About tall buildings and a much kinder war

Hallucinations, anyone? Well after the past week, it seems as if I have a few to share!
Prominent in my memorable week away, for instance, were these elements: tall buildings, airplanes, a noise like a machine gun, and war news on every hand.
I can’t say I confronted any Arabs personallay, but I may have used some hard words because the parallels of my week with events on the world stage were really unmistakable.
Looking back, it’s hard to avoid starting with the opening of our new Super 8 Motel, my first tall building in this series. The World Trade Center towers had been attacked in living horror just over two weeks earlier so that was very much still in everybody’s mind as we toured and enjoyed our newest local building.
Within a few days, though, this old farm boy had entered two more high buildings–La Verendrye hospital here and the Health Sciences Centre at Winnipeg. There, doctors checked on why my walking resembled that of a war casualty.
I had no previous memory of any hospital experience. That, more than any premonition of doom on account of the New York situation, may have affected my psychological balance before I ended a full week in the Winnipeg bed.
And yet, I could recall a stay in the almost forgotten hospital of our long gone Dr. McKenzie, now a tall apartment building, that cost me my tonsils at eight years old. But that was poor preparation for the Health Sciences Centre and its equipment.
Now, I’m not saying my sessions with the “Catscan” and “MRI” machines were something that should avoided. Our medical people do their best to make us whole and if we must endure such monstrous encounters to satisfy doctors and relatives, it’s probably best to go ahead and then have something to brag about later.
(My MRI debut is unique in most of my circle and every says it should be much appreciated).
But I was rudely reminded of our enemies in Afghanistan when the MRI machine gun started banging away out of the darkness. I had been worried about recurrence of a bout of Second World War claustrophobia, but that was nothing compared to this sharp exchange with street builders and a jackhammer while I attempted to get comfortable inside the rude MRI tunnel.
Wonder of wonders, I eventually succeeded in giving the operators a good photo of my back without squirming too much. This tells them they want to see me again in a month. But now I’m almost ready for anything else they serve up.
Looking around the city before leaving, I spot my old friend, the famed Golden Boy, damaged atop another high building, the Manitoba Legislature dome. A huge scaffold indicates he will be mended before long because, so far, the Arabs have left him alone.
As a ruralite, I’m not sure whether I recognized any Arabs working in that hospital where all my helpers were really very sociable people, including all the nurses arriving at bedside so faithfully.
The orderlies seemed to be mostly from the Philippines or Africa. One little fellow was a great entertainer with a melodious whistle he could demonstrate like a tropical bird and a smile enough to warm the room.
After actually enjoying the service and accommodations, even the narrow but adjustable bed, my only disappointment occurred because there was no return air trip home available.
The incoming flight was my first place ride in years, and rarely do I ever seen the relatives in Winnipeg any more. Having then all come around with cards and gifts more than made up for my bout with that MRI machine.
So, today I’ll thank my local doctor who fought me into taking one my lifetime’s great adventures because you don’t get into such professional care everyday, and it might be many months before I would have such an opportunity again.
Hopefully, I’m being sufficiently grateful that she did not send me to Afghanistan instead after the way I argued with her to stay home.
• • •
Sudden, premature death in a small community is always so shocking, especially when it takes away such a good guy as Jim Plumridge, who I knew for most of his life and especially enjoyed as a western singer with his guitar in days of the old James Bay Steakhouse.
Our local entertainers once turned out there weekly with Bud Mallory as host, and the west end highway place was fast becoming a local institution before it burned.
We welcomed a crowd of Vietnamese boat people there for Christmas more than 20 years ago, and Jimmy could give out like Little Jimmy Dickens of Grand Ole Opry.
• • •
Memo to Don McCullough who noted some flags hanging backwards months ago along the highway and notified me then before so many others intervened.
• • •
We got going one night on trying to remember how many operators there have been at “Sparky’s” little store by Robert Moore School which seems to have been there always, or at least since I attended that school and used to deal with one owner for my Boy Scout stamp collection.
While certain owners like the Jack McCutcheon family years ago come to mind easily, who else can remember Nance Ryan, who took tickets at Royal Theatre or Sgt. Jim Miller, town policeman and boxer.
And then there were teacher Irvine Livingstone, Ernie Miller, then Turcottes and Martinuks and Bernice DeGagne before Sparky, or Mike Asplund, stepped in to stay in the tidiest little place you ever entered.

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