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Location: DownByTheRiver, Central Iowa, United States

Husband of the world's most wonderful wife, father of the world's four most brilliant children, grandfather to the world's eight most beautiful granddaughters and two handsomest grandsons

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Return Begins

The River Rat Ranger returned to the woods today after working all night at the hospital in the Big City. The sun was shining and the temperature predicted to be in the high 50's F. But first things first. The oil and filter needed a long overdue change in the Green Hornet. Then Sam, the outside dog needed fed. My pallet on the floor in front of the fireplace kept calling me and at last I was there. Readers, this is what it is like to work the night shift... you are asleep when the rest of the world wants you to be awake. I had just fallen asleep when the phone rang. I hid my head under a pillow and let the answering machine take it. But it was about an important religious study class coming up so I struggled to my feet and picked it up. Then I began taking notes on the conversation and was wide awake when it was over. Then back to the floor and stared at the ceiling fan whirling over my head and slowly fell back asleep. And the phone rang. A friend in need. We talked for 25 minutes, enough to fully wake me up. I called Mrs. RRR at work. She promised to be home soon.

I watched the fan whirl... and fell asleep to awaken 45 minutes later when she came in the door. Then lunch. Reuben sandwiches with Mrs. RRR's best-in-the-world home made bread, swiss cheese and Argentine corned beef. My consistent cup of frozen mixed fruit. We had devotions. Those of my readers with the Oswald Chamber's My Utmost for His Highest should look at the Feb. 27th reading. Awesome, tough-minded Christianity. Then I laid back in my recliner with the heating pad draped over my liver to do my hour of healing meditation. And fell asleep. To awaken when the heating pad shut off automatically. Mrs. RRR headed back to work and the bed was calling, but there was another call too. Nature awaited. The unseasonably warm day awaited. But the bed was winning, till I checked my two hour post meal blood sugar. Way too high at 154. The obvious answer was to utilize the poor man's insulin... a long walk. Bay Toe Ven, the Inside Dog, became excited as I put on my socks and shoes, and ecstatic as I took my walking stick from the corner.

We went out into the sunshine and walked across the field to the woods. I followed a game trail as the dogs scampered side to side and up and down. We paused in a clearing when the shadow of a Bald Eagle swooped over us. I watched him ride the thermals, circling higher and higher. A squirrel cursed us from a tree branch. We left the woods and a Red Tailed Hawk screeched defiance and circled us too, but after carefully waiting till the Eagle was gone. We trudged through the silty dirt toward the river. The first tiny bunches of green have popped up here and there in the field. At the river, the Hawk, who had followed us, once again drifted over head telling us how tough and bad he was. We hiked along the river, then back through another stand of timber, along a stream and I picked up the accumulated mail from the mailbox by the road. Then down the lane, across my homemade bridge and The Returning was waiting in the top of the walnut tree. Five birds huddled on branches, watching me. They were dark, almost black and at first I thought they were starlings, but as I walked under them, they broke into to song. Red Winged Blackbirds. They warbled, "We're back! Spring is coming! We're back! Did you miss us? We're back!" Yes friends... I missed you. Welcome home. I took my pulse. It was slow and steady. Yes friends, I missed you, but most of all I'm glad to still be here to be greeted. The RRR has cheated the Grim Reaper one more time. God is in His Heaven. All is good. Even the blood sugar... 96 after the one hour walk.


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