Friday, July 21, 2017

The Swamp

162
raccoon walks slick log,
coyotes howl as sun sets low,
the swamp comes alive.

163
hill drops to water's
edge where lily pads grow and 
fish turn the water.

164
dark pool surrounded 
by bluffs, towering trees,
birds sing and coons walk.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Joy in the Morning

If you read my last post, you may have thought I needed a trip to the psych ward. Honestly, I was feeling like I did. But if you read carefully and noticed the tenses, you may have been aware that my dark night of the soul was already beginning to pass by the time I penned that essay.

During my ordeal, a couple of songs by Sawyer Brown crossed my mind. I googled then, found them on YouTube, and listened to them with tears. Some of the wording describes with shocking accuracy what I was enduring:

      Like clown I put on a show
      The pain is real even if nobody knows
      And I'm crying inside and nobody knows it but me

Tuesday morning I dragged out of bed and met John at Twin Rivers Recreation Center. I wasn't sure I could swim at all, but I was willing to give it a go because I could push down with the palm of my hand and feel no pain in the shoulder. I didn't do much, but I did swim for the first time in over three weeks. The total was a mere 500 meters of swimming and 500 of kicking. But I was in the water, I was happy, and hope had returned. "Hoped deferred," the Bible says, "maketh the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life" (Proverbs 13:2, KJV).

The shoulder was only mildly uncomfortable on the recovery phase and only then for a few strokes. Nevertheless, I didn't not, would not, pull the water hard. It was like my brain had a governor on my arms. Slow, easy, 50 meters at a time. But it was wet and wonderful. Now I feel like I really am on the way back. The biceps tendons in the shoulder are still sore and the backside of the joint is still tight and sore when I move in certain ways. But I could pull without any negative sensation.

Not only did I swim Tuesday, but Wednesday morning I awoke to a "Bing" from my cell phone. It was MJ Staples. Her message: "Woo hoo!! It's official!" I didn't have to ask what she was referring to but immediately went to the Marathon Swimmers Federation website http://marathonswimmers.org/ to see under their news section that the latest documented swim was Chicot Challenge VI. That was a real kick in the pants. 

Now I am drinking coffee after a good night's sleep. Jeff is beside me, snoring. CC. is on the edge of the bed, sleeping like only a cat can. Life is good. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Psalm 30:5).

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Not for Sissies

I heard that "getting old ain't for sissies." Certainly it ain't for people who can't adjust to change, the kind of change they don't like. Lately I've endured a few of those. They didn't match me so I felt they were out of style the moment they arrived. 

If I had to describe myself in one word, I would say "goal-oriented." Yeah, that's two words but only one term. Over the years, my goals have been hunting related, athletic, fishing related, athletic, educational, athletic, ecclesiastical, athletic, intellectual, and athletic. Did I mention athletic? Athletic has included cycling, running, swimming, weightlifting, and hiking. Over the last few years, those pursuits have centered primarily on swimming with running and weightlifting morphing into crosstraining for my passion of moving through water sometimes a full day at a time.

Of late, however, my pursuit of goals has ground to a depressing halt due to injuries of the knee and shoulder and have effectively stopping my running, swimming, and weightlifting. To say this has been difficult for me is like saying July in Mississippi tends to be a little on the warm side. Whine alert: if you don't want to hear me complain for paragraphs on end, stop reading now. You have been warned. 

I was only a teenager when I heard my grandmother tell my parents that the doctor told her, "Y'all can't take everything from me." The discussion had been about her driving. At the time, I laughed out loud because I knew her doctor said no such thing. What I realized only later was the struggle she was undergoing, the struggle of losing her independence. Yeah, getting old ain't for sissies, it ain't even for semi-sissies. She was faced with new limitations, and I saw first hand-- although only a mere glimpse-- how disturbing this change was to her. 

I saw it with my dad also. He remained incredibly active all his life. Into his 70s, he was the most active person I ever knew. He ran, played tennis, hunted, fished, worked on his place in Carroll County, and gardened. At the age of 81, he had to stop running due to arthritis in his right foot. One of my goals, consequently, was to run until I was at least 82. His tennis partners died off. Head mobility issues eventually ended his fishing trips to Louisiana. He was 82, I think, when he ceased his week-long fishing trips to the place he enjoyed most in life. Slowly, the world closed in on him. Trips to "the place" as he called his 176 acres in the hills, became half-day affairs instead of whole-day ones. His fishing radius narrowed and narrowed until it was confined to his pond in the country. A bad fall in a little boat ended even that.

Towards the end he struggled mightily with the limitations age brought him. He didn't just take it, however; he fought back and resisted age to the very end. I admired him for that. Literally, he died with his running shoes on, having been out for a walk the day he dropped dead. It was a shocking way for us to lose him, but one fitting for the way he lived life.

My reduction in activity along with the uncertainty of my future goals has led me into a valley of despair. I guess that's what did it. Actually, I don't know why I have had to face the dark alley I have been trapped in over the last couple of weeks. Ordinarily, I am not one much prone to getting down emotionally. However of late, I have battled the blues like never before. I am not seeking sympathy by writing this. I am seeking understanding. And as I prayed one morning for that very thing asking God, What is wrong with me? the Lord spoke to my heart. "This is what your dad was going through," He whispered to my soul.

I understand him, my dad, better now. I understand more the struggles he had as life changed for him. But that advancement of insight with my dad has not brought the same clarity for my own condition. Why am I going through this? 

The week of 7/10 - 7/16 was the nadir of my internal struggles. I felt like I was paralyzed. I had no energy, no drive, no focus. Some mornings it was difficult just getting out of the bed. I know there are people who face these struggles often. But I never have and that is one reason it was/is so shocking so frightening to me. Is this the way it is going to be from now on? I am only 61. If I feel this way now, what will 81 bring?

Interwoven in all of this was guilt, a guilt stemming from my faith. I felt almost as if God was asking me if He was enough. If everything else is gone, is God enough? I know what the correct answer to that question is. But major loss always brings with it a confusion of equilibrium. 

If I read the Bible correctly, God didn't create Adam and Eve to exist. They had work. Adam had a divinely appointed job:

     And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to            dress it and to keep it. (Genesis 2:15, KJV)

When Moses reached the end of his journey, his work, did God send him away into the wilderness to exist? No, God took him home. When Elijah finished his work, God took him. When Jesus finished his work on earth, he likewise went home.

