Summer!

It’s official! Summer is Here!

GeorgiaJanet is loving the summer!

 

I’m  a summer person and an outdoor person. I should clarify that means relaxing in the outdoors, as in floating in the pool, or sitting in the sun at the beach, or the shade on my porch, or driving in my convertible, or enjoying beautiful scenery when traveling. You won’t find me running marathons, hitting tennis balls, or mountain bike riding, but summer is my favorite season.


Snippets of Summer Memories

Atlanta Magazine Photo by David Walter Banks

The smell of wet concrete at John A. White swimming Pool

That summer I went to summer school and graduated high school a year early

Lying in the grass and staring up at clouds

A family vacation to Miami in our un-airconditioned 64 Ford Galaxy, no seatbelts, hot vinyl seats, sleeping on the back window deck.

Crusin’ around with various friends and boyfriends

Found on Pinterest

“Laying Out” slathered in baby oil

Lake Spivey picnics

 

 

What are some of your own summer memories? Please comment!

 


Check out my SUMMER pins on Pinterest! 

 


Savor Some Summer Songs

 Lovin Spoonful – Summer in the City

The Who –  Summertime Blues

Ella Fitagerald  – Summertime 

Mungo Jerry –  Summertime

The Jamies – Summertime Summertime 

Grease – Summer Nights

DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince – Summertime

Seals and Croft – Summer Breeze 

Sly and the Family Stone – Hot Fun in the Summertime

Martha and the Vandellas – Dancing in the Street

Martha and the Vandellas – Heat Wave

Alice Cooper – School’s Out for Summer

Frozen – In Summer

Calvin Harris – Summer

Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello – I Know What You Did Last Summer

Michel Legrand – Theme from The Summer of 42

Kid Rock – All Summer Long

  The Eagles – Boys of Summer

LFO –  Summer Girls

Lana Del Rey – Summertime Sadness

Jake Owen – Beachin’

The Ramones – Rockaway Beach

The Safaris – Wipeout

Bryan Adams – Summer of 59

Johnny Rivers – Summer Rain

The Motels – Suddenly Last Summer

The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations

The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun

The Drifters – Under the Boardwalk 

Chris Rey – Sweet Summer Day

Frank Sinatra – Summer Wind

Katrina and the Waves – Walkin’ on Sunshine

Logan Paul and The Rock – The Song of the Summer


 

 

Check back with GeorgiaJanet in a couple of weeks for an updated post!


 

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The Beloved

My father died when I was not quite 21 years old. I had been married and away from home for a little over two years. I never knew him, really, not as an adult anyway. What I have are mostly childhood memories. My mother worked full time, shift work in the Owens Illinois Glass Plant, and was often gone nights, afternoons, weekends. Child care for me, and later my little brother, fell mostly to Daddy, along with my older sister, and aunt. He could make hot dogs for supper, baloney sandwiches for lunch, and canned biscuits and fried eggs for breakfast.

 

 

 

I would tag along with him when he drove around Atlanta, delivering parts to businesses, the Greyhound bus station downtown, or sometimes Lockheed. I firmly believe that is what ingrained my sense of direction, and to this day I can find my way anywhere around Atlanta. Anytime we drove along Peters Street, Forsyth Street, Mitchell or Walker, he would point over to a giant billboard standing in the railroad gulch beyond the old Terminal Station, and say, “That’s where I was born. Right under that billboard.” Of course when I was very young he had to clarify that he had been born at home, not in a hospital, and their house had stood on Elliot Street.

There was another thing he often said when we would drive along Lee Street paralleling the railroad tracks. “One day, there’s going to be a monorail along here, just like they have in Disneyland. And parts of it downtown will have tunnels, just like the subways in New York City. I probably won’t live to see it, but you will.” Lo and behold, since 1979, Marta trains run along there on elevated platforms before entering their tunnels to downtown.

It was Daddy who took my little brother and me to church on Sundays. Oh, he didn’t go to church, but he took us, dropped us off, and then picked us up. But it was Daddy who did come to church the evening I was baptized, because my Mama was working.

And of course it was Daddy who walked me down the aisle at that same church in 1972 when I was married. It was a little over two years later, in July of 1974 that Daddy died of lung cancer.

I could go on and on with little tidbits of memories. What I really wish is that I’d had the opportunity to know my Daddy as a person. What were his hopes, dreams, and feelings? What about his first wife and daughter, the half-sister I never knew?  What did he know about my Granny, his mother’s, early life? What was it like during the war when he was gone from home for over two years? What did he really know about Dorothy, the child his mother “got” and raised as his sister? What did he remember about his own father, who died when he was only 11 years old? I get bits and pieces from my older sister and reading old letters of my mother’s. We have the complete collection of letters he wrote to her during the war, but they are fading fast.

