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Posts Tagged ‘Family’


It all started when my wife decided to get the mail. She thought she should get in better shape by powering up our 660 foot steep driveway.

She then went upstairs to her office where she started having chest and back pains. She thought about laying down there until they went away. I thank God that it was uniquely painful enough that she decided to come back downstairs.

I first heard about it when she entered our living room rubbing her chest with one hand and giving me her phone with the other. “I think I’m having a heart attack. Call 911.”

“I’m having chest and back pains, starting to sweat, and my skin feels cold and clammy.”

I had her sit down on the couch and put her feet up on the ottoman and dialed 911 with shaking hands. How do you get to the place where you can dial 911?

At this point she was holding her chest with both hands and rocking front and back. “My hands are going numb and I’m starting to feel pain radiating up my neck and jaw.” She said.

I got the operator on the line, gave my name and address and told her that my wife was having a heart attack and described the symptoms, and that we needed an ambulance.

I couldn’t help but get a little angry as she calmly said that she was going to transfer me to the state police dispatch as we lived in an unincorporated township. Didn’t she know she should hurry? Then they transferred me to medical dispatch. That didn’t make me feel any better. Hurry, Hurry!

Between quickening breaths LLC keeps repeating, “I love you. I’m sorry. And trying to tell where the important papers are kept.

Inside my heart is wrenching as I tell her “I know, I know.” There’s nothing to forgive.” and “Yes, I remember where everything is.”

The operator tells me that the ambulance is on the way.

LLC wants to get up and walk around the pain is so bad. I make her stay on the sofa and tell her the ambulance is on the way.

Our poodle Belle is worried something is wrong and trying to nose her way between LLC and me.

The operator tells me if I have a dog to put her in another room and open the door so the EMTs can get in.

I tell LLC that I have to leave her for a second to do just that. Belle doesn’t want to go but lets me guide her into the bedroom where I have to close her in.

I run to the front door, open it and hurry back to LLC.

Pretty soon we hear the sirens of the ambulance. “They are close. They’ll be here in a few minutes. I say this to reassure her…and myself.

Never was I more glad to hear the sound of an ambulance.

I’m CPR certified, but I’m glad I don’t have to use it and worry about breaking her ribs.

The ambulances pulls up in front of the house and I say “We’re in here!” as they reach the front door.

We relate her symptoms, as they question us, and they tell her they have to expose her chest to hook up the leads to the portable EKG machine.

If she’s embarrassed, she doesn’t show it, as she tells them to “Go ahead.” like it’s no big deal.

Almost immediately the EMT reads the slip and says, “Yep, you’re having a heart attack.”

Another EMT pops 4 chewable baby aspirin and tells LLC to chew them. The others bring the stretcher in and gently transfer her to it. They wheel her out to the ambulance.

As they strap her in, I ask if I can ride with as I don’t want to leave her. “No but you can follow behind, just don’t speed.”

They take off, lights flashing.

It takes me a couple of minutes to call my Bishop and ask if he’ll assist me in giving her a blessing at the hospital.

I try not to cry as I tell him what happened but I can’t help myself. I’m somewhat relieved but her future is still uncertain.

In the ambulance they have given her 4 more baby aspirin. LLC is in such pain that she has stopped verbally responding to the EMT’s questions. He is asking them to keep her conscious. Instead she squeezing his leg so he knows that she is still with him. They give her morphine to help with the pain.

Hearing the concern of the first EMT, the second, who is driving asks “Should I come back there?”

“Just drive faster!” So he does.

By the time I get on 70, I can see the ambulance lights miles away

LLC wants them to take her to a different hospital but they tell her they have to take her to the nearest one that can treat her.

Since he lives closer to the hospital my Bishop makes it there before I do. We’re on the phone when he says “That must be her ambulance pulling off the exit right in front of me”.

I arrive a few minutes later but have to wait because of COVID restrictions only one person is allowed in the ER room at a time and he beat me there.

They let us both in anyway because we are priests.

They’ve prepped her for the cath lab but are waiting for the cardiologist to return who had gone home for the day.

Med staff leaves the room so we can privately bless her.

They wheel her off to the cath lab and my Bishop and I are led to that waiting room.

We trade medical war stories while we wait. I think he does it to help me hold it together.

The hour goes by quickly and the nurse comes out. “She did well and the Dr. will talk to you in the ER.

LLC is sedated but coming out of it. She had to be awake through the whole procedure.

After writing up his notes, the Cardiologist comes to see us. You can tell he’s an old army doctor with good bedside manner.

He presents us with his drawing of a heart with its major arteries and shows us the: 100, 80, 70, and 50% blockages.

The 100% was what precipitated the attack. It was on the widow-maker underneath the heart but close enough to the end of the artery where it wasn’t fatal.