Much remains for me. I pastor a church; I have a wife; I work a job; my grandchildren love me as do our cats. I am not confined to bed or a wheel chair. I have basic health. But I terribly miss my athletics. Long ago they replaced hunting and fishing and became much more than a path to health and fitness. They became my hobbies, the source of goals, ministry even. The Chicot Challenge is more than a goal, more than a swim, more than a good deed. I view it as ministry as does the Centerville Baptist Church. In light of all this, it makes me feel bad to feel bad. There is a word for that. It's called being conflicted. My affliction and confliction has shown me that I am ill suited to being ill.

Will my body mend? If so when, and will it ever again be able to endure sixteen straight hours of swimming? Have I been weighed in the balance by God and found wanting? I don't know the answer to these questions. A trite pat on the back and a "It will be OK," is a 'physician of little value.' I don't want your pity. I do, however, welcome your prayers.

Praise be to God who giveth me the ability to whine. (Hodge 4:7)

Monday, July 17, 2017

7/10 - 7/16

It's a little painful to make these posts now, but it is getting a bit better. Just a bit.

The long and short of it is I have started walking more, and last week I added some bike trainer work. Not much but I started. I also began rehabbing my right shoulder. Still, I am like a yo-yo on the shoulder. One day I think it is going to be alright and the next day I am convinced it is not, that I need to seek medical treatment, that I have torn my corater tuff.

Tuesday I did some work designed to slowly begin strengthening the shoulder and bicep. I did a single set of one-arm bench presses (10 X 8). There was no pain, but there was a little tightness at the bottom, so I limited the range of motion. After the bench presses, I did a set of lateral raises with 2 pounds. I have been doing some 1 pound lat raises inside where I have a badly worn pair of 1 and 1/4 pound plates that I call 1 pounders. I stepped it up to a badly worn 2 and 1/2. I kept the range of motion slight not because of discomfort but because of fear. My mind just would not let my arm go up very high. 

Besides the bench press and lateral raise, I did one set of curls at 2 pounds. Of course I wanted to do more but better sorry than safe. Despite the nursing home poundage, I found the whole affair highly encouraging, and my mood soared as a result. But the shoulder was more gimpy the next day so it was Thursday before I did any more strengthening work when I did about the same thing but no bench presses. Friday the shoulder felt better. Cha ching!

Tuesday, besides the shoulder work, I walked 3.6 miles and did 21:00 on the bike trainer. Wednesday, I worked in the yard and walked 3.67 miles. Thursday I did the shoulder work and piddled in the yard for .8 of a mile. Friday I took another walk of 3.57 miles and Saturday I walked 1.41 after doing 30:00 on the bike trainer. So, I am doing a little and the shoulder is improving very slowly. What else can I do? Thanks be to God who gives hope to mankind.

Friday, July 14, 2017

James Again

He was on my mind as he had been from time to time over the past several years. I had not seen him in more than half a decade. From 2009 through 2010 I went on a bicycle riding rampage, and I rode by his place of business over and over. I always stopped, bought a pop and a Snickers. We chatted. 

I didn't know if he would remember me. I didn't even know if he remained alive. Did he still operate the store out of his house? Had he remarried? Did he have a dog? If he did remember me, would he give two cents of a care?

He always seemed to like me, but I doubted he even knew my name. He never called me Zane, not once. But I had the time, the truck, and the nastolgia so I pointed the front of my Nissan Frontier north and headed out Money Road. 

Where Money Road ends at Highway 8, I turned east and motored to Highway 35 before heading north again to Cascilla Road. Cascilla Road leads into the hills and a few miles on it brought me to that familiar, old country blue Jim Walter home that was Grammar's Old School Store as well as James Grammar's home when I was spending whole days bicycling Tallahatchie County. 

I turned in and noticed someone sitting on the edge of the porch. By the time I put my truck in park, I knew it was James. He gave me a blank stare at first but then a gentle smile broke across his face. That answered two of my questions.

We shook hands, and I felt my face smile big as I watched his do the same. I sat beside him on the porch where the steps are. We chatted and more of my questions got answered. He no longer runs his store. "Tired of it," was his reason. It never was much of a store. Mostly he sold beer to people who parked on his lawn on weekend nights. He walked from truck to truck delivering cold ones and collecting money. But he became weary of it. He tired of the fights, tired of the hassle, tired of providing a place for people to do drugs. "I would pick up hand fulls of syringes after a Saturday night. I never felt good about that."
Me 'n James chillin' on a hot day.


So he closed his "store" and now works a regular job. "Night shift. I like the job, but hate the night shift. I can't sleep in the day time. I come home and sleep a couple of hours and then I'm up." Big white blobs of clouds dotted the blue sky and jaybirds squawked in the background as we sweated and sat beside each other. Sometimes we went minutes without saying words.

I asked him how the churches around Cascilla were doing. "Heck if I know," he shot back at me before taking a long pull on his big beer. One reason I asked was he used to help his ex-wife clean the Nazarene Church just up the road. And as little as I know about Cascilla, I am actually acquainted with a couple of current pastors in the area and one former preacher. He mentioned Mark Moore, who serves at the Stonefield Church of God two miles west of downtown Cascilla. "A lot of people like him and go up there." I brought up Jerry Hill who pastors North Shady Grove a mile or two north. "I grew up with Jerry." Oddly, he didn't know Robby Rykard who once pastored Cascilla Baptist. "Nobody stays over there more 'n a few months," he told me.

When I asked what was new in the town, he got real talkative, said there's a new night club that opened and hosts bands and stuff such as that. "Is that where your former clientele went?"

"Naw. You have to pay to get in. I don't know where my folks went." A breeze blew across our backs and James noted how good it felt. I asked about the kudzu growing on the trees bordering his pasture. "Don't know what to do about that." I asked him about the horse by the kudzu by in the pasture behind his house. "My daughter-in-law's."

When I asked about a piece of a store that used to be in an ancient building downtown, I learned some stuff. "Closed. He never had much in there. Mostly it was a front for him to bootleg."

"Bootleg? You mean moonshine?"

"Yeah."

"They still do that around here?"

"Yeah."

"As many people hunt and go into the woods, how can you get away with such as that?"

