What do you do when someone you know is suicidal and the response you get from local healthcare is “It’s a small town-we don’t want to get involved if we don’t have to”?
Ok- I KNOW this is controversial. I also know that many will say “It can’t happen here“. Or worse “Why did you interfere?” I am also aware that by sharing my thoughts on this, I may be blackballing myself for life from Hubbs hometown.
No- I will not name places or proper names.
But you know what? If nobody talks about it, nothing changes!
When we moved to the country, I became friends with ‘Joanie’ (henceforth my friend will be “Joanie”) and later business partners for a while. I always knew she was diabetic and had anxiety, but a person who didn’t know her would never have guessed.
A number of years ago Joanie had some of her medications changed. In a matter of weeks she had lost a ton of weight and couldn’t focus on tasks for very long. Even more concerning was her hallucinations- She had begun believing she had just delivered twins and was some very crazy thoughts about her hubby. She even offered to let me babysit!
I figured she would go for a follow up and her Doctor would notice something was off.
Another week goes by and Joanie is giving away things and saying “It won’t matter at the end of the week” and “I don’t need it where I’m going”.
Ding! Ding! Ding! Warning Bells are going off.
I tried talking to her about it, but she quite obviously thought nothing was amiss. Her husband was indifferent to it all- (Theirs wasn’t exactly a stellar relationship)
So I did the next best thing, or so I thought. I called the local clinic. That’s where most of us who live out in the country go for routine bloodwork and stuff. I spoke to the head nurse, who also knew Joanie personally. I told her what I suspected and the response was
“We really don’t want to get involved if we don’t have too. We still have to live here.”
WHAT?????? Was she joking??
Nope- she really meant it. She was uncomfortable getting involved because of it turned out to be a false alarm, she would be very uncomfortable around town. This nurse also asked me if I had tried talking to her husband. Yep.
I explained that she had recently had some medications changed.. I even offered a solution- Couldn’t she call up Joanie and say something like “Gee, we dropped your last vile of blood, can you pop by real quick and let us take some more?” My thoughts were if they could get her in there, they could evaluate her kinda on the sly.
But she did offer to send their secretary down to Joanies work to observe her. To which I (probably snarkily) replied along the lines that plenty of people finish the days work just fine before jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.
I called back that afternoon, and was told that they didn’t have time for this and that she looked fine. In no uncertain terms I let it be known that if something happened to my friend, that I would be shouting it from the roof tops and naming names.
Obviously things were not fine.
The next day Joanie said it would ‘all be done by Friday’ and she was ‘only sorry to be leaving her (make-believe) babies behind’. Only a couple days away.
So I took drastic and probably unethical measures- I telephoned my personal Doctor and asked if I gave a name could she please look up that persons physician and pass the information along. I also shared my futile attempts in a small town to get her help.
Now- I knew full well at the time that there’s is DR/Patient confidentiality… But I was hoping my doctor would try anyway.
And my Doctor did.
Joanie’s doctor made some excuse to get her in… just in a nick of time it seems. It was indeed the change in medications was causing her to lose weight and think irrationally. Joanie ended up in therapy for a bit, but eventually found her way back.
Me? Well- I was immediately taken to task by locals for ‘Sticking my nose where it didn’t belong’ and “Didn’t I know how much TROUBLE the clinic was in now???”
Like I gave a shit. Suicide is rising in rural areas. There is always talk about speaking up if you think someone is suicidal.
Given what happened in this small town, I think there are many that won’t speak up because they have to live here. This has bothered me for years. We need to change that part of Small Town Mentality. “Because we live here” is the perfect reason WHY we should speak up.
Personally I didn’t give a rip what anyone thought. Joanie’s life was more important than me being black listed.
Which I was. For YEARS.
I have been road-tripping since I was old enough to drive, many times criss-crossing the
country in cars that literally had no business being on the road. Of course there were the family trips of the 70’s that we all remember.
I must have learned to travel on a serious budget from my mom. In 1974 my dad gave her 500$ -a princely sum in those days- to go from Sacramento, CA to Maine. 3200 miles with two kids and a grandma in our gas eating Mercury Montego. He told her if there was any money left over, she could stop in Reno on the way back and gamble. – Ohhh yeah! She gambled!