He didn’t put stents in the others because he didn’t want to over stress her heart. They could be dealt with in the future.

LLC spent two more days in the hospital, mostly for heart and femoral artery incision monitoring. Then she came home so she could get some sleep.

Why am I telling you this story? Partly catharsis but also instructive.

Being religious, I like to think that we were blessed with a few small miracles.

We both knew the usual signs of a heart attack. LLC was blessed because she being female didn’t have unusual signs of a heart attack.

It only took the EMTs seven minutes to get there, and there were two ambulances.

LLC was instantly diagnosed by EKG. We didn’t have to worry about misdiagnosis like “panic attack”, or “gall bladder”, or “indigestion”.

And it only took them ten minutes to get to the hospital.

She made it there in record time.

There was minimal to no damage to her heart.

So please,

Watch https://www.netflix.com/title/81157840

Eat good food

Take 1 baby aspirin a day or keep aspirin handy.

Learn about heart attack symptoms.

And take CPR training.

You never know when you will need it.

With love,

Russell

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I did not realize the depths of my wife’s love

until she spent hours beside my hospital bed

while all I had strength for

was to sleep and recover.

Or when she was there

While I relearned how to do every little thing.

Or when she bathed me when I couldn’t.

I didn’t realize the depths of her love

when she attended to bodily functions I’m embarrassed to mention.

Or when she cut up my meat at the table because at the time I lacked the capacity to do so.

Or when, like a mother asking a child, “What’s Wrong?”

She wondered at my tears of frustration

at not healing fast enough,

or my weeping in gratitude at doing something simple for the first time

this time around,

like moving a toe.

I didn’t realize the depths of her love

until I experienced all the myriad ways she cared for me,

when I couldn’t care for myself.

And now, when she gets even more angry at me for smiling during her lecture

for doing something so incredibly stupid,

it’s because

I realize the depths of her love.

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20200306_112700The full title reads: ” “Chippewa Indians of Minnesota, Incorporated” — BallClub, July 13-15, 1920. Benjamin Caswell, of Cass Lake, President” “and in another place “Rich” Photo –Bemidji–

I found this photo in my Grandmother’s shed. Having cleaned it out a few months after she died in 1985. “Lizzy” Elizabeth Joyce Mason is the girl with the bow in her hair on the far left. She was 14 then.

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To the left of her is my Great -Grandfather, “Neogeshig”, or Thomas Jefferson Jerome Mason. You can tell from his visage that Littlecreek men received many facial characteristics from him. 🙂

He’s holding Helen C. Mason, age 2, and I believe that little boy half hiding behind his pant leg to the left of him is either his son Vilas, age 6, or son Thomas Jr., age 7.

I figured I’d better put this photograph online somewhere so others could benefit from it–since it’s been sitting on top of my dresser all these years.

I am amazed at the amount of personal family history contained in this photograph. Who are all these people???

The expression of their genes is so strong, I think I would recognize their descendants from this picture! Let me know if you know any of them.

After uploading the whole photo,  I noticed that it was compressed so much that I couldn’t really identify anyone, so I’m adding enlarged sections of it above and below.

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I’m guessing that the man sitting apart from the others in the front bottom row, as a place of prominence, is Benjamin Caswell. Can anyone confirm this?20200306_125403

20200306_125627

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20200306_130037

Aren’t phone cameras great?

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Every once in a while an Indian (read American Indian) will give a friend or family member a nickname. Sometimes these names are given just for fun, other times they are given to help that person be humble. “Dances With Wolves” comes to mind.

I actually know some of my aunts and uncles by their nicknames: Ishky, Bunny, and Boogens are three.

I told my wife that I finally figured out what her Indian nickname was.

“Well, what is it?”, she asked.

“Too Many Pillows”, I said.

She laughed… because she knew it was true.

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I found this picture while searching for family photos at the Minnesota Historical Society way back in ’77. (1977, not 1877)

I managed to find out where I could write to Bob Hope at the time and sent him a copy, hoping that he might have some information about it. I received this letter from him along with my returned photo.
Bob Hope Letter
Mr. Hope couldn’t provide me with any new information except to suggest it may have been taken in a studio. (I was thinking Cali-for-nii-aa) but I was pleased nonetheless to have received a personal letter back along with his autograph!

I recently signed up for a five day free trial of Newspapers.com (I needed a credit card but was told how I could easily cancel my trial before the five days were up.)
During that period, I pretty much dedicated myself to looking up as many possible Ancestor references for myself and friends who were interested. I probably looked at a thousand possible articles and was rewarded with a score or more, which I “Clipped” and then downloaded. This was one of them.
Bob Hope and Ben Littlecreek at the Nicollet Hotel
Yep, same top hat, same sport coat, same two people. BINGO!!! Mystery solved.

