The Edge?

“Take these,” the dentist said. “It’ll take the edge off.”

I replied with a smile, “I want to be able to walk out of here.”

He said with assurance, ” Oh, of course, no worries. This is a very small dose. Just takes the edge off.”

Dentist chair

I was not relaxed as I sat in the new-to-me dentist’s chair. He noticed, so I told him a little about my calamitous dental past.

One dentist gave me four shots of something I react adversely to before he read my file. The guys in the ambulance were nice. They wanted to know what year it was, who the president was, and even asked about my kids. They seemed a little concerned though, when I knew I had kids, but couldn’t recall how many or their ages. I told my husband to tell them, but he just looked at me.

I once had to have a root canal done with a mild anesthesia because they didn’t have anything that wouldn’t make my heart race. The dentist told my husband I was one tough lady. He agreed.

One time I had an extraction and almost choked on the gauze packing, so I took it out and developed a dry socket.  Tylenol 4 took the edge off the pain and all sense of reality. (I didn’t tell this dentist the last part. Maybe I should have.)

I continued to plead my case… I am easy to treat, my body is sensitive. Children’s Motrin gets rid of a migraine.

After all that, he still felt this dose was best, so I swallowed the two white tablets with the little cup of water his assistant gave me.

Ten minutes later, drunk as a skunk, I could hardly walk to the restroom. When I returned, the dentist marveled at how quickly the meds had worked. I knew the “relax mode” was not even close to its fullness.

He prepared my tooth to be worked on, hooked my finger to a monitor, and turned on some smooth jazz for my enjoyment.

The last thing I remember was hearing the drill fire up.

The next morning, I woke up at home in my bed, fully clothed. When I sat up, my head felt like it was about to explode. I settled back, which eased the throbbing in my head, and thought about my situation. I remembered being at the dentist’s office and the drill beginning it’s work on my tooth, but not much else.

Soon my daughter came into my room to see how I was feeling. I had a lot of questions.

She told me the dentist had to put me in the car. When he asked how long our trip home would be, she replied, “About an hour.”

“She’ll be awake by then.”

I wasn’t.

My daughter delighted in telling me of our trip home. “You kept asking if the procedure was over yet and you mumbled a lot. I couldn’t make sense of most of it.” She laughed.

I asked her how she got me up our steps, onto the porch, and into the house.

“You did everything I asked you to. When we got to the steps, I  told you to pick up your foot and you did. I had to support you, but  you walked.” (I’m glad she is a good daughter who loves her mama and would not take advantage of the moment and make me do some ridiculous stunt. If she did, she’s not telling. )

I don’t remember any of it.

It’s good that my dentist gave me something to take the edge off, you know, dull the nerves a bit.  But my definition of the edge is what I was standing on, and fell off of.  I spent the next 24 hours climbing back up.

As I consider it, though, in light of my dental past, it was not a bad experience. My tooth is fixed, and I did not experience any serious pain. It’s all good.

Yes, I know about the edge.



Do Your Clock Wook?

Photo credit:
Photo credit:

Recently I had the distinct privilege of caring for two of my daughter’s six foster children who call me Grandma. Heading into town to have some fun, in the car with me were two year-old Cody and four year-old Hannah.* They are true siblings and both very bright.

Hannah could not see the digital clock on my car dashboard and asked what the time was. I told her it was 9:42. We would get to the mall about the time the stores would open. About ten seconds later, she asked again about the time. I looked and responded again, “9:42,” thinking she didn’t hear me the first time.

She replied, “Do your clock wook?”

I laughed out loud, “Yes, darlin’ it works.”

I realized she had heard me and this precious child’s time frames are different than mine. Ten seconds to her computes to at least a minute or more and in her mind the clock should have changed.

Waiting is not fun. She was ready to get there, get out of the car seat, and enjoy herself in the mall.

How often have I wanted to ask God, “Do your clock wook?”

* not their real names.

Son of the Kenai

Son of the Kenai
Why do you wait,
Watching the children
Of the Lower Forty-eight?

The storm clouds hang heavy
In the afternoon sky.
If it were a clear day
Would you give it a try?

Is the thirty-two degree water
Maybe holding you back?
Or are there too many already
Fishing along the bank?



Many are fishing,
Few are catching.
The reds have not arrived.
The time is not right.

When the sockeye red
Breaches the Kenai’s surface
Because there is
No room below it
In the moving sardine can
Between the banks,
And the rapid flow
Of the run and the river
And instinct
Keep it going.

