up with only myth and folklore. Eventually, the Library of Congress ruled that the most compelling evidence explaining the yellow ribbons was the inspiration of Tony Orlando’s song. 

If you are familiar with the song, you know the last few lines:

Now the whole damn bus is cheerin’

And I can’t believe I see…

A hundred yellow ribbons 

Round the old oak tree

I was 15 years old when that song was a number one hit. I knew nothing of war or prison or any of those things. I knew only of dreams of a life of love. I knew that if I ever wanted to welcome home my love from a long absence, I would surely find a beautiful yellow ribbon and tie it around an oak tree.

I am now 60 years old. I have a love and I have an oak tree. Thankfully, he doesn’t go away for long absences. 

Perhaps on Monday evening when he pulls in the driveway after a long day of ‘doctoring’, I will welcome him home with a yellow ribbon tied around the old oak tree.

Or hey, maybe a hundred.

These Boots are Made for Walkin’

I was in a thrift store yesterday, looking for a CD player. I know that is a passé item for which to be searching. My husband is preparing to take his medical board exam, which has to be retaken every 10 years. Well, 2018 is the year.

He has some CDs from the last time he was preparing for the board exam. That was in 2008 and believe it or not, we were actually using CD players at that time. I had a hunch I could stop by a Goodwill Store or a Salvation Army Thrift Store and run across an old CD player for a few bucks.

While in one of the stores, great sixties music was being played. My music era is the 1970s but I truly despise most seventies music. I much prefer 1960s or 1980s music.

So while I browsed through the glassware and books and eventually, electronics, I was certainly enjoying the music.

I heard “Crimson and Clover” and “Kind of a Drag” and “Make me your Baby” and “I’m a Believer”. Then, I heard an oldie that really took me back. It was Nancy Sinatra’s oh, so huge hit, “These Boots are Made for Walkin’” I specifically remember that my little sister, Tammy, loved this song. She was very young, probably three or four years old at the time the song was popular.

I liked the song, too, it was catchy and clever and I so very much wanted a pair of tall, white pleather boots. Though the mini skirt associated with it would never have flown with Mama.

But back to the thrift store. I heard the song and really listened to the lyrics. I love the use of words that aren’t real words but fit perfectly. Here are a few favorite lines:

You keep lyin’ when you oughta be truthin’
You keep losing when you oughta not bet
You keep samin’ when you oughta be a’changin’
What’s right is right but you ain’t been right yet

These boots are made for walkin’
And that’s just what they’ll do
One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you

That’s right, sing it, Nancy. I nearly ditched the CD player search and headed to the women’s shoe racks to look for boots.

The next song, however, brought me back to reality, “You can’t hurry love”. While that may be true, I knew I did need to hurry and find the CD player, get myself home with it and figure out what to make for dinner.

Are you ready, boots? Start walkin’.


What’s up Doc?

Today is National Doctors Day. My first memory of a doctor is when I was a little girl, being taken (reluctantly) by my mother for immunizations. The office was on the second floor above a bank and a jewelry store. As soon as my mother opened the heavy glass door that led from the street and we began to descend the marble stairs, I could smell it.

It was an olfactory overload of alcohol swabs and general “doctor’s officeness”.

The doctor was older (though probably my current age or younger) and was always kind. He patted my head and shuffled around the room in a long, white coat, covering his ironed shirt and perfectly tied tie.

The doctor’s nurse was an attractive brunette named Laverne. She wore a crisply starched white dress with her nursing pins on the collar. A pristine white cap perched atop lovely coiffed hair. Her legs were covered in white nurse hosiery which connected to her blindingly white, sturdy shoes. She always wore red lipstick. When she smiled, her teeth matched her shoes.

However, that smile was only on her face because she was the one administering, rather than receiving, the giant needle in the buttocks. After the dreaded stabbing, we would promptly leave the office with a green Dum Dum lollipop in my hand and a few tears drying on my cheeks.

March 30, 1933, was the first observance of Doctors Day in Winder, Georgia.   Dr. Charles B. Almond’s wife, Eudora Brown Almond, wanted to have a day to honor physicians.  On this first day in 1933, greeting cards were mailed and flowers placed on the graves of deceased doctors.  The red carnation is commonly used as the symbolic flower for National Doctors Day.

For a bit of fun trivia, the first ether anesthetic for surgery was administered by Crawford W. Long, M.D. on March 30, 1842, marking the date for Doctors Day.  On that day, before Dr. Long operated to remove a tumor from a man’s neck, he administered ether anesthesia. Following surgery, the man would swear that he felt nothing during the surgery and was not aware of anything until he awoke. Thankfully, it worked. What a brave man to be the test case.

In 1991, President George Bush gave Proclamation 6253 as National Doctors Day. I’m guessing that most people do not realize or recognize the day. I believe it is honored more within the medical community. But it is continuing strong.

My doctor-husband teasingly asked what I was going to do for him for Doctors Day. I smiled and told him the same thing I do every day; love and support him and respect the work, the dedication, the commitment and the priority of his patients.

I may throw in a carrot cake, too.


Thanks, France

National French Toast Day. The history of French toast goes back to the 15th century English court of Henry V, when a version of French toast was the culinary rage. It was originally called “pain perdu” which means “lost bread” because the recipe called for soaking hard or stale or “lost” bread in a mixture of milk and egg, then frying.

I remember French toast as a child. I do not remember the specifics of making it. I only knew that egg and bread and syrup were involved. What’s not to love?

My husband is definitely not a cook. However, there are a couple of things that he “claims”. One of them is French toast. When we were newly married, I made us French toast one morning for breakfast. He (lovingly, because that is how you say things when you are newlyweds) said that the French toast was a bit too “eggy”. So, like a good, young married woman would say, I (lovingly, of course) told him that he could make it next time (smiling the entire time, at least on the outside.)

So he did. And it was better than mine (crap!) He made the egg mixture, but added additional milk. He also added a half cup of sugar and some vanilla. He cooked it a bit longer than I would have and it was golden brown and crispy. Dare I say, perfect? Nah. He slid that lovely toast onto a plate and slathered it with real butter, powdered sugar and WARM syrup. Okay, maybe it was perfect.

I have since made my French toast exactly that way. It is a Hendrixson house favorite. Occasionally he will step in and slip on the chef’s hat. And when he does, he calls it French toast “Dad’s style”. I allow him to revel in his moment of glory. And I just smile (on the outside and inside) as I sink my teeth into truly glorious French toast.

The next time he makes French toast I will simply say “merci mille fois”, which means “a thousand thanks”. If he starts answering me in French, I am going to be really mad.