"They put their stills in barns and sheds. Naw, you couldn't put one in the woods. The helicopters would see it if the hunters didn't. They fly over here all the time looking for marijuana. When they first started flying around out here looking for weed, it was right after I bought this property and there was nothing here. They landing the copter right there," he said pointed a few feet away. "Then they brought in big trucks and for weeks they hauled out marijuana. Weeks. There was weed in every gully in the county. All the stores around here was doin' good. Then one day, one of the store owners was dog cussing the drug folks for 'ruining the economy.'" James laughed out loud.

"Now it's drugs. Drugs is everywhere. At work, we hire and fire constantly. The company tries to give 'em a chance, but if they have to go to jail, they're fired."

I looked at my watch. "I guess I better go. My wife will be home by the time I get back." We shook hands.

"Things sure have changed," he said standing up and watching me walk to my truck. "I miss some of the people who did business with me. They was a$$h0#e$, but I liked 'em anyway." I opened the truck door. "Think I'll go see one of those guys. He never gets out much anymore. Think I'll go see him."

"Do that," I said while I shut the door and cranked the truck. James was looking my way when I pulled out onto Cascilla Road and drove away.

James

[I thought I posted this a few years back, but either I did not or the search feature on Blogger is not very good. I know the latter is true, but even though you may have seen this before, I offer it here to give some backstory to the following piece, "James Grammar Again."] 


To me he always has the appearance of someone who’s been chasing a cow. If you meet him, I think you’ll see what I mean. Physically he is quite ordinary, maybe 5’8’’ and 160 pounds. Probably he’s in his late forties and I’d say once he was a decent looking fellow. But every time I look at James Grammar, I see a man with the fatigue and frustration of running after cows and stepping in their crap.

I like him. He doesn’t talk much nor does he offer a lot of information unsolicited. Since I don’t ask many questions, we really don’t know one another very well. He is like the road maps I study before making my long Friday rides. I see the signs, the lines, the scars on the page, but until I actually pedal my bicycle there, they remain a mystery.

If he has siblings or living parents, I don’t know. Neither do I know if he ever had grand plans or accomplished heroic feats. If he ever made good grades in school, played sports, played in the band, or killed animals, I have no clue. If he’s traveled to exotic places, loved beautiful women, or fought with rugged men, I know not.

I do know he once had a wife, a job, good knees. Now he runs a store at Cascilla, Mississippi in a decaying country blue Jim Walter home on the outskirts of town. Inside the store, a few beer coolers decorate the living room. A counter, a cash register, and a few shelves of candy, sardines, and potted meat make up his business. James lives in the rest of the house, and once when I used the bathroom there, I placed my left hand firmly on the windowsill and my right one on the lavatory for fear of falling through the floor. Dust and dead insects covered the bottom of the bathtub.

It was the summer of 2009 when I first rode into Cascilla. Generally I have a prejudice against riding past stores since often I am hungry, lost, and dehydrated when I find them. I was hungry, lost, and dehydrated the day I unclipped and pushed my Trek up the gravel drive and leaned it against his front porch.

I met his dog, a mutt named Jim Brown after the man who dumped him on the road in front of the store. Inside I bought and ate sardines, drank a Coke, and cooled off. He didn’t seem to mind me licking my fingers, smacking, and burping. His dark skin and eyes reminded me of a cousin of mine. His shoulder length dark hair reminded me of no one in particular. He smoked constantly while we chatted mostly about nothing I can remember.

I do remember once he warned me of the dangers of riding a bicycle in Tallahatchie County. Those dangers have never materialized, and for two full years “the Free State of Tallahatchie” has been my playground. Every time I think I’ve ridden all the roads, I find a new one, or I want to revisit and old one or see James again or eat a greasy Philly Cheese Steak at the store in Tillatoba.

He opens at 2:30 in the afternoon which means sometimes I miss him. At his place I am forty-one miles from home, and often I get there with eighty or more miles on my legs. If he’s not open, I feel comfortable enough to take a nap on the old church pew that adorns his front porch. Sometimes Jim Brown, after first ferociously barking at me, curls up on the floor below me. He’s a good napper, Jim Brown, and sometimes James will wake us both when he drives up and begins unloading cases of beer from the back of his pickup. If he does wake us, I’ll buy a Snickers Bar from him before beginning the next leg of my journey home. If he doesn’t break our nap before I need to leave to get home when my wife says, I’ll say goodbye to Jim Brown and ride away regretting my lack of chocolate.

I never remember him calling me by name, but he offered me a free Coke the day I got too hot and was confused, trying to count out the change to buy one. The same man, whom I once saw throw out two drunks when one had the temerity to ask for a small loan, also gave me a shirt the day I got rained on and chilled.

The first time I pedaled to his place in 2010, I saw a blond haired person unloading beer and I thought, James has a girlfriend. But when I got closer, I noticed the hair was not blond but white and the person was not a woman but a man. Over the winter, his hair had changed, his dog had died, and once more he looked like a man who had been chasing a cow.

His front yard fills with pickup trucks on Friday and Saturday nights, I am told. Most of his costumers never open their doors except to pee on the lawn. James collects their money and delivers the beer while country music from a dozen or more radios competes with the tree frogs and katydids. To me it sounds like a recipe for robbery, and every time I read the paper I check the obituary section for his name. I don’t know if it would show up in the Greenwood Commonwealth, but I always look.

Anyway, if you ever go to Cascilla stop by and see him. There’s no sign but you really can’t miss it. His store is on the south side of Cascilla Road on the west side of town. Town consists of two closed buildings, a Baptist church, a small post office, and three or four houses. Tell him Zane sent you, and I said hello. If he doesn’t recognize the name, tell him I’m the Biker Guy who naps on the porch and buys his Snickers Bars. Let him know I’ll be back when the weather warms. A nap always makes me feel better, and a Snickers Bar from Grammar’s Old School Store is as good as any I’ve had anywhere.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Beets Sentenced

Beets Sentenced
By Jay Unver

Lehrton, MS (BA) Short, sweet, and to the point. That's how things went down at the Big ASS Training Center Conference room this morning when Dr. Timothy Nomann sentenced Randy Beets who last week pleaded nolo contendere at his latest disciplinary trial. 

Nomann gaveled the court into session after the pledge of allegiance had been recited by all in attendance. 

Beets and counsel, Johnny Johnson of Johnson, Johnson, and Johnson were asked to approach the bench.

"Mr. Beets, I fine you $1.00."

Beets visibly wobbled and had to be held erect by Johnny Johnson of Johnson, Johnson, and Johnson. 

"This sentence is suspended for a period of one year. If you are brought before the court again, within the next twelve months, this fine will be imposed upon you along with any other penalties that may accrue due to additional charges."

