Thanks to all
Thanks to everyone who called, sent or gave cards after Lulu Belle’s passing on. To Janie and Molly, also, who gave cards and food.
To all who attended the memorial and to those who related stories of their personal interactions over the years with her.
To Greta, whose temporary job lasted 20 years of dedicated care to her.
Also, Jennifer and Judy, her back-up, fill-in caregivers the last few years of her life.
To all the other caregivers who filled in over the years.
Snow blower safety
To my fellow snow country folks: Now that it looks like winter is settling in, I feel moved to pass on some annual advice, especially given the Zoom reality of several new members to our community, some who undoubtedly will be operating a snow blower for the first time.
Over 26 years ago, I had a moment of brain-deadness and ended up turning off a snow blower with my left hand, and being flown to Harborview Hospital in Seattle where three hand surgeons spent 21 man-hours rebuilding my hand. I write to remind all of you snow blower operators this winter season to not repeat my stupidity!
Even with new designs and safety features on today’s machines (mine was 20 years old 26 years ago!), blowers can still jam with wet snow or “yard” objects. Due to the potential kinetic energy stored in the engine compression and belt tension when jammed, the impellers in a blower can rotate slightly when a jammed or clogged machine is freed up. There is very little clearance in the impeller housings. If your hand is the “freeing” agent, you can lose fingers or an entire hand. Never use your hand or foot to clear a clogged or jammed snow blower. Use a broom handle or long, stout stick. All new blowers come with a plastic paddle used to clear jammed blowers. Some even advise removing the spark plug to release any engine compression before working on a machine.
Snow blowers, like many powered devices, are in and of themselves not dangerous. They do need to be respected and operated with care and attention. Fatigue, being in a hurry, distractions, objects left out in the snow, etc., are the real dangers. Hopefully you will remember my story every time you operate a snow blower and not create your own story. Have a safe winter season.
Things to think about
This seems to be a good time to think about things we are thankful for. I just returned from France. I got to see my two half-brothers there for the first time in two years. It was a wonderful reunion. The COVID vaccine made that trip possible.
It’s thanks to the medical researchers and advanced science that we have these amazingly effective vaccines. Also thanks to the governments (particularly for me, the U.S. and France) that made sure we can all get these vaccines easily and for free. I also want to thank the doctors, nurses and other health care workers who have continued to work in the most trying and dangerous (for them) conditions.
I thank the people who had serious doubts but nevertheless got vaccinated to protect their families and the rest of us. I call that true patriotism. The coronavirus is worse than any enemy we have faced in wartime, and the only one who attacked us at home. Getting vaccinated has been our best weapon against this enemy.
I want to mention this newspaper and Methownet, our local Internet provider. We know that the Methow Valley News has been besieged with people who want the newspaper to include endless lies about the coronavirus and the vaccines. Many small (and large) news companies have succumbed to this pressure. Thank you, Don, for resisting these pressures and giving us an honest newspaper we can all be proud of. And thanks to Jeff Hardy and his crew at Methownet for keeping out the Internet trolls and “bots” that fill many other local bulletin boards around the country with venom and lies.
As always in the Methow, neighbors have been putting aside political differences to help others in these hard times. It is a wonderful community and I’m very grateful to be part of it. Happy holidays to you all.