Part of the article reads:

“Forever a gagster, Bob Hope invaded Minneapolis Monday. He put on a two-hour stage show in Minneapolis Auditorium. Sang a duet with Mayor Eric G. Hoyer, said nasty things about Bing Crosby, and was made an honorary Indian. Most of the shenanigans took place in Nicollet Hotel, where, among other things, the ski-nosed comedian attended a dinner put on by the Theadore Peterson American Legion Post.

*   *   *

In Picture below, Hope meets Chief Ben Littlecreek of the Red Lake Chippewa Indian Tribe. Hope made the Chief an honorary “Paleface”, from the movie by the same name.”

As a side note, I like Hope’s irony here. That’s the first time I’ve heard of an Indian being made an honorary Paleface!

All kidding aside, for you genealogy buffs out there, Try the Newspaper.com free Trial. It was worth it! (And, they actually made cancelling the trial easy!) All irony aside, I will pay for a subscription–which I can get for just one month if I want–should I need to research other ancestors in the future.

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Mom says, “Let’s stop and see if the bears are there.”

So we turn off into the dump grounds, where six large dumpsters are lined up on an asphalt pad inside a ten foot high chain link fence.

It is night.

Our headlights illuminate almost everything–to a height of about six feet.

The scene is ghostly.

A bear saunters out from between the dumpsters–wary, as any wild animal is on an Indian reservation.

He is huge for a bear, at least a good six hundred pounds.

He walks slowly away and out of the compound with a full white garbage bag clutched in his mouth.

He is followed closely by a black and white mother cat–her belly hanging down loosely–
as if she were his pet,
hoping for a morsel leftover from her master.

Another bear rises from scrounging within one of the far dumpsters.

His form towers three feet above its five foot high walls.

He regards us curiously.
then disappears again within.

Strangely enough, we do not see each bear.

They are holes in the night,
an absence of light
In the form of a bear

Although, at just the right angle,
we see the glint of their eyeshine–
the light of their spirit within them.

*Bears, plural, in Anishinabemowin.

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Always be your self

unless you can be a Littlecreek.

Then always be a Littlecreek

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Marriage


Marriage is a three-legged race…

while holding an egg…

on a teaspoon.

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We still dance everyday.

Not the dance of ballrooms, discos, or weddings;

but of two stars orbiting each other.

 

Each affected

by the others well of gravity,

of solar storms, magnetic fields, and hot plasma.

 

Our orbits are stable but elliptic,

one pursuing the other,

one being pursued;

but which one, and when?

 

We red shift and blue shift

appearing cool or warm,

depending upon point of view.

 

Friends, family, and acquaintances

are mere planets.

 

We shall continue to dance every day.

And time?

What is that to us?

We are immortal.

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* Happy Thanksgiving Day!

It’s 2:45 a.m. here. My little hairy black standard poodle kid Belle nudges my hand. “Dad, I gotta go.” So I let her outside and know that she will be at least 20 minutes dawdling around until I give in and tell her I have a treat for her if she will come in. (She has me trained well.)

In 20 minutes I will be sleepy and ready to turn in, myself. I also know that this is a time when my little mind is most creative, (IMHO) so I thought I would write a “stream of consciousness” piece and see what happens, without having to worry about family nodding off at the dinner table because I pray to God on-and-on about all of the things for which we personally are full of thanks.

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the good ol’ USA. I choose to emphasize the positive about it. Here I sit in my nice warm house, a roof over my head, and  a place to sleep, looking forward to a day filled with food preparation and food eating. I have a wife and a dog whom I love, both of whom have chosen to continue to put up with me. We have grown-up kids living nearby whom we get to see regularly. My mom is still in decent health and I have a nuclear family of brothers and sisters, and an extended family of cousins, nieces and nephews and their children with whom I can stay in contact.

I have a great support system in my church, work in church which enables me to help other people and feel self-worth. I’m thankful for God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost and everything they do for me.

I’m thankful for my friends and acquaintances from church or college, or whatever walk in life, in many different states and countries with whom I have stayed in contact, some for forty years or more. I venerate all of my mentors, whether very young or older who have taught me so much and continue to do so.

I’m thankful for time. I have it to pursue my little hobbies; writing this blog, poetry, my journal. And I’m thankful for you dear reader, because you’ve allowed me into a small portion of your life by following me. Thank you.

Now I’m drawing a blank. Which makes me realize five things: that I don’t want to boor you, that I take so many things for granted, and that I have the luxury to do so, and that I have all that I could want, and that I am sleepy again.

So I will end here with the hope that you will have a happy thanksgiving too.

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