I nearly called this one "How to Have an Adventure in Southern Iowa."
Short answer -- GO TO TOWN. That's as good as it gets, generally...
The excitement here this week was caused by going with my good neighbor and cheesecake preparer, Carol (share gas/company)... She does a double whammy every time we take her car. She banks in Corydon, and has her doctor there, then we go to Centerville and eat Chinese, go to the library, etc. and end up shopping in three grocery stores, minimum.
I nearly opted out of the "visit the doctor" bit, and was going to meet her at the Promise City corner, but I decided she must need moral support not to suggest that in the first place... I was reading a YA book (excellent -- about African refugees from the conflicts in Sierra Leon and the diamond trade that is supporting the warfare. Caroline B. Cooney wrote it... Diamonds in the Shadow. Not preachy, not varnished, just very well-done. Although you know the bad guy is going to try to get the refugees, and you know at least one will fight him, I certainly did not see the ending that she came up with coming!)
I stayed in the car at Carol's suggestion because it was raining, and she thought it might not be good to sit in the doctor's office and risk catching people's colds/flu when I was not at school and therefore at risk, so I just stayed put... for a while, anyway.
So, the rain kept the car comfortably cool, and I was totally engrossed in the story when the other doctor's nurse tapped on the rear car window. When one is reading about terrorists sneaking up on people with intent to kill, that can get quite a rise...
Carol had fallen as she left the clinic. There is a 2" curb, and she did not register it, stepping directly on it, twisting her ankle, which had already been broken once, and going down on her hands and knees, then could not get up. A nurse and the PA, Ernie, were already there by the time I got over there from the parking lot, and afraid to move her, because she seemed as if she was in trouble again.
I was with her when she went off the curb at the Corydon school, and remembered the ambulance guys getting her up. Ernie decided to do that again, so Tony and the guy who has desires to be a writer came around with it and got the bed out of it, (both good-sized, strong men) got her up and on the gurney, wheeling her through the doctor's office and into the hospital that way, while I trailed behind with her purse, etc.
One of the nurses who used to help Dr. Baker (now in Des Moines, as of Aug. 1 -- sigh) looked at me, and I commented, "You know how sometimes God just sees to it that you end up in the place you need to be when you can think of no good reason to be there at all beforehand?" We were on the same wave length. This is the third summer over the years that I went along with Carol for no good reason. Twice she broke her ankle, and once a friend she was visiting in the hospital died while we were there... Less dire was the summer I went to Ottumwa with her when I had no money to spend, while she tried to sell a lady's antiques to close out an estate she was executor of... but none were REALLY antiques, so no sales. She LOST MONEY settling the estate, in addition to the time spent, which is certainly depressing, and company makes that type of thing more bearable.
Her husband Eddy was not answering; his brother and wife were not answering, but a neighbor who is a substitute teacher was home. I asked her to go down to the machine shop and give Eddy the message. He called, and told Carol he couldn't come! She finally got X-rayed -- broke two bones in the back of her ankle... Next week, she can have it cast, but the swelling needs to go down first. She has a car with a back seat, but only two doors, so no way she could get in it. She needs a full back seat, sitting sideways, when she has to stay off her ankle, which she'd learned the last time, back in 2000.
I finally, around noon, called and told Eddy he needed to drive over to MY HOUSE and come into town in my car to get her home. I didn't ask if he would -- I just gave him the instructions, and he did it! My car was not cleaned out for passengers, which bothered him. (He probably thought he was going to have to do it.) I told him that was not a problem, since I generally cleaned it when I was going into town, leaving the sack in the burn pile at the end of the driveway, but had not done so today, as I was not using it to come to town.
I took one of the cat food sacks I keep on the back seat floorboards and filled it with trash, which Tony (my ET friend from ER -- the guy who shot the tranq dart into Sue's wild purebred Raven daughter when she needed to be sewed up when I got back from one of Bonnie's daughter's weddings in Raleigh) then found a garbage can empty enough to handle that much. Everyone was laughing when I came in with a 20# FULL SACK.
Eddy drove her home, wheelchair in the trunk, ("It won't fit." "Sure it will -- slide it all the way back." Men HATE IT when a woman is right, especially in front of other men) and I took the cooler down the hall, through the clinic and out to Carol's car. (As I was following them down the highway, I wish I'd pushed my luck and told Eddy he'd have to pull the key out of the ignition before pushing the trunk button to get it to work...) Eddy did wait until I got the car started before he left, as it has a tricky starter and does NOT like me.
We got to the ER at 10:30, but she was not released until 2... too late for me to go to the Chinese restaurant, which I would have had to do alone, as usual....
Carol's parting advice on how to bring sticky starter around was to get rough with it, but I stopped it four or five times and got it running again... Once I could sort of feel how it was cranky, and Dad's old mechanical ability surfaced, so I worked a bit and could actually feeI what it needed. I got her pain meds, Eddy's, returned the books, and ate a KFC dinner, which was not an even trade for Chinese, but cost the same price... I went to Fareway for the meat, Hy Vee for my bread and their prescriptions, (turning in the two bowed cans of tuna she'd brought along to exchange), Aldie's for my milk ($2.79 a gallon) and that little store on the square that got raided for drugs for a gallon of AE whole milk (why their milk by that brand name is different from the AE sold at Hy Vee, I don't know, but that's where she always goes to get it, every trip... the only thing she buys there, and since I always get mine at Aldi's, generally the only thing I buy there, those are the last two places we stop. (My philosophy is, if I can't taste the difference, read the difference on the ingredient list, smell or see the difference, I won't pay the difference... AE whole milk is AE whole milk, no matter which store is selling it. I will use the cheapest generic skim milk, as the % of butter fat removed is standardized, sanitation inspected for all dairies, not just the big ones, and the expiration dates are stamped on all... So, if a gallon is $4.25 at Hy Vee, $3.15 at Walmart, and $2.79 at Aldi's, gee I wonder where I should buy two jugs in a town five minute's driving time wide at the widest spot?)
I was home by 5-ish... unloading again in a soft rain...
When I brought Eddy over, he told me he had to push about every button on the car before he got the wipers going, and accidentally locked all the car doors, so it didn't want to let him out at the emergency room door... I managed to sympathize, not laugh, and he took his truck back home. Carol told me later it took two neighbors and Eddy over five minutes to get the trunk unlocked to remove the wheelchair. My car is NOT ornery -- just expensive. I had a horrid time with it even after the salesman gave me a quicky tour of all the bells and whistles when I bought it as a second hand three year old for what a new Chevy Impala I liked would have run. The difference is, by the time I had the Chevy paid for, it would be time to trade it in, maybe even past time, while the Acura will still be cruising right along.
Everyone in the neighborhood was pretty well worn out by nightfall. One gal who used to be a nurse went over with a plastic bed pan to help Carol... at least three times that first day. Harriet checked in on her; in addition to running Eddy down twice; another gal came for some eggs when she heard (their pullets are just starting to lay, and giving around a dozen a day)... the brother-in-law and wife showed up; each visitor doing something/bringing something that needed to be taken care of that fit in their area of expertise. I left her a stack of five books I'd already collected and would have given her anyway. I'd take Diamonds over if it weren't a library book. (I also refused $20 in gas money for the 34 mile round trip made in my car!)