Beets was stable again. And just like that, Randy Beets was a free man. He and Johnny Johnson of Johnson, Johnson, and Johnson were all smiles. Zane Hodge, who sat in the back, quickly exited the room after sentencing as did the Barber Shop.

Law enforcement in Lehrton County has been placed on high alert.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Hodge Speaks at Beets' Sentencing Hearing

Hodge Speaks at Beets' Sentencing Hearing
By Jay Unver

Lehrton, MS (BA) Zane Hodge had the most pathetic look on his face, as if he had rather be anywhere in the world but where he was, when he approached the bench at the bequest of Randy Beets' attorney. Then Jimmy Johnson, of Johnson, Johnson, and Johnson spoke:

"Thank you, Mr. Hodge, for being here today. Would you kindly tell Dr. Nomann your thoughts on this matter."

Hodge sat in the witness box and addressed Nomann. "The way I see it, Beets might be technically guilty of the charge, but his actions are well within the spirit of what Big ASS was built on."

"Will you kindly explain?" Dr. Nomann interjected.

"Well, the organization has always encouraged rivalries as well teasing, hagging, and trash talking between its competitors. It's even in the bylaws somewhere. Me n' Randy have gone back and forth over the years. But mostly it's been me outhagging and outwitting him at every turn. Before the 2014 Swim the Suck, I posted on Facebook 110 photos taunting him with my slogan that year, 'It's Gunna Be a Beetsdown.' Heck, it got into Randy's head so bad, his neck locked up the night before and he couldn't do the swim the next day. That was all because of my campaign of intimidation, mind games, and harassment. 

"I've done it for years. I've done it so much that his mother wanted to slap me. I done it so much his girl friend will no longer speak to me. Heck, I done it so much even my students at MDCC  know about Randy and his name is synonymous with a dufus. He has fought back, but ineffectively. He just can't compete with me in that department. Then, he finally gets in a good one. I mean, he had me going with this thing. When I saw those Facebook posts about June 2nd being his birthday, I thought, 'What a great guy. All those years he put our rivalry aside and worked the Chicot Challenge and helped me celebrate my birthday on June 2 and all the time it was his birthday too.' I was bragging on him to Justin Nunnery and Justin tells me that Randy's birthday is not in June but in August. Now I'm thinking, 'What's this guy doing?'

"So I done some investigating and found out that Justin was right, and then I realized I had been had. I got to admit it, Randy pulled a good one on me. That's the best one he ever did. He finally scored a blow, and now the organization is thinking about throwing him out. It wouldn't be right. Besides, Big ASS was built on the Hodge/Beets rivalry. Everybody knows, the Association has been in a slump ever since Randy moved to North Carolina and I slid out the bottom of the middle class and can no longer afford the trip to Chattanooga for Swim the Suck. You guys need to be promoting the rivalry not punishing the guy for trying to keep it going. Heck, I even got plans to do Swim the Suck in 2018 and kick his butt good. How about that?

"Even the local economy here in Lehrton has benefited from Hodge vs Beets. Duggie Smith has sold so many fireworks that he was able to upgrade from a '69 Chevy pickup to a '71. The town collected so much money in fines from the riots that they were finally able to repave Greasy Street and Lord knows that has been needed for twenty years. Jay Unver made his name as a journalist writing about Beets and Hodge competing against each other. And I am told that hardly a Sunday passes that local pastors don't say something about Hodge and Beets in their sermons. You just can't kill all of that on a technicality."

The room was silent for what seemed like an eternity. Then Nomann spoke again. "You have anything else to say, Mr. Hodge."

"Yeah," Hodge answered. "I hate Randy's guts."

There was a mild chuckle in the room at that compelling Nomann to pound his gavel and restore order. He then adjourned the proceedings and promised sentencing the next day.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

7/3 - 7/9

Another week of no swimming, no running, and no lifting. Do I need to say I am not a happy camper? The body was meant to be moved, to be active, and to be so restricted this severely has not been easy on me.

Monday, I did 15 air squats and walked 1.79 miles. Even walking seems to make my shoulder a little uncomfortable. That, thank the Lord, is getting a little better. Tuesday we celebrated the 4th at Hillbilly Heaven. Forrest and I walked 2.15 miles.

Wednesday I walked again, this time 2.85 miles in addition to 16 air squats and some tire jumps at Plate City. That is about all I can do. Yes, I know what you are thinking: Get on your bicycle. But the shoulder is not ready for that yet. It doesn't like reaching.

Friday I did 17 air squats, walked 2.8 miles, and did 100 tire jumps.

God is good anyway, but I want to swim, need to swim, and was made to swim. Please God, restore my swimming.

Friday, July 7, 2017

What?

What?
By Jay Unver

Lehrton, MS (BA) Lehrton was buzzing with nervous energy Friday morning. The Barber Shop was not on the squar  but at the Big ASS Training Center instead, waiting on the sentencing of Randal Beets a man much maligned in these parts. 

Right on time, Dr. Nomann, took the bench, graveled the Disciplinary Court into session, and called the attendees to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Then he had Beets and counsel approach the bench. The tension was so thick, it looked like the swimmer and his lawyer were wading through molasses. Beets' face was something to behold. He looked like he was about to be executed. Maybe he was. Death penalty had been the scuttle butt since this whole began to be talked about weeks before charges were ever formally made.
Hodge as his name is called in the courtroom


Then Nomann spoke. "Mr. Beets, in light of the evidence presented to this court, and in light of your plea made yesterday, I am now ready to sentence you. You do have the right to speak or for your counsel to call witnesses if he feels there are any mitigating circumstances that may affect your sentence. Do you understand this?"

"Yes, Your Honor."

"Would you like to address the court before sentencing?"

"No, Your Honor," Beets said with a slight crack in his voice.

At this point, Johnny Johnson of Johnson, Johnson, and Johnson, PLLC spoke up.

"Your Honor, I do want to call one witness."

"Proceed, Counsel," Nomann responded seeming slightly surprised.

"Your Honor, I call Zane Hodge."

A buzz immediately erupted that sounded like a ton of bees had been released into the courtroom.

Slowly and meekly, Hodge arose and walked towards the bench.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Beets Pleads

Screenshot showing Beets birthday as
June 2nd.
Beets Pleads
By Jay Unver


Lehrton, MS (BA) A small but intent crowd gathered at the Big ASS Training Center Conference room this morning to hear Randy Beets plea to his latest charge. As Beets and counsel approached the bench, Johnny Johnson, of Johnson, Johnson, and Johnson, PLLC, asked for discovery. 