Life goes on, and there are some things I will never know, and maybe that’s how it should be. I’m sure I have probably romanticized the memories of my Daddy, but that is all I have. One thing I do know is that in his own way, he loved my mother, and he loved his children. I know I was beloved.

 

The Beloved

The first was just a happenstance.
So inconsequential as to almost not exist at all.
He was young, so was she, times were tight.
The days, weeks, months marched on, relentless cadence.
That’s just the way it was, back then.
Until there was no more they. And for him, no more her.

The second was so far away she didn’t seem real.
Miles and oceans apart. Months and years.
In two years a pairing could form and love spring forth but
In absence, the heart cannot grow fonder of what it does not know.
Once again, love rebuffed. That’s just the way it was, back then.
And so, for her, there was no him.

The third offered a promise, a hope for redemption. Alas, it was not to be.
Life taken before breath. No whisper, smile, or image to grieve.
Distance and time again, no presence.
‘Twas an unknown essence took her away.
That’s just the way it was, back then.
The third time was no charm. She was gone before she existed.

The gods smiled down and brought another, or so he thought.
For this one, there was no distance of space or time.
She was not spirited away. She was present and precious.
Sugar and spice and everything nice this little girl was made of.
And love grew, as it should have before. She the beloved, he the besotted.
That’s just the way it was back then, that time.

j. chapman

                                                     2016

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From Halcyonic to Hellish

I am still a little frazzled, so please excuse any errors in this post. Also, it’s a little longer than the average post, but nonetheless, it is an important story .

I have spent the last four weeks at one of my most favorite places on earth: Flagler Beach, Florida. My family has been visiting Flagler for close to 50 years. We have seen the area grow and change, but the natural, uncrowded beaches have retained their beauty and status as one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever experienced. Memories made in Flagler practically tell my life story. Family photos and stories abound of those no longer with us. The beauty inspires me to write, and several of my poems and essays have been composed right on that beach. 

Since 2010, I have spent the month of May at Flagler, staying at Ocean Beach Club One condominiums (OCBI). I’ve made friends with some of the permanent residents, seen managers come and go, and developed friendships with other May visitors. I’ve had friends and family visit, my husband comes in between working, and the few alone days I have are treasured as peaceful escapes from the harsh realities of life. One of my favorite aspects about Flagler has always been that it is a dog-friendly beach. I’ve enjoyed watching owners and their dogs play in the water, chase birds and crabs, and I can have the company of my own pup right there with me.

Many of you know May is a hard month from me. May hosts my son Jay’s birthday and his death-day, which lends a special poignancy to Mother’s Day. Now I have another traumatic event to add. About two weeks ago, on May 25, what has always been halcyonic became hellish. I had been sitting in my beach chair under my umbrella, enjoying the beautiful day. I was alone for the first day since arriving in Flagler, having company, and sending Joe back to work in Atlanta. This photo of Jazz was taken just moments before horror broke loose. 

I was watching a young couple playing with their two dogs in the surf about 50 yards up the beach. Both dogs were big, Labrador sized. I couldn’t tell from the distance if they were specific breeds, but one was light with dark markings and one was black. They were romping and splashing, letting go of their dog leashes on the shallow sandbar. One of the dogs would occasionally start to run off if other folks went by with a dog and the man would call him back. The dogs would come after a couple of commands. One of the friends I’ve made who also visits OCBI every May, Wendy, took a photo of the couple and their dogs to send back to relatives to show how shallow the sandbar is, then she went back up to her condo rental for lunch.

After a few minutes I got up to go down to the surf to cool off. I had Jazz on his leash beside me. As I reached the edge of the water, from the corner of my eye, movement caught my attention. The light colored dog was running towards us, fast as lightning, without his owner. Following several yards behind was the second dog. Either the owners had let go of the leashes or the dogs had pulled loose. We will probably never know, but I do know the owners had been letting go of the leashes as the dogs played. The owner was running and calling to the dogs too. In a flash the light dog was in front Jazz (my dog) and me. There was a brief second of growling between the two dogs and then the larger dog pounced on my baby. I was stunned and caught completely off guard. As I reached for Jazz, the other dog arrived. I could not pick Jazz up as the light colored dog had locked onto him. I fell onto the sand. I couldn’t tell exactly where he had a hold, but it was somewhere in the head and neck area. I got to my knees, hitting the light dog with the handle of Jazz’ leash. He wasn’t letting go. I tried to pry the dog’s mouth off, and was bitten in the process, but did not realize it at the time. By this time the dog owners arrived at the fracas and other beach goers came to my assistance. I was screaming, “Get him off! Get him off!”

I thought the big dog had Jazz by the neck. It was starting to sling Jazz back and forth. The black dog attempted to join the fray but was grabbed by the female owner. I was knocked down and being pulled around on the sand trying to save my baby. I was hearing shouts of “Oh my God!” “Someone help!” “Get them away!”

