Author Archives: Little Slightly

Little Slightly when she was little with her Great Grandma Mary

Little Slightly writes:

As I sauntered leisurely out of the house, my little sister in my arms, I whispered:

“I love you
a bushel and a peck
and a hug around the neck.”

She chuckled blissfully as I strapped her into her car seat. I looked back. No horses. Bummed, I turned back to the car and buckled myself in. Off to the nursing home we went. It’s not a long drive, but with two adults, three little kids and myself, it’s not wise to take the chance.

We arrived at the home just before noon. Everything was white. The sky. People. Buildings. Even the air had drawn a blank. As we arrived at Monmouth Nursing Home, I noticed something I hadn’t thought of in years: Where were the peppermints? They were always on the table waiting for me whenever I came. This strange phenomenon, I used to assume, was for me. The first spark of the fire that always seemed to hone my day. Gone.

On my first step in, I searched for his door. One. Two. Three. There it was. Six years since I had been in that room to see him.

Six years since he’d died.

Remembering him is confusing. Should I be happy? Mom says it’s better this way. When I was three he broke his leg. Since he worked on a farm, going back was out of the question. At least now he’s no longer in pain. Should I be sad? We were close. He always made me laugh, though the last time I saw him I don’t remember well.

I was only six then. Great grandma and I first wandered toward the horses at the end of the road- a businessman who dwelled nearby owned a small handful of horses in a pasture that surrounded two sides of the complex of condos. They loved sugarcubes.

After we fed and pet the lovely creatures, we began our brief journey toward Grandaddy. The moment I walked in, there they were! I grabbed a bite-sized treat as we lurched through the door. I stumbled through the door wearing a bright new blue bug dress my Great Aunt Alberta had made for me.

After that, my memory fades abruptly; as though the tape playing my memory has burned. But I remember the look on my Great grandmother’s face: the joy she had spending time with me and the excitement to see her husband.

For now, the six of us wandered through the building, this time for my Great Grandma. The beige walls were poking us from all sides. I could feel what seemed like thousands of eyes on me from elderly strangers relaxing throughout the halls. We stopped firmly while passing my Great-great Aunt’s room where Great Grandma had been softly chatting with her younger sister.

“You can’t get visitors when you’re not in your room, Grandma,” my mother exclaimed. “Ohh. Why hello there. Why don’t we go ahead to the brown room.”

As we retreated back toward the entrance, she indicated: “You know when your Grandpa was here it was called the blue room. It was a lot brighter then. His favorite room in the building.”

When we walked in, I noticed a wise looking old woman with a puzzle in the back. My youngest brother merrily approached her and asked her for her name – something that’s still entirely normal for him. At that point, I shifted my attention back to my Great Grandmother. She explained how the woman was 100-years-old. Great Grandma was 90.

Grandaddy would have been 98.

“You know, when your Grandpa died, I got you a book called When Someone Dies.” Her soft voice soothed me.

“I remember.”

“With your Aunt you may need it soon.” Her daughter. My Great Aunt. Her long running battle with cancer would soon come to an end. But she did give it one hell of a fight.

Before we left for home, Great Grandma and I recited what we always did:

Great grandma: ‘I love you a bushel and a peck’
Me: ‘and a hug around the neck.’

I left the nursing home the same way I went in: disappointed yet hopeful… and wishing for peppermint.

In loving memory to Mary Lincoln who never stopped caring for anyone (1924-2016).

Pic via Little Slightly

General Mitchell International Airport, Milwaukee, USA

Little Slightly writes:

As you may know, I recently traveled from the states to Ireland for an extended stay. I found the trip rather annoying but I got here nonetheless and only 24 hours later than planned.

I left with my fiance and his dad about three hours before I needed to leave, keeping in mind Mitchell airport  in Milwaukee is only a few minutes down the road. We decided to get Wendy’s on the way since we had a bit of extra time and I wouldn’t have it again for five or so months. I scarfed down my food, made sure everything was in order, and said goodbye to my fiance (who would like to be known as Floppy). I even made sure to get a picture of him before I left, but he didn’t want me to show it here.

[Side note: we decided he shouldn’t go in with me since we knew he probably wasn’t going to let me go. At least this way I had a car door to help me.]

I headed into the airport with Floppy’s dad, who will henceforth be dubbed Discordant Cat, and headed to check in. We tried the whole digital thingy, but it wasn’t having it, so we asked one of the airport ladies to help. She then proceeded to ask me about my Covid test results. I had gotten a 24 hour test done the morning prior, but was informed just after that it may take up to 48 hours, which I figured was fine because everything I read said I just needed it before I landed in Ireland.

It wasn’t fine.

Ms. Lady also didn’t think my vaccination card would hold any validity in this situation and any rapid tests offered there were closed for the evening. So I had to get on the phone and try to track down my test results from a pharmacy with a robotic system. After a good long while, I finally got through to a human only to be told my results were now supposed to be issued within ten days. Just slightly over the original 24 hours I had signed up for.

At this point, Discordant Cat was trying to convince me to try to reschedule and get a rapid test early the next morning, but I wasn’t having it. I went over all the rules I could find from the various emails I had received, until finally I found what I was looking for. I either needed a negative test OR be FULLY VACCINATED. The test wasn’t mandatory in the first place, which I had thought but wanted to be safe.

I only had a little bit of time left before my flight, so we ran back up to Ms. Lady. She heard us out, but said it didn’t matter at this point anyway. The flight had just been cancelled due to poor flying conditions. I turned to Discordant Cat and we decided the best course of action would probably be to book it to Chicago in time for the flight to Dublin. Just as we were figuring this out, Ms. Lady asked if we had room for one more. We looked over to see a man not much older than me who was also supposed to be on that flight.

So we were all set to run off to Chicago with a stranger… but I still had a fiance in the front seat.

No issue. We took the extra few minutes to drop Floppy off at the house. (He looked pretty much like a lost puppy at this point). It was easy going after this. Nice conversation with the man. Got through customs in O’Hare, even got on the plane… on the plane… still on the plane… light is out… they’ve called maintenance… still on plane…

We got kicked off the plane. No problem: they gave us some free food vouchers and a place to stay for the night. Except I never got the email with the details. I ended up walking around for over an hour and a half tracking someone down to help me, calling my dad to let him know of the delayed arrival, calling my mom to figure out how to deal with the situation, and what felt like a billion other small tasks.

It was nearly midnight before I finally found someone that could help. At first, he was a little confused because I should have gotten the information already… until we found out they spelt my name wrong. I was too tired to even ask how they could spell something wrong that could easily have been copied and pasted.

It wasn’t long after that I finally got a shower and to bed. The next day’s flight was scheduled at the same time and went much more smoothly and I ended up spending a large amount of time reading and wandering. I didn’t register too much after that or for the next several days after my arrival. It was all surrounded by a sleepy fog and the relief that I was out of an airport for now.

A month and a half later Floppy and Discordant Cat have arrived themselves. I haven’t gotten the chance to prod them about their trip yet, but I’ll have time. Meanwhile, enjoy the fact that after I requested a refund for that first flight to Chicago, they gave me a whole $8.50 refund! Aren’t they so generous :)

Little Slightly is the daughter of Slightly Bemused, whose column appears here every Wednesday.

Pic via Mitchell Airport