In-laws, Outlaws, Cousins and Fam make Life a tad Richer and Fuller

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Scene from “Call the Midwife” PBS

The birth of a new baby always draws people together; the anticipation, the anxiety, the hope and excitement for the future are mirrored on each face.

Time inches forward. The waiting is stressful. We traveled from Fort Myers to Minnesota to welcome a new great grandson into the family.

Dick's granddaughter

Dick’s granddaughter

Yesterday I walked back and forth with the mother-to-be and her mother hoping to shake this stubborn little fruit from the tree. Overripe and bulging, Katie hoped that the bouncing and jostling in the crowd would encourage her son’s birth. And she was right. At 2:30 a.m. that morning, the contractions began. But the long labor and final delivery went on for another 24 hours.

This ordeal brings back many memories, not only of my first daughter’s birth after 24 hours of hard labor, but of five more who came into the world on their own terms. Their personalities were imprinted on their souls from the beginning. We saw glimmers of their uniqueness even before they were born and forever after. No two babies are ever the same. Each is a priceless jewel that opens like a bud in witness to a miracle.

Characters from "Call the Midwife"

Characters from “Call the Midwife”

“The PBS Show “Call the Midwife” will begin its Fifth Season next March through May 2016. Based on the best-selling memoirs of the late Jennifer Worth, “Call the Midwife” tells colorful stories of midwifery and families in London’s East End. Inspired by the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, Call the Midwife follows the nurses, midwives and nuns from Nonnatus House, who visit the expectant mothers of Poplar, providing the poorest women with the best possible care.”

The show’s timeline is sometime after the Blitz in London and moves into the 1950s. Midwife is tender, revealing, and oftentimes traumatic as seemingly live births occur in the seamiest side of London’s East End. The characters warm your heart as you watch their personal struggles. The Midwives become the only strength and power many of these women and their families will ever know.

Nurses

Nurses

Wondering how my husband felt about watching this show, I turned to him and saw tears glistening in his eyes. “Isn’t that a beautiful sight?” I commented. New life really is beautiful and most parents will cherish the birthing moment forever even as the pain and anxiety fade.

We are heading out to Seattle, Washington, to see my oldest daughter and her children, and grandchildren. I haven’t been out there in a long time, and our reunion is past due. I’ll keep you posted with photos of the new baby and stories of our trip.

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Don’t Mess with Mother Nature. She always wins!

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Florida is the lightening capital of the world, or so they say. In truth, it is the lightning capital of the United States; and Central Florida from Tampa to Titusville has the added distinction of being known as “Lightning Alley.”

There are more lightening deaths and injuries per year in Florida than anywhere else. That’s why when the thunder rolls and the sky darkens, you’ll find me running for cover. If we’re out walking, we scurry home. If we’re in the car, we find a temporary stopping place. I believe Dorothy literally when she said in the Wizard of Oz “There’s no place like home.”

But unlike the girl from Kansas, I don’t have any magic shoes to click and whisk me home. What I do have is common sense. Most year-round residents do. It’s the poor tourists that are hit by lightening more than any other group. Either they’re not familiar with our warning sirens or they don’t take them seriously.

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The most recent lightning mishap occurred on Fort Myer’s Beach on a cloudy day. In this case, it was Local residents not tourists, a group of family and friends, who were seemingly unaware of the weather’s potential danger. Instead of heading for cover, they continued to play on the beach. Out of the blue, a flame thrower struck one man in the head killing him instantly, and another lightning rod hit a young man, who ended up in ICU in a comatose state; his girlfriend standing nearby was burned. The prognosis for him was not good. The wagging tongues whispered what everyone feared: death or brain damage; quite possibly paralysis. The girlfriend was listed in fair condition.

Miraculously, the boyfriend eventually walked out of the hospital wiser but saddened by the death of their older male friend.

According to Naples Daily News, “Earth Networks’ Total Lighting Network detected 4,556 lightning flashes and 715 cloud-to-ground strikes within a 10 mile radius of Fort Myers Beach on Tuesday, between 11 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.

 “Within 50 miles of the Fort Myers beach, there were 16,622 flashes, with 2,372 cloud-to-ground strikes. “The first lightning strike within 10 miles of Fort Myers Beach happened at 12:11 p.m., just less than two hours before the deadly strike. 

“Another strong storm cell, featuring a significant amount of lightning, developed just north of Fort Myers Beach about 69 minutes before the fatal strike.” 

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If you’ve never witnessed a Florida lightning bolt spread its fiery veins across the sky and throw its jagged spear of flames to the earth you’re in for a surprise. It gives new meaning to the expression: “Don’t mess with Mother Nature.”

Remember the old movies during the fifties when the announcer said: “Duck and Cover.” These sentiments were repeated in every classroom across the country and in short film clips at local theaters. Ironically, these drills were performed to protect citizens from threat of nuclear attack or falling bombs. In those days, people headed underground for homemade bomb shelters or to public places that were designated safe. 

Perhaps we should resume these safety drills considering the number of natural disasters that occur each year. We should be prepared and protected from tornadoes, hurricanes, fires and floods; and in today’s modern world from terrorist attacks, street riots and sniper fire. We live in a precarious world with an environment that is powerful and unpredictable.

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In the case of lightening, you don’t want to be the only target standing in an open field, golf course, beach or street; a human tree exposed and vulnerable. Perhaps when the skies threaten, we should all duck and cover and seek protection.  When the thunder sounds, those are your marching orders to head for safety!

I’m not recommending living a reclusive life tucked away from all danger. But I am saying we must know the risks and how to protect ourselves. Living smart means keeping your eyes and ears opened and staying attuned to the warning signs posted on the ground, in the airwaves, and on the news.