Finally the light dog released my baby, and I was later told that one of the men who had come to my assistance had taken ahold of the dog’s collar and twisted it, effectively choking the dog so it had to let go. The male owner was saying, “I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry! Are you ok?”

I could only cry and hold my baby to me. Blood and sand were covering both of us. The male owner said to the female, “Get them away,” referring to the dogs. He said again, “I’m so sorry.”

Then he started to back away to where the female was walking the dogs away. At least two kind women and the man were saying to me, “You need to get your dog to the vet and yourself to a doctor.”

I could barely catch my breath. But managed to say “Somebody get their info.”

Other people were coming around by this time. I kept saying, “Somebody get their information! We need to know who they are!” One of the men took off after the couple with the dogs, as they were headed for their car in the beachside parking area.

I finally caught my breath enough to get up, cradling Jazz in my arms. I will never forget the wild look of terror in his eyes. I still couldn’t tell from where he was bleeding, but he was conscious and alert, although trembling, so I did not think he’d been bitten in the neck, or he would be bleeding out rapidly. One of the ladies brought my towel and I wrapped him in it, still holding him close. I was afraid to uncover him or put him down because I did not know how bad the wounds were.

The men and women gathered my belongings, walked me back over to my condo so I could grab my purse, and called the police and animal control. I managed to at least get my cover-up on. One of the residents, Monique, pulled her car around to take us to the vet. I called the vet in the car on the way. Fortunately, I knew where it was because I had to take Jazz there a couple of years ago when he got sick. They still had our information on file!

Once we arrived at the vet, they took Jazz back immediately, still wrapped in the beach towel. I went into the bathroom to wash the blood and sand from my hands and that was when I discovered some of the blood was coming from wounds on my hands. I was still shaking and traumatized. After thoroughly washing my hands I could see there were two deep puncture wounds and several scrapes and scratches. I kept paper towels pressed to them to stop the bleeding. My left index finger, with the two deep wounds, was especially painful. I managed to call Joe, who had just gotten home from work back in Atlanta. He said he would get there as soon as he could, for me to get taken care of, do whatever was needed for Jazz, call him when I knew something, and he would start making arrangements to get there.

Monique called an acquaintance at the Sherriff’s office and they had animal control come to the vet’s office to talk to me. In the meantime, the residents back at the condo, Tom and Lisa, and Wendy, were talking with the police. Somehow, the animal control officer was informed that the owners of the dogs had been identified. (This later turned out to be misinformation.)  He did say I needed to get medical attention for my wounds and that he would be picking the dogs up later that day for quarantine and would know from the owners if they had been vaccinated for rabies so we would know if I needed treatment for that. He took my contact information and pictures of my hands. He also went back and took pictures of Jazz.

Finally, the vet came out and updated me on Jazz. He had wounds to his shoulder area and his rump. One eye was also reddened, she said probably from sand, but they found no corneal scratches or lacerations. The worst was his shoulder, apparently that’s where the dog had ahold of him when I thought he had his neck. The vet explained they were deep lacerations that required a drain. They had sedated him, cleaned the wounds, put in stitches and the drain, and needed to watch him an hour or so, but he would not have to stay overnight. Of course, I was relieved it was not worse. They also said “You need to get yourself to a doctor.” Monique, who had stayed at the vet with me, said she would take me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

They referred us to a nearby urgent care center. Once again, Monique took me there and waited with me. The urgent care personnel and doctor were great. They took me right in. We weren’t too concerned about starting rabies treatment since we thought the owners had been found, but they did give me a tetanus shot, and an antibiotic. The main concern was infection, especially since I am on immunosuppressant medications for my other medical conditions. I got my prescription and we headed back to the vet’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They brought Jazz out to me. Poor baby, he looked pitiful. Partly shaved, scratched up, and still lethargic from the sedatives. They gave me instructions for his medications and said to some back three days later for the drain to be removed from his shoulder. We left the vet and headed next to the drugstore for my prescription. They said it would be about 15 minutes. Monique left the car running with Jazz and me in the air conditioning while she went in – she said she needed a beer after this ordeal! She came back out with her six-pack, treats for Jazz, and my prescription. I could not thank her enough. She had taken the afternoon off work because she had relatives visiting and here she had spent hours carting me all around.

We finally arrived back at the condo. She walked me in and made sure I was ok. By this time I had heard from Joe. His boss had approved him being off the next day, and he hoped to make a flight that would arrive at 9 pm. He said not to worry about picking him up, he would rent a car if needed. I got Jazz settled on some pillows and got myself in the shower. A hot shower never felt so good!

