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Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged the phone across my head..



When the phone rings at 5:00 AM there are only two possibilities:

1)
Wrong Number. When we moved to Salemtown one year ago, we were given a phone number that had been assigned to Warner-Chappel Music Publishing Company, particularly to the section that dealt with song-pluggers. Warner-Chappel (WC) hasn’t used the number for over two years. Despite the two-year lapse, hopeful songwriter/singers from all over the world in ALL time zones (including the weird ½ hour off time zone in Newfoundland) are used to calling the number formerly known as the WC. We get 10-20 calls a day (and night) for WC and even include the fact that this IS NOT Warner-Chappel on our answering machine. So, a 5:00 phone call could reasonably be assumed to be a wrong number.
2)
Bad news.

Today’s call fell into category
#2.

I know that many people have had/are having a bad/odd/bizarre summer, so I don’t want anyone to think we’ve had it worse than anyone else, but as the announcer queues today’s theme song (that song by Travis concerning rain), let me recap our summer.

1) Daughter totals our car. Technically, daughter’s boyfriend totaled the car, but since it was HER responsibility and she wasn’t supposed to let him drive (he was visiting from out of the country and does NOT have a license), I’m holding HER responsible.
2) Daughter’s boyfriend is banged up in aforementioned car wreck and is taken to Floyd County Hospital in Rome, Georgia (where my daughter lives). He has bruises and lacerations. He is cleaned and bandaged, but not given any antibiotic. The laceration in his scalp is cleaned and stapled.
3) Four days later when his arm is literally hot with infection he is taken to Southern Hills hospital, where he is treated with antibiotics. Southern Hills personnel are amazed and aghast that he was given no antibiotics at Floyd County.
4) Boyfriend returns to Floyd County for staple removal. He does not speak much English. The HIPAA privacy form was not translated for him, and he refused to sign it until he has the form translated. Hospital personnel refuse. Much like in the movie ‘Crash’, the situation escalates and he is asked to leave. Moments after leaving, he is arrested and beaten for allegedly assaulting my daughter (a RIDICULOUS charge, subsequently dropped). He is shanghaied to Floyd County Jail. The policemen on the scene refuse to tell my daughter where he is being taken. Remember that he has little English and none of the policemen involved speak Spanish.
5) 5:00 AM phone call the subsequent morning. Not a wrong number, but my daughter telling us that her boyfriend is in jail and we need to come down and bail him out. We do just that and have to wait 7 hours while the jail is handling the paperwork.
6) The following week I am on vacation in Texas where I nearly pass out. After several trips to the hospital, it is discovered that I have an intermittently bleeding ulcerated portion of my stomach. I get ‘opened up’ and I leave Texas 10 days later with less stomach than when I arrived.
7) My wife, a Metro teacher, loses her summer job when she comes down to Texas to minister to me.
8) Soon after coming home, my daughter calls to tell me that she is in the hospital with a high-grade infection. Eventually, and one hospital visit later she has to have an operation to repair some of the ‘wiring’ feeding a kidney.

I was thinking that the dark cloud that had pervaded our personal weather was finally moving on. My daughter is healing and back in school, charges against her boyfriend were dropped except for a minor misdemeanor, I’m back at work and my wife is back teaching art.

Cue laughter and today’s 5:00 AM phone call. A certain close relative of ours had partied a bit hard down in the Boro celebrating the beginning of the new MTSU school year and was somehow tangentially involved with what turned into a barroom brawl. From the lovely Rutherford County Detention Center he spoke the words ‘Could we please come down and post bail?’. One of the two adult members in our family suggested that we might just leave him there for a while, but the court date isn’t until October and MTSU starts on Monday. So, we sleepily trundled down to the Boro. AAAA Bail Bonds is right across the street from the detention center. The friendly efficient proprietor, Melissa, knows how to handle parents whose stress level equals a potential house/lot purchaser in Salemtown who sees the Crye-Leike price tag for said item. She had us all on our way a scant 30 minutes after arrival.

Even though summer isn’t over until late September, I’m hoping that Labor Day portends the end of this hovering dark cloud. I know that I should pray that the dark cloud dissipates, but I’ve got a few candidates to whom I wish that our dark cloud-dom cup would pass. If you’ve read this far, you can probably guess who THEY are…

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About me

  • I'm John H
  • From Salemtown, Tennessee, United States
  • Cruising past 50, my wife and I have reared three kids and several dogs. I work for state government and daily conspire to deflate bureacracy.
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