H. Neal Glanville
H. Neal Glanville's column appears in the Craig Daily Press
When the girls were born, we realized my "pre-baby preparedness project" (try saying that three times real fast) was a failure.
We were almost - well, kinda sorta - ready for one, but twins? Nope.
We had gathered a few basics: a crib, hand-me-down baby clothes, maybe a dozen bottles and, of course, cloth diapers.
Having identical twins was quite the adventure. My biggest problem was telling them apart. At birth, Eileen had a small birthmark on her left cheek, which made identification easy. But as life would have it, at about 6 weeks, it fell off. I tried putting small dots of magic marker on them, but their mother would wash them off, and then yell at me for "tattooing" her little girls.
Of course the entire universe (less yours truly) thought it would be "oh so cute" to dress them alike. That created arguments that wouldn't have been allowed on "The Jerry Springer Show."
Each Wednesday, we'd make a 30-mile trip for baby food. Twelve jars for a $1, limit 12 per customer. My mother-in-law, former wife and I would take turns going through different checkout counters to get our weekly supply. My favorite was Blue Berry Buckle. I'm not sure how much buckle the girls got, but I got way more than my share.
One major flaw in my "pre-baby preparedness project" was that I didn't account for the mountains of dirty diapers. We lacked a washing machine, and making $2.10 an hour, the funds to buy one. Fortunately, there was a laundry mat about a mile away, and it cost 10 cents to wash and 25 to dry. Unfortunately, going to the laundry was uphill, not all the way mind you, just the first couple hundred yards. When it wasn't snow-covered, it wasn't that bad a walk, even with a bag of dirty diapers slung across my shoulder.
One Sunday, I found my former wife's sled in the family garage. Now the diaper trip was going to be easy, just pull the sled up the hill, and then ride it down. Yup, I was getting smarter by the minute.
When the time arrived for my weekly trip, I loaded up with diapers and anything else that needed washing, and off I went. What a fun memory, pulling that sled up the hill, knowing I could ride it down that snow covered street.
The usual small group of ladies was at the laundry, washing their husband's or son's work clothes. I always carried pictures of the girls. The ladies would look at them, tell me how beautiful they were, then show me the best way to fold everything as it came out of the dryer.
When they saw my sled that night, they worried so. A "grown man" sliding down a hill with two bags of laundry, I assured them I was quite capable of guiding the sled and my load of diapers home, and off I went.
When I got to the top of Locust Street, I put both bags in front of me, sat on the back of the sled and pushed off. I've always had a love affair with speed, so as I started going faster and faster down that hill, it didn't bother me that I hadn't thought about stopping or turning. I was just going faster and faster.
I suddenly realized my problem. When I was three doors away from our house, my feet shot down to the snow packed street.
I put my feet on the short steering arm all sleds come with, trying my best to go left, but with no response.
I had one remaining choice: roll it over.
I remember leaning as hard as I could to the left. I remember the sled starting to slide sideways to the hill. I also can remember my first complete flip, complete with airborne diapers and soap products.
The neighbor lady swears I made three complete turns before I started sliding past my house, so I'll take her word.
The sled ended up in a chain link fence four houses down, broken beyond repair. I heard about that for years afterward.
Diapers were everywhere.
We tried finding all of the ones lying in the snow, and the ones we missed were found that spring.
As for me, well, I had a black eye, one chipped tooth and one knocked out.
But, dang it, what a ride.
Until next time:
Yup, there I was surrounded by unanswered questions about the status of the clinic and who's going to step up and take care of our Medicaid patients.
That's when I said to myself, "Self," I said ('cause that's what I call myself when I'm talking to myself), "we need straight-forward, honest answers from somebody."
Thank you for you time.