Rules, procedures, and order in Big ASS disciplinary matters differ widely from normal practices of law. Upon discovery request, Dr. Nomann showed on the wall via projector  two screenshots, one from Beets' Facebook wall which showed the tall swimmer's birthday as June 2nd revealed friends wishing him a happy birthday. 

The second piece of evidence was a screenshot of a Facebook Message conversation between Betty Ryan Beets, the defendant's mom, and Zane Hodge, who was seeking clarification on her son's birthday. She clearly said the true birthday of her son Randy is August 22nd.

Screenshot showing Beets' birthday
as August 22nd.
Upon seeing the evidence, Beet's attorney immediately asked for a five minute recess which Nomann granted. Upon returning to the conference room a few minutes later, a red-faced Beets entered a plea of nolo contendere.

Nomann proclaimed Beets guilty as charged, and set sentencing "in twenty-four hours" before adjourned court.



Within minutes, fireworks were going off on the square in downtown Lehrton.  

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Beets Indicted

Beets Charged
By Jay Unver

Lehrton, MS (BA) A somber-looking Randy Beets appeared at the Big ASS Training Center Conference room to plead to charged in what could be the most explosive and most serious trial in the history of the Association. The single charge is "False statements intended to disrupt the normal operations of Big ASS Endurance and to interfere with another athlete's contest."
Beets during happier times


The charge stems from Facebook posts, indicating that June 2nd was/is Beets' birthday. Beets' chief rival, Zane Hodge, was born on June 2 and his world famous Chicot Challenge falls on or near that date each year. "In an effort to draw attention away from Hodge's swim," the indictment reads, "Beets either put forth or allowed June 2nd to be his birthday in a diversionary attempt intended to pull attention away from Hodge's swim."

"This action not only impacted Hodge's swim, but it is a blow at the whole organization. Thus, Big ASS intends to seek the death penalty [permanent exclusion from the organization] if Beets is found guilty," Dr. Nomann read. 

When asked for a plea, Beets' attorney, Cindy Johnson of Johnson, Johnson, and Johnson, PLLC, asked for a delay. "Due to the serious nature of this charge, I respectfully request more time to discuss a plea with my client." 

Nomann granted a 24-hour delay. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

6/26 - 7/2

It was another train wreck, in more ways than one. I know you think I'm a whiner. But I am. The training went south, I injured myself again, and I feel like I am in Hades trying to keep Bear, our sweetie pie dog, in the back yard and away from Animal Control. Let's start with Bear.

I have a PhD and two masters degrees and this dog is smarter than I am. Really. He can take a pad lock and a bungie cord off a chain link fence gate, open the gate and walk out like King Bear. He is indefatigable in digging under the fence. I have hauled in 16 X 10 X 4 inch concrete pads, four by fours, bailing wire, and fence staples and worked long days dig proofing the fence. Or trying to. I even purchased one of those fenceless fences, you know, the electric kind. He defeated that in a matter of mere seconds.

And to make it all more difficult, he doesn't ramble or want to run away. When he gets out, he comes to the front porch and takes a nap. He wants to be there because he knows that is where we come and go and he wants to go with us. I drive up after work, open my truck door and hear the familiar, thump, thump, thump of Bear's tail on our wood porch. I'm home and he is happy. Besides being happy, he is incorrigible. No amount of scolding or walking him back to the back changes his behavior. 

On top of all that, I find it impossible to stay mad at the mutt. He has the most beautiful eyes and he sits in front of you and looks up at you with those big brown eyes that say, "Love me, love me," and you do, you can't help it. But no matter how much I love on him, I can't get him loved up. He is insatiable wanting petting constantly. Poor baby.

Monday, I was moving blocks trying to fix the fence. Then my right shoulder, the good one, popped. It hurt. It hurt bad. It hurt really bad. Then I tried to move a block, and I can't even tell you what happened then. Day over, shoulder damaged, Bear the victor.

I didn't swim Monday because I was full on the fence. Tuesday I could not swim. Wednesday I could not swim. Thursday, I walked 1.39 miles. Friday I walked 1.61 miles on the yard and 1.03 miles in the yard. Saturday I ambulated 1.68 miles. I rested on the Sabbath.

So it was a week of Bear, despair and disrepair of this ageing body. It will get better. I hope. I pray.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Haikus?

159
sinners have hunger,
Jesus is the Bread of Life,
feast oh Him today.

160
At Centerville they
partake of Jesus' table,
the Lord is worshiped.

161
dirt road turns muddy,
water drips from barren limbs,
green buds on brown branch.

Monday, June 26, 2017

6/19 - 6/25

I returned to training a little bit. It went like this.

Monday I  swam 1,420 meters at the pond which did not include the 220 meters of kicking.

Tuesday I doubled my swimming with 2,400 meters of swimming in the catfish pond and 440 meters  of kicking. I also did some dumbbell work both days.

Wednesday I stayed home and did some very light weight lifting (Is that an oxymoron?).

  Bench press
   25 X 45
   20 X 50
   20 X 55
   10 X 60
  Swim Pull
   55 X 14.3 + 3 washers.

Thursday I went to see the grand kids and to Masters. I did 

900
9 X 200 breathing 3, 5 by 50s
6 X 50 fast/east @ 1:30 (:43)
100 easy
total: 3,100 meters.

Friday I went to DSU at noon and swam

1,500
5 X 100 @ 2:00
100 easy
total: 2,100 meters.

Saturday I took a walk (1.38 miles) to work on the two beat kick muscles and lifted some weights as

  Bench press
   27 X 50
   25 X 60
   20 X 65
  Swim Pull
   60 X 14.4 + 4 washers

Later in the afternoon, I went over to Twin Rivers to swim test the pool. They are still not officially open. I swam

  1,600 31:22 (I have a Garmin again!)
  6 X 100 @ 2:00
  100 easy
  total: 2,300 meters.

For the week, I swam 10,100 meters. The shoulder feels about 95% well. I am going to be OK. Thank you, Jesus, Shelley Darby, and Shay Darby. Cookies in July!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sheila Haikus

156
roars from up the road,
dust rises above tall trees,
Sheila comes to church.

157
the road is quiet,
no dust above the tall trees,
Sheila works today.