This Son of the Kenai
Will step into the fray,
Gather his catch
In under three minutes,
And go home.

The Oxymoronic Day on the Kenai River

I am fairly convinced that this is Fisherman Heaven. Every morning the fisherman gets up, grabs his gear, and heads to the river where millions of fish are clamoring to get upstream. These fish are nice-sized, nine to twelve pounds, and give you a fight to remember.

Frank's largest to date

On the other hand, this may be Fisherman Hell. You can only keep three. If you hook them anywhere but the mouth, you have to let them go. This is particularly difficult if this is the largest fish you have ever caught. You may catch three in under an hour, and then you have to leave so someone else can have your spot. I think that most qualifies it for the category. No fisherman I’ve ever met wants to leave a sweet spot knowing the fish are right there ready to be caught.

Another oxymoronic aspect of this once-a-year fishing bonanza is the collaborative competition going on.

One man said it was “combat fishing.” He was referring to the closeness of the fishermen lining the banks, all vying for that space where the most red salmon are coming through, and the aggravation of tangled lines and lost fish because of the proximity problem. Yes, there are many people lining the river’s edge in chest waders (hip waders sort of defeat the purpose as you are up to your waist in water) wearing fishing vests containing various needed items should you break a line, and carrying the all-important specially-rigged rod and reel combo and dip net.  Looks like they are geared for combat.

Fishing the Kenai Moose Point

On the other hand, in spite of the fierceness of the competition, one man will hand off his rod and reel, pick up a dip net and help his competitor land his fish.  How refreshing!

Kenai helper

Thank-you and congratulations exchanged, collaboration is over, lines are drawn again, and the battle is renewed.

So, if you are bipolar, this will be a piece of cake for you. If not, you may feel a series of mood swings you have never experienced before, should you attempt this adventure.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you…



Red Salmon Run on the Kenai River

It’s an exciting time on the Kenai Peninsula. The red sockeye salmon come into the rivers by the hundreds of thousands, some say over a million, swimming upstream, headed to the spawning grounds.  People line the rivers with dip nets, or specially designed rod and reel rigs, to catch them.

Fishing the Kenai Moose Point

The limit is normally three per person per day, but during the strongest point of the run, it is increased to six. They weigh on average nine to twelve pounds.

For the last few days the fishing on the Kenai River has been strong, but the catching, slow. Many showed up and fished, from twelve year-old children to seventy-five year old men and women. And they came from all over: Wisconsin, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, and elsewhere.  Some caught the limit, but it took half a day to do it. Others walked away with nothing.

This gentleman caught his limit and was cleaning them at the station provided for that purpose on the dock.

Kenai River fish 1

The word was out this morning that the “run is in.” In other words, the bulk of the red salmon is in the river now and headed upstream. I was told earlier in the week that when this happens, you could almost walk across the river on them, there are so many. I suspect today will not only be a strong fishing day, but a strong catching day.

There is a special way to fish for these, nothing like we fish in Florida. They are caught by hooking them in the mouth totally by chance. They do not feed, so they are not biting. They are swimming; your hook just happens to be going by them as they swim and hooks them.  I know, crazy.  Some fishermen have a knack for it though and if the red are out there, they will catch them.

When the catching is slow, the fishermen stand out there and do the “Kenai Flip” for hours on end hoping to hook one. The “Kenai Flip?” You stand in the water, flip your line upstream, and let it drift downstream past you. The lead weight located on the line about five feet up drops to the bottom allowing your fly to float up, hanging there for the unwary salmon to run into. When the line is fully extended about ten feet past you and you have no tug on it, you pull your line with your left hand and flip your rod tip back to the right, bringing the lead, hook, etc. back to you. Then the process starts over.

If you do snag one, the fight is on. You can only keep them if they are snagged in the mouth. A fish hooked in the mouth is easier to lead in than one snagged elsewhere, but still likely to be a fighter. A dip net is a must. Landing the fish is easier with two people: one to reel and one to dip. Perfect strangers grab a dip net to help land a fish. It is exciting and refreshing to watch.

Kenai Fishing dip net fish

Those who live in the area and have the “knack” as they say, walk away with a full stringer…

R. Miller and his wife catch their limit.
R. Miller and his wife catch their limit.

My husband, Frank, was happy with his first catch!

Kenai Fishing Frank

Looking to load up today!

(Yep, he just called me… Going well.  Pictures to follow.)