We stayed in Holiday Inns and HoJo’s every night, got waited on three meals a day and saw every tourist attraction between here and there.
Try doing that today!
I collected many a placemat or coaster on our early trips. I think that’s what kept me dreaming about what’s over the next hill or around the next bend. I wish I had kept them all! But I DID remember and file away in the back of my mind, places on them that got my attention and visited them as I got older.
I wish cafe’s still used them. Such an amazing way to promote local tourism between towns and highlight things to buy/see/do.
I do have one travel mat… We had found cases of them in an old cafe we bought in Cope Colorado (yep- I’ve written about adventures in Cope before)
I find that while I enjoyed seeing the sights in the big cities- I still prefer the small communities along the way. The feeling of stepping back in time pulls at me. The people in these towns always have time to chat or answer questions- usually throwing some local lore or introducing me to other locals. And the hidden treasures to be found in the old Rexalls (we once bought a whole box of [outdated] Mercurochrome at one in North Dakota) and variety stores can’t be matched!
This summer will be no different- a new trip through Cali, NV, UT, WY, SD, ND, ID, MT
with my step mom- Not our first road trip together- I enjoy these trips with Grace because I get to add her “I remember these” stories to my memories giving me a different perspective to places I’ve in all probability already been. I also love showcasing parts of the United States she never dreamed existed. That is half the fun!
They make a big deal of ‘multi-generational travel’ these days. It is anew buzz word. But really, most of us of a certain age grew up with it.
So- If you’ve got somewhere you think we should stop… let me know!
Trunk or Treat is really catching on. This is where folks line their cars up, decorate the trunks and the little people walk around on Halloween getting their candy in one place. One street. One part of one street.
Now I’m not against the concept. I see it’s merits is places like San Francisco, New York City and the like, where many folks may live in high rises or such. I can also see how it makes parents feel safer if they live in a ‘bad part of town’. Or the ease of just stopping in the parking lot at your kids school. And very micro towns- this may be a good way for everyone to get together in the evening.
But mostly I see it as the nail on the coffin, so to speak, for neighborhoods.
I just caught a local interview on the news and the young mother said she is glad it is in the school parking lot because she “recognizes other parents and children”. To me that implies that while she recognizes them, she doesn’t know them. It also implies that there is no value to her in knowing the neighbors on any level.
I am old enough to remember when everyone went door to door. Parents visited with each other on sidewalks as we ran up to “trick or treat”- Parents also made it a point to introduce themselves any new or unknown neighbors, as well as inviting them to upcoming neighborhood events and shindigs.
My own kids went house to house. We went back and forth between country and city living- so some years we drove the kids into ‘town’ (we were 3 miles from the nearest neighbor and 16 to town) so they could go with their school chums… all of a hundred folks lived ‘in town’.
Last year I was giving a talk on community involvement in a local small town, right before Halloween. The City Auditor stated she was taking her children the next town over for trunk or treat. Why? Because there were new neighbors on the corner she didn’t know and was afraid to let her kids go up by themselves. So- my first question back was WHY haven’t you already introduced yourself? followed by Why not go up with them??? She chose to take her children 12 miles away to the town with under a hundred people from her own with nearly 500- It kinda baffles me.
Way to go- making your new community member feel unwelcome right out of the gate.
In a rural or small town setting Trunk or Treat also takes away from the joy of the home bound who have prepared for days for little ghosts and goblins and princesses and unicorns to come to their door. Many of the older folks know every family around, whose kids have allergies, whose like nut rolls and whose love candy corn and make individual bags for them. I know Mildred (in her 90s) would have been desolate if the kids hadn’t made an appearance- She’d been known for decades in the neighborhood.
Imagine how you would feel if you went all out, quite possibly hoarding bits of your fixed income so you could have treats for the kiddies, to have no one show up. That would probably be disheartening. And what of the new family? Don’t you think that attitude by your new town would keep person or family from participating in other ‘community’ things during the year?
Trick or Treating is almost a rite of passage. It is tradition. It is neighbors being neighborly. – (And trying to out do each other!)