158
infectious laughter,
a big smile, a happy face,
Sheila's back at church.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Wednesday/Thursday

I decided not to swim Wednesday. However, I did lift weights, if you can call it that. I performed some bench pressing and one set of the Swim Pull. My progress on the bench since Chicot looks like this.

10 X 8
12 X 10
15 X 12
20 X 15

Those were all done on different days with dumbbells. But Wednesday, I graduated to the barbell and did

25 X 45
20 X 50
20 X 55
10 X 60

Yeah, that's it. Believe it or not, I was extremely sore Thursday. Extremely. Wow. On the Swim Pull I did 55 X 14.4 plus three washers. I'm coming back.

Thursday, I had to work and needed to go to the kids, so I hit DSU. Cagri was out and I tried to introduce myself to the fill in coach. She didn't even tell me her name. Is that rude or does she think I am a serial killer? I don't get it, but a lot of women respond to me like that. All she would say was to ask me if I was there last Tuesday.

I swam

900
Then I overheard her, whoever she is, tell Mark we were swimming 8 X 200 with :30 rest and breathing three, five by 50s. So I swam

9 X 200 (did the extra rep with Ricky)
6 X 50 @ 1:30 fast/easy (my fast wasn't too fast but my best since the comeback started)
total: 3,100 meters.

Daylight with dark clouds painted the delta a yellowish hue as I drove east feeling encouraged at my progress and pleased with the earliness of the evening. Summer's long days are lovely, and I thought about how many times I have made this drive in the dark. I passed the Lehrton Cemetery where Dad is buried. Sometimes I stop. I have a lot over here: Dad, grandchildren, DSU's pool. Is there any wonder I like to come this way?

Thank you, Jesus, for a rapidly improving shoulder.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Monday/Tuesday

I know my cousin Shay thinks I have the half mile swim at the Heart O' Dixie in the bag. However, I recently learned that nothing is ever in the bag. But, you protest, after swimming for 23.8 miles, how can a mere 800 meters be a problem? Trust me, it can.

First, a 23.8 mile swim is conducted at about 65 to 70% of maximum heart rate/Vo2max. A half mile swim, on the other hand, if done properly, is swum at about 90 - 95%. Big difference. To use running as an example, it is like training for and completing a 100 miler then going for a fast time in the 5K. The distance is not the issue, the pace is.

I have the endurance base and can literally swim all day. What I need, however, is to do a lot of work at the lactate threshold pace and faster. The problem is, I am recovering from that last big swim.

A quick check of the calendar shows that including this one, I have five weeks to train and one week to taper before Heart O' Dixie. How much of that will I be able to give to the high quality sets I need? Only time will tell. But to get the time down into the thirteen minute range, I have to do some tough sets, the kind that make me breathe hard and make my muscles burn, and right now I don't dare.

But I digress.

I opened this post to tell you about my Monday afternoon swim. The dogs and I went to the pond. First, I did 3 X 16 X 8 tricep kick back. I carry some dumbbells around in the back of my truck so I can do some assistance exercises at the pond. The tri kick back was done to pre-warm the muscle and create some lactic acid and fatigue in the before I began to swim. The reason for this was to maximize my distance. Since I am recovering from a really irritated shoulder, I am swimming slow and swimming short. The weights on the front end gives the muscles a lot more work and it does so without going through the shoulder. Almost all upper body weight lifting goes through the shoulder. The triceps kick back and the curl, however, don't and these two exercises target muscles that are very important for swimming.

I swam an easy lap, stretched some and then did an over, rest, and back. Following that format, I know my exact distance even though I don't have a Garmin (I have one ordered and on the way). That gave me .89 miles or 1432 meters. Then I put on the fins and did a kick set over and back. After all of that, I did 55 X 10 dumbbell curls.

Although it was a pretty light day, I call it training, light training but training nonetheless. 

Tuesday I swam a little more and a tad harder. I did not do any lifting before hand. But I swam two full laps (2,400 meters), and I did some pickups along the way probably hitting 80 to 85%. I slowly built to 26 strokes. Yeah, that's not much, but it's a start. And that is counting on one side, so I built to 52 strokes or about 50 meters. Then I did four crossings (112 meters each) kick with fins.

After that I did 

20 X 8 tkb, 
15 X 5 lr, 
20 X 8 tkb, 
60 X 10 curl, 
20 X 8 tkb, 
25 X 5 tkb

I am feeling more like myself everyday both overall and in the arm that fell off. Caution is still the buzzword, but slowly my mind is releasing the fear and the hold back it has on my body. Thank you, Jesus.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Darby Inked

Darby Signed
By Jay Unver

Lehrton, MS (BA) After months of speculation, Dr. Timothy Nomann ended all rumors today when he announced the signing of endurance star Shay Darby to a multi-year contract. Darby, who hails from Philadelphia, Mississippi, has been spotted in Lehrton several times over the past two months fueling scuttlebutt that he and Big ASS were negotiating a deal. Details of that deal were not made public but what was revealed is that Darby inked "for three years at a higher than average base salary."

An ecstatic Darby and wife after
signing his Big ASS contract.
Ever since Nomann brokered an agreement to merge the Association of Sports Syclists with the Association of Sports Shufflers and the Association of Sports Swimmers to form Big ASS Endurance, the charismatic President and CEO has been relentless in the pursuit of top talent. Darby will add to an already deep pool of athletes that features the likes of Zane Hodge, Randy Beets, Justin Nunnery, Annabel Lavers, and others.

When asked for a comment, Hodge just smiled and gave a thumbs up. Beets, on the other hand, gave the same scowl we have seen the last couple of times he's been asked for a comment.

Although Darby's salary was not disclosed, the usual base pay for Big ASS athletes is $16.00 per year, a T-shirt, a $10.00 gift certificate to Jimmy's Used Swim Jammers, and two cans of potted meat annually. In addition, sometimes athletes are awarded performance bonuses as when Hodge was given a refurbished pair of goggles after his recent sixteen hour world record swim. After his bonus, Hodge reportedly blurted out, "I wanted cookies!"

At the press conference, Darby's pants bulged in what looked like two cans of potted meat in his left pocket and one in his right. If indeed he received an extra can of potted meat, one has to wonder if he also received the $17.00 one anonymous source reported he will be paid.

