An anniversary I’d rather not celebrate

This is anniversary month. It will not be celebrated or even observed. Don’t anyone dare to wish me happy anniversary!

It was one year ago on Oct. 3 that a tumble — more like falling off a cliff — from my high bed in the middle of the night, changed the course of what is left of the rest of my life.

I dusted myself off, checked to make sure all parts were in place and moving, and went back to bed.

For the rest of October, through November and into December, each day was worse than the day before — with no apparent cause old age aches and pains? — until a doctor-ordered bone scan solved the mystery: a compression fracture of the spine, not picked up by X-ray or other tests.

In the following months the injury kept me from living my life the way I had lived it for decades, and even now there are far too many things I cannot do — each one that I can’t do infuriates me, yet I am truly grateful for those I still am able to do.

One of my wonderful helpers — I couldn’t have survived without them and they are still helping me — mentioned recently she detected in me “an underlying anger.”

Yes, I am angry but not at any person except myself! Being dependent on others very much goes against my grain, so if I’m grumpy at times, do please forgive me.

Burrs

Now onto happier subjects, like the burrs in Toby’s mane and tail — it looks like a club — and there is no point in getting them out now because he’ll just get more.

I worked for an hour in his double mane the other evening — and of course there were more burrs the next day. Thank goodness for Cowboy Magic, a commercial product that makes detangling much easier and with not so much pulling on poor Toby. But he is such a happy camper and as long as he has something to eat he doesn’t care what you do to him.

In the spring — there was spring, wasn’t there? — my flowering crabapple tree was spectacular, a huge pink and white bouquet. The tree is very special, as it was given to me and planted by a dear friend, gone too many years, to mark my retirement.

Now it is once again pink as every branch flaunts the pink fruits of its springtime labors. The other day there was a noisy crowd of robins having a feast. I hadn’t seen them before and haven’t since.

Retreat

Heading up the road yesterday I noticed great flocks of birds perched on the utility wires and that is indeed a sign that summer — there was summer, wasn’t there? — has fled, and soon the wires will be empty and the birds will have left in what seem like plumes of black smoke, headed for their winter destinations.

Truthfully, I won’t miss the starlings and grackles and wish they’d take all the sparrows with them.

Roadsides which have not been mowed are abloom with New England asters in all of their glorious hues of pinks and purples and lavenders. They have taken the place of the goldenrod and daisies and Queen Anne’s lace, none of which seemed to have been discouraged by all the rain.

By now, everything has probably been frosted, since this column is written at least a week ahead of time.

Trapping

The kindly trapper’s trap line has been working overtime. I’ve lost track of the number of chipmunks that have been relocated. And one of the several groundhogs that are trying to establish their winter homes with me has also been evicted.

I paid 79 cents for one apple at the store, as all my apple trees are gone, with which to bait the trap. It was a good investment. Now I have a bag of apples from Haus’ orchard, and expect eviction to continue. In fact, a fat fellow waddled across the porch this morning and the trap awaits his presence.

As dusk turns to darkness so much earlier, it is time to read my way through the wonderful supply of books on the table behind the couch. Reading is the easy part, keeping awake is the tough part!

About the Author

A lifelong resident of the Mahoning Valley, Janie Jenkins retired in 1987 as a feature writer and columnist at the Youngstown Vindicator. In June of that same year, she started writing her column, "On My Mind" for Farm and Dairy. She loves all animals and is an accomplished equestrienne. Local history is also one of her loves, and her home, the former Southern Park Stables, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. More Stories by Janie Jenkins

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