It is community.
It’s OK to do both- To Trunk or Treat at a location, but try to be neighborly too. You don’t have to cover blocks… but it would be nice to knock on your neighbors door and say “Trick or Treat” or “Welcome to the neighborhood”
It’s no secret- we like bread. Any kind of breads- Sourdough, pumpernickel, garlic-y cheesy breads, bruschetta …. and that all around staple- biscuits.
They go so easily with every meal…
But alas- I live a fair distance to the market. So in this recipe you will learn how to make ‘fake’ or substitute buttermilk and a great cheaters trick so you don’t have to cut in the butter…
Super simple ingredients too!
2 1/2 C flour 2 T baking Powder 1 Tsp sugar 8 T butter (yes son, you can sub margerine) 1 C milk 1 T lemon juice (trust me) 1/2 tsp salt(optional)
mix the milk and lemon juice together and put in the freezer for about 7-10 min… while it’s chilling, melt the butter and let cool. In the meantime mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and make an indent (well) in the center.
Here comes some magic!– Add the butter to the chilled milk and watch it make little butter balls/slush. Pour into dry and stir until just mixed. Turn out and roll or pat –gently-(I prefer pat) to about 1 inch-ish. and fold and pat..repeat like 6 times.
Cut with a cutter or glass. *tip* Do NOT twist the cutter/cup it makes the edges ‘crimp’ and your biscuits won’t rise well.
Bake at 425 10 min -they’ll be golden on top- take out and brush with some melted butter.
Gobble up. Eat with jam, make biscuits and gravy, dunk in gravy, make sandwiches…..
*Tips for the boy-o-s
Need buttermilk in a jiff??? 1 Tablespoon ( a generous soup spoon will do) lemon juice per cup of milk. Let stand 5 min and use.
No rolling pin? No problem- beer/wine bottles, be creative, just keep an equal pressure when rolling.
Yes- you can sub Margarine in most of moms recipes, though it alters the taste and these biscuits won’t be quite as fluffy.
Yes- I should have done this sooner. Better late than never~
This is a rebuttal to the editorial in the Washburn Leader-News newspaper in July. ( I said it was overdue!) and gives random thoughts section by section.
(the True to Washburn editorial is at the bottom of this post in its entirety. )
“True to Washburn” – Not so much
As with any community the world over, they begin and then they change. Whether that change is good, bad or otherwise, there is an ebb and flow to every community. They evolve over time. New people and new businesses take the place of those that left or closed. Attitudes, economics and options dictate that change.
To say that Washburn could become “a mere memory” is is mis-statement. If that were truly the case, then Washburn is already a mere memory of what it was.
“Opportunities, community and safety- these are some of the reasons make a home in Washburn….” So are progressiveness and growth. Without these the others don’t exist.
“WE came here…” We who exactly? My guess would be that a door to door survey would reveal that nearly half or more have moved to Washburn for proximity to employment.
“Where is our money best spent and our priorities located?“…So say the very folks that shop in other larger towns. There is no law that says any of us owes a living to any shop owner anywhere. That is freedom of choice. The same as the shop owner is free to choose whether to be pleasant or rude, open or closed. While I agree that ‘shopping local’ means those businesses will be there for the long haul, it is perfectly OK to spend money ‘in town’ as well. Besides- if a shopkeeper is going be rude, we’d just as soon go to town and be treated rudely anonymously and have more selection while it’s happening!
(And I quote a young employee from the grocery store in Washburn… “If you’re going to shop here, you should expect to lower your expectations” )
“Not competition from a nation wide chain” …. Then why has Family Dollar been accepted so readily? The upshot is that competition is healthy, drives customer services, innovation, better products and more people stopping in town. If a national chain is what it takes to drive the 50,000+/- tourists to Washburn yearly downtown, then so be it.
“…additions to the community must be done thoughtfully and over time.” It would seem the time is now.
“A sense of belonging-” That IS a powerful reason to stay. But to achieve that, then don’t you think on the whole the ‘locals’ should treat newcomers like neighbors? Belonging can be a powerful word. Act like it.