One thing is for sure, he and his lovely wife were all smiles as they left the Big ASS Training Center and headed for the Lehrton International Airport where they reportedly left for a vacation in Hawaii. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lesson's from Chicot VI

It's been a bit over two weeks since my epic swim, the longest of my life and the one that beat me up the most. The beating was both physical and mental as well as emotional. Like always, I do a lot of reflecting afterwards while attempting to draw meaning from my experience. I have arrived at several lessons I'd like to share with you.

1. Penny and I have some really good friends. Inevitably, after ten plus hours of swimming, I begin to feel guilty for what I am putting the crew through. They get up early, travel and lodge at their own expense, and then spend a long, long day taking care of me, helping me fulfill a personal goal while trying to raise funds for a worthy charity. Last year, I put them through it with a thirteen hour and fifty two minute swim. This year I really put them through it with a sixteen hour swim. I can't imagine being in a boat that long. They probably can't imagine swimming for that long, but I had rather have my job than theirs. Never once have I heard a member of Team Centerville utter even a hint of a complaint. Not only were they good friends going into the swim, but sharing an experience like this strengthens some already strong bonds. At least it has for me. Thank you, Team Centerville and may God bless you for you selfless giving of your time, energies, and finances. 

2. Nothing is in the bag. Every year I go through the nerves as the swim draws near. Many try to calm me and tell me how I have it. But anything that long carries some real risks with it. That truth was driven home this time around. Eighteen miles in, my left shoulder started protesting. It hurt. Bad. Not only that, but it hurt bad. The pain was severe enough that I thought I was going to have to tap out. I prayed, changed my stroke, and struggled on for another five and a half miles. But the ordeal drove home how fragile the body is and how quickly the best laid plans can come crashing down. I even asked the crew to pray for me. Thanks be to God, I made it. But the ending easily could have been much different.

3. The open water world is special. On Facebook, I have friends from across the U.S. and around the world (twenty four countries the last time I counted). Our connection? Swimming, especially open water swimming. Enter MJ Staples. We were Facebook friends having never met in person until Chicot VI. She was either wise enough or foolish enough to put it on one of the swimming sites we both are members of that she wanted "to work the other side of a swim." She was even willing to pay her own way. Cha ching! I was considering seeking Marathon Swimmers Federation documentation for this swim, so I needed an Independent Observer. I contacted MJ. She agreed. She did a great job. She is pleasant, knowledgeable, organized, and professional. Besides observing and taking meticulous notes, she support swam and even took a turn in the kayak. When I ran out of ibuprofen, MJ came to the rescue. When Lake Chicot swallowed my Garmin, not to fear because MJ had a stop watch set aside for the sole purpose of timing the swim. When it got black dark on us, MJ came to the rescue with some glow sticks. My wife said she was super organized, super prepared, and super nice. If you need someone to observe your swim or possible do something else, she just might be your girl. Thank you, MJ.

4. Don't let old lessons die. During Chicot I, I developed tough pain on the top of my hands and wrists. After that swim, I had visible knots in the tendons on there. I did a lot of thinking and concluded that I had a flexibility/strength imbalance. I corrected that problem with a year of stretching and targeted strength training. Over time, I let those assistant exercises fall by the wayside. At Chicot VI, that old nemesis came back with a vengeance. For hours, I swam in pain. Fortunately, unlike the shoulder, I knew what the pain was and that I would recover from it without permanent damage. After the swim, the top my right hand looked like it had been stepped on by a horse. My left wrist had a knot on the top and was discolored as well. The sad thing is, I had seen this before and learned how to prevent it. I simply became complacent and let the lesson slide away. Wow. Note to self: don't do that again.

5. I can do this swim without running. I haven't run since November. My shuffling career may be over. I will find out later. When that problem arose, I determined to just focus on swimming. I did wonder a little what affect it would have on my swimming. I know it made it virtually impossible for me to lose weight, or at least it did with the current state of my will power. But the swim showed me pretty much what I thought before hand. My legs got much more tired than they usually do, but if that made a difference in my performance, I couldn't tell it. Yes, this swim was slower than the others. But that was, I think, a result of the conditions. At the pace I swim Chicot, 65 -75% of Vo2max, the extra cardiovascular efficiency, and the enhanced fitness of the legs is not a big factor if it is one at all. But the next thing up for me is the Heart O' Dixie Triathlon, a mere one half mile swim. But that has me a little concerned. I need to turn in a good time and that means swimming the half mile at 95+ percent of Vo2max. At that pace, the lack of running could make a real difference. 

6. Once more, Chicot is a swim of faith. We had problems with securing a pontoon boat from the start. When I called South Shore Cottages in January, they told me they no longer rented pontoons. I was stunned, but not terrified. My mind went back to Chicot V and how God had showed me this was His swim. God had to come through. Coming through was me getting a boat from the State Park. Or so I thought. When they called in March and said their boat had fallen off the trailer and was badly damaged, we were back to square one again. I didn't panic but prayed and tried to have faith. If this swim really is God's, He will make a way. He did. After about six hours, we had a boat. During the swim when the shoulder pain hit like a miniature Samurai inside my shoulder trying to slice his way out, I prayed and the pain didn't disappear but became tolerable. Almost a week after the swim when I discovered my Spot Tracker, swim cap, cookies, and goggles were missing, I prayed and God restored everything except the cookies. Sometimes you just have to be thankful and suffer loss in gratitude that it is not worse than it is. Thank you, Jesus.

7. We really have reached surpassed the end of what we can do in a day. This swim was finished at 9:58 pm. That put me, the crew, and all two of the people waiting on us at the finish in a strain at best and some risk at worst. Next year, we will most likely scale back a little. And yes, the desire to push farther has come back a some. But I am thinking that it will probably be on another swim somewhere else. My body is still healing, and my mind is still reeling from this sixteen hour ordeal. But Lord willing, we will be back next year for another edition of Chicot.

8. I have a really good cousin, Shay Darby. But since that is the subject of another blog post, I will say no more about that now.

Monday, June 19, 2017

6/12 - 6/18

The comeback began and while progress was slow, it was real. Not only that, but it was real slow. 

Monday, I did nothing in the way of training. Tuesday, I spoke at the Exchange Club where Barry Brewer delivered the last batch of Chicot T-shirts. When I got ready to pay him, he said the shirts were a donation. Thank you, Barry. I sold one while there and the club gave me an offering of $7.50. I put the $27.50 in the mail that day along with another couple of checks that I already had. That put the fundraising at a little over $4,300 for the year, a record by a long way.