I was waiting for confirmation that Joe had made the flight when there was a knock on my door. It was my friend Wendy. She had gone back to the beach after lunch and discovered not only were all of my things gone, but hers were too! She came up to the pool looking around and discovered the couple who had helped me, that were also residents, Lisa and Tom, talking with the police. Once she found out was had happened she shared the photo she had taken of the couple playing in the surf with the dogs. Now here she was checking on me.

A few minutes after she left, there was another knock at the door. It was Lisa. She had brought me dinner! I hadn’t even realized I had not eaten. She told me how her husband Tom had twisted the light colored dog’s collar, causing it to finally release its grip on Jazz. She also said he had run after the couple, but they had jumped in their car and sped away, nearly running him over. He wasn’t able to get a photo but thought it was a white Toyota Camry, possibly 1998-2000 model, with FL tag BRU-5 something but he couldn’t be sure. They had given all this info to the police. Again, I thanked her profusely.

I also had a visit from the police, explaining the info they had and leaving a report form if I wanted to file one. I told him we’d probably do that the next day. Then I got a message from the animal control officer, telling me he had been misinformed about the owners/dogs being identified. This was a blow because without locating the dogs and determining their inoculation status I would likely need rabies prevention therapy. He had notified the health department and they would be getting in touch with me. The awful stories of that treatment now loomed ahead of me, changing the entire scenario.

I finally heard from Joe that he had managed to make the flight arriving at 9 pm. I gathered Jazz up in a blanket and snuggled him in my lap as I drove the 25 miles to the airport and picked him up. Don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to see him in my entire life!

I won’t go into as much detail about the aftermath. I texted a few family and friends about what happened. I was pretty bruised up and sore the next day, but we made it to the police department and filed the report. My hands were swollen and that one finger hurt like hell. Jazz remained fairly pitiful, but we were giving him the sedatives and pain medication. He wasn’t eating, and drank very little. We lifted him up and down and stood him by the tree outside our door to tinkle.

I got the picture from Wendy of the couple playing in the waves with their dogs. Then I joined a couple of local Facebook groups, posted the picture, and explained what happened, hoping beyond hope someone would recognize them. There were many comments from people expressing outrage at such irresponsible dog owners and also concern for Jazz and me. There was a ray of hope when a woman commented on the post that she was the woman on the beach with the black and white dog and she had been “so worried about me and my little dog.” Of course I jumped right on that and notified the police, but it turned out she was not the dog owner but was one of the helpers! I was sorry for the misunderstanding but glad to find out who she was – another kind stranger I only knew as the woman in the polka dot swimsuit. Thank you Maggie for your help during this horrible ordeal. There was one other glimmer of hope when the police called and told me they had a lead. They had tracked the partial tag number to an address but it turned out the car owners no longer lived there. Another dead end.

Since this happened on a Thursday, I was out of it on Friday, then it was Memorial Day weekend, it was Tuesday before I could start trying to sort things out. I was in contact with the health department in both Flagler and my home county in Georgia. I spent the entire day on the phone with my primary care physician, both health departments, my insurance company, my rheumatologist, animal control, the police, and a couple of hospital emergency departments. It took forever to get definitive answers about what I needed to do. The final verdict was that I had up to ten days to start treatment, which I should do if the dogs weren’t found in that time period. We were due to come home June 3, exactly 10 days after the incident. We decided to come home on Friday, a day early, so I could get to the emergency room earlier on Saturday, but during the previous Thursday night I came down with a violent stomach bug. No way could I travel on Friday with that going on.

Finally made it home, and got to Piedmont Newton Hospital Emergency room about 5:30 Saturday. They were wonderful too! Praise the Lord for knowledgeable medical professionals. Short version: No rabies treatment-WOOHOO!
Long version: Given that…
a. The dogs were obviously well cared for pets and therefore most likely inoculated
b. It’s been 10 days and I have no symptoms
c. The dogs didn’t actually attack me- they were after my dog                                                       d. I would have to stop my Humira treatments for RA to have the rabies treatment
e. The treatments are very painful and expensive
f. CDC protocols apply (as opposed to local health departments)
…the nurse practitioner said NOT necessary! I was of course relived beyond measure. Of course the owners are still scumbags for leaving the scene and us holding the bill for me and the vet. I also still can’t help but believe that somebody in that area knows who these people are.

Jazz and I will both be ok and that’s the important thing. We are ready to put this horrendous ordeal behind us.  I don’t know if I can regain the peace and serenity of my beloved beach, but I shall try. Fred Rogers said in the midst of bad times, to find the good, look for the helpers- they are always there. Thank you Monique, Maggie, Wendy, Lisa and Tom for all you did. There are probably others who came to our aide on the beach of whom I am unaware, but thank you each and every one. Thank you to all my friends and family members who expressed concern and prayed for me and my precious pup Jazz. Thank you to the health professionals, the vet, the police, and the animal control department. Most of all,  thank you Jesus!

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