“We can promote what we have”…We can clean and freshen…” It’s been years since there was a serious effort in these departments. Thankfully there is some new leadership that is working hard at making a difference for ALL and not just some.
“We want to nurture that environment, not snuff it out.” Enhance it, is more like it. And again.. we who exactly?
…”Becoming a different version of Bismarck or Garrison” No matter how hard anyone tries, or what new people or businesses come into Washburn, it will always be Washburn.
“Let’s think carefully as we add new things, as not to push out the old” Again- ENHANCE…. Nobody is ‘pushing out the old’…
“Locals are resistant to change.” TRUE. But remember- Always in NOT Forever! It’s a given, change is hard to accept. All things change. Once upon a time we shopped our towns exclusively. Now we are an extremely mobile society. Running to Bismarck or Minot or anywhere else is a breeze. That is change. New stores open. That is change. Are you going to begrudge AgPro because they are new? (that would just be plain silly!) Would you refrain from driving over the bridge because it replaced the ferry? (That would be plain silly too!) That is change. The way we eat has changed. Many folks want a really quick, or a really fresh choice- without getting out of the car and without having to fix it themselves. That is change.
Mostly though, it would seem the most resistance to change involves the human element.
Leader News Editorial-
Opportunities, community, safety-these are some of the reasons people come from out of the city and decide to make a home in Washburn. We moved here because we would know our neighbors, our teachers, our business owners. We came because we weren’t just one in hundreds of thousands here, but someone who could make a big a difference. We moved here, not because of a single feature, building or business, but because we fell in love with what the community represented. And as plans are drawn up and ideas pour out, we can only hope we don’t see the city we chose become a mere memory. Let’s grow, but let’s not lose touch with our roots. So, as we think of what we can add, let’s remember what we need. Where is our money best spent and our priorities located?Maybe we need new signs and benches around town, and maybe our residents need help paying off special assessments that shook most the city. Some would enjoy more fast food options in the city, but maybe we can bridge the gap by supporting and growing our already established local eateries. Our local businesses need employees to fill shifts and involvement from the community, not competition from a nation wide chain. Maybe new attractions would give residents more places to go, but additions to the community must be done thoughtfully and over time. Maybe we need to push less to have more, and push more to improve what we already have. Because there is a reason so many decide to make this place their home, and that sense of belonging is not something to overlook. This city has brought people from around the state, around the country, around the world. It is strong, independent and booming with history. And while we only hope to bring more neighbors to the city, we also know no city is the right fit for every person. Itis a place that people choose because of exactly what it is. Washburn, like any other city, has room to improve. We can fill gaps that leave residents wanting more or visitors quickly passing through. We can promote our recreation and try new things at attractions we already have. We can clean and freshen up our community, without losing a sense of what makes it special. Because Washburn brings people who fall in love with the feeling of it, we want to nurture that environment, not snuff it out. As we push for new features, and new marketing to promote them, we hope the focus doesn’t lay so heavily on becoming just another version of Bismarck , Garrison or another city Washburn should never become. There is a saying around town that many of the locals are resistant to change, which is probably true. Because who would want to risk seeing a city they love change into something else? Maybe instead, we should strive to simply improve, to grow,to flourish. Let’s embrace what sets this city apart, and keep that message in the forefront of our minds. Let’s think carefully as we add new things, as to not push out the old. Let’s strive for better without losing sight of who we are. One hundred and thirty five years ago, this city was founded. And since then, generations have made a life here, because the city felt like home. Let’s not make the mistake of forgetting what a beautiful home it is. -The Leader News editorial board consists of Alyssa Meier, Don Winter and Hayley Anderson
We went to a good Eye-Tali-an-o wedding last week down in Denver.
All the players were there… “The Don” ,”Cha-Cha” the wise guys and all the rest. Polyester in abundance right along with chest hair and chains, big hair and high heels.
But what stood out the most, was The Don’s mother-in-law…. In her sensible shoes.
I was immediately reminded of all the old ladies that used to sit on their stoops and watch kids play in the street. She reminded me of MY grandmother. Never without her sensible shoes. And all the times she chatted with ‘The Ladies” – Comparing olive oils and pedigrees, transgressions and recipes, children and husbands and so on. All dressed alike- all in sensible shoes.