Wednesday I did nothing. Thursday, however, I felt like I should swim. I went to DSU and did an easy 10 X 100. I had small sensations in the shoulder.

Friday, I went to see Shelley Darby in Philadelphia and was administered a butt-busting anti-inflammatory shot, some oral meds, a kenesio tape job, and some gel. I did some visiting while there as I always do.

Saturday, I went to the pond. I wanted another short swim and the dogs needed an outing. I swam one lap (1,200 meters). After climbing out of the water, I did 

15 X 8 tri kick back
15 X 8 tri kb
50 X 10 db curl
15 X 8 tri kb
10 X 30 squat

So that was it: 2,200 meters and a new high in weight. I have to get that under control. This upcoming week, I expect to swim three or four times and do some really light lifting. I need some form of cardio, but I don't think I can run. That leaves only the bike.

Praise be to God for two swims. More to come.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

She Did It!

At mile 18 of Chicot Challenge VI, I swam my left arm off. Yeah, I swam an arm off. By the grace of God, I kept the faith, I finished my course, and left the lake carrying my arm. Over the next several days, between bouts of licking my wounds, I had Facebook Messenger conversations with my cousin, Shay Darby. They went something like this:

Shay: How did the swim go?

Zane: I finished, but it was tough. I swam my arm off.

Shay: That can be fixed. You need to see my wife.

Zane: Shay, my arm fell off.

Shay: She can fix that.

Zane: I don't think you understand.

Shay: I understand. My leg fell off last week. She put it back on.

Zane: Really?

Shay: Matt and I have done Ironmans. She keeps us going. I'm telling you, she can put your arm back on and help speed your recovery. 

Zane: *Ponders in silence.

Shay: She had a 4.0 in nursing school. 

Zane: *Falls asleep in bed without answering.

Shay: She knows about athletes. 

Shay: She is really good. 

Shay: I know it's a long way to drive, but it will be worth it. 

Shay: She will put your arm back on.

Shay: She will introduce you to kensiso tape.

Shay: She will give you a steroid shot.

Shay: She will prescribe you some meds.

Shay: She might give you some of this. *He sends picture of an anti-inflammatory gel.

Shay: Call this number and make an appointment BR5-000-4231

Shay: She is really pretty.

Shay: She is nice.

Shay: She will not hurt you.

Zane: *Wakes an hour later and sees the texts.

Zane: She's pretty? She won't hurt me?

Shay: Honest.

Zane: OK. I think I'll call. Tomorrow.

Shay: She just had breast augmentation.

Zane: Hang on. I'm calling right now.

So I did it. I made an appointment to see Shelley Darby, FNP for one o'clock on June 15. On the way over, I had the opportunity to pray and think, a couple of things I always like to do. It also gave me the opportunity the relive the journey run I made this way a few years back.

When I made it to Louisville, I took the old Highway 15 through town and stopped at my cousin Joe Joe's place of business to speak to him. He was not in. Then I drove past the lot where my grandmother's house used to sit before a bad tornado tore it up. After that, I made my way south towards Noxapater. On the way there, I passed Flower Ridge Methodist Church where my paternal grandmother and grandfather and my Aunt Johnny and Uncle Howard are buried. I often stop for a walk through the cemetery but I kept driving this time. I did stop in Noxapater to see my dad's sole surviving sibling, Mary Darby. No one was home so I continued my journey to Philadelphia. 

I have been by Philadelphia a lot and near Philadelphia, but I don't know when I have been inside the town. I was impressed as I drove around and looked at the pretty old homes. After finding the clinic, I went to Bumper's Drive In and bought one of the best salads I ever ate. Who knew?

At the clinic, I had to fill out paper work for about thirty minutes. They even asked me if I had ever shot a road sign, hunted on posted land, or cheered for Mississippi State in a football game. What? Is this an IQ test, a mental stability exam, or what?

I saw Shay with the two kids in the waiting room for a minute or two, and then they called me back. They put me in a room and two nurses came in and interrogated me for another ten minutes or so. "What are you here for" was one question they posed.

"I'm here to get Shelley to put my arm back on."

"To put your arm on?" one of the interrogators repeated as if to make sure she heard me correctly.

"Yes. I swam it off at mile eighteen of a twenty-three mile swim. She is going to put it back on."

She shot me a look like she had "one of those." Maybe the question about Mississippi State Football is about to bite me in the backside. But no, they had other plans for my backside.

Those two nurses got up and left the room. I half expected a security guard to come escort me from the building. What I got instead was Shelley. 
See. She did it. She taped my arm on.


Shay was right. She was pretty, nice, and pretty nice. Not only that, but I found her professional, thorough, and I detected no hurry in her examination of my arm and shoulder. And just like Shay said, she put that arm back on. She even taped it up to make sure it didn't fall off again. 

She left the room and then one of those other nurses came back in. "OK, swimmer man. I need you over there," she said pointing to an examination table while she attempted to hide something behind her back. "Grab aholt of that table and drop your drawers."

You know it's about to get real when they tell you that. And I got a glimpse of what she had in her hand. It was a syringe which was about as big around as my wrist and the needle about the size of a large drinking straw. I tried to hide my fear, but my hands trembled as I pulled at my belt.

"Anybody who can swim twenty-three miles ought to be able to take a shot in the butt," she said. I couldn't tell if that was a taunt or an encouragement.

Then she stuck that thing in my buttocks. I gasped out loud. It was most unmanly and terribly embarrassing.

"I forgot to tell you it's going to sting a little."

A little? 

After the initial bolt of pain, it felt like she was pumping gravel into my butt cheeks. She finally ran out of rocks and told me to have a seat.

You have to get better after they do that to you because you don't want them doing it again.

Shelley came back in. She wrote me a prescription, gave me the gel, and we even chatted some about family. Then it was over. I left and compared to my butt, my shoulder felt great. I am getting better, I am getting better I thought as I made my way to the truck.

I drove back to the Darby's at Noxapater. They were home, and I showed them where Shelley put my arm back on and taped it up. Then I drove to the D and D Tires. I showed then where Shelley put my arm back on and taped it up. I went home and showed my wife where Shelley put my arm back on and taped it up. Then we went out to eat with some friends. I showed them where Shelley put my arm back on and taped it up.

If you need an arm put back on, go see Shelley Darby in Philadelphia, Mississippi. The FNP behind her name stands for Fantabulous Neuro-muscular Professional. Everything Shay said about her is true. Thank you two very much.