She reminded me of all the ladies riding the bus to the market in San Francisco- shopping bags tucked neatly into handbags or under their arms, housedresses and sensible shoes for walking. She reminded me of garlic and gravy (that’s-a what we call spago sauce) and crusty bread and cannoli.
She reminded me of when we lived in North Carolina and went to a Columbus Day Celebration in downtown Fayetteville.
There standing all her glory on street corner was an elderly Italian lady in her green (the EXACT same shade as the flag!) housedress, matching handbag and jaunty little hat proudly holding a full size Italian Flag waving gently in the wind. In her sensible shoes….
A toast to The Don’s mother-in-law!
I miss my Grammy and was happy for the memories
Once upon a time in a far off land….There was a beautiful Queen and a little Prince and Princess.
It was Thanksgiving in Sacramento in about 1972…. At school all the classes were talking about Thanksgiving and what it means and what all our families were doing and practicing being Pilgrims and Indians.
The teacher instructed the class to find out what they were having for Thanksgiving dinner and share with the class the next day.
The little Prince pestered, and pestered the poor Queen until she finally snapped.
Prince: Ma! Ma! What are we having for Thanksgiving??? Huh? Huh?
Queen: I don’t know yet…..
Prince: Well?? Huh? Huh? Ma! Mommy! I NEEEEEEEEED to know RIGHT NOW!!!
Queen: Damnit son, we’re having Hotdogs. Okay?? Hotdogs.. Got it????
Prince: What? Wow! Really??? I loooooooove hotdogs! Cooooooool!
The little prince went back to school the next day and each child told what their family was having. Some were having Italian, some were having roasts, but most were having turkey and all the trimmings. When the little prince was asked what they were having, he cheerfully said Hotdogs!
Apparently that wasn’t an acceptable answer.
On thanksgiving when the Queen and her King and the little Prince and Princess were sitting down to dinner, the doorbell rang.
The Queen was taken aback when she beheld several of the teachers from the school holding out a turkey and all the trimmings for the poor little Princes family that were only to have hotdogs!
…….. Now- anyone who knows our family KNOWS my mom would rather the ground open up and swallowed her whole instead of being embarrassed. EVER.
Imagine the teachers surprise when they beheld us all eating a turkey dinner! They were sputtering that my brother said all we had was hotdogs and my mom was about to round on my brother….
Lesson: Watch what you tell your kiddo-s. It WILL come back to haunt you!
I don’t know what me think of it today…
A few years ago, I had run down to Colorado to see my son, The Marine, who was on leave visiting his grandma. He said “I’ll meet you at the airport, Mom before we each fly out.
He is NOT a morning person. At all.
I was already through security and on the other side waiting….and waiting…and waiting some more.
I finally just got on the train went to my gate. ..He had told me he was on the same airline. Turns out NOT! But I didn’t know that yet. He calls me from the other side of security…
He had JUST arrived!… (kids… sigh)
Holy S*** MOM!!! What do I doooooooo?? I HAVE to get on that plane!
Good Mama that I am, I immediately find the nearest gate girl, explain that the kidd-o is still in security and his flight is going to leave. SOON. Gate girl is awesome. She calls downstairs, get him a cart to grab him and his gear and bring him directly to the terminal… So I call him back and ask Where is he so they can fetch… Hahahahaha… He’s on another carrier!!!
The fabulous gate girl, still made a few calls and got him through security lickity quick. After that he was on his own.
Me??? I was sulking because I knew I would not be seeing The Marine before I left. The two areas of DIA are literally a mile apart.
My plane is starting to board. And suddenly you hear “Hey Damnit” and then “Look out!!!”
and…… Mooooooooommmmmmmmmm!!!! I’m coming!!!!!! WAAIIITTTTTTT!!!!
And lo and behold, here comes my son, in full gear… Duffle on back, bags in hand… doing THE OJ …. leaping over chairs and small kids in a single bound. ( he may have elbowed one two people out of the way too)
My son, The Marine, had RUN the entire length of DIA just to see his Mama off and take a quick picture before SPRINTING all the way back to grab his plane.
I love that kid!