Just One More Morning
Going through a box of papers stored away for
many years, I re-read notes, looked at faded
photos and remembered.....
It was late evening as I closed the home¡¯s
front door. The sun was slipping behind distant
mountain peaks. My mind was spitting out nu-
merous errands I had yet to do before for going
home, when I heard a voice behind me.
¡°By darlin¡¯, have a good evening.¡±
He was sitting in his wheel chair under a pink
flowering crab apple tree. The last rays of day
pattered his silver hair as a broad slow smile
spread across his time worn face.
In that brief moment of time the tiredness fol-
lowing me fled. For I received more from him
than I could possibly give. It was because of
he and the other 159 like him that I returned
each morning to open the door and step into my
role as the Social Services Director of a nursing
In the beginning of an eighteen year career in
long term care, I had no idea what to expect, or
for that matter, what was expected of me.
I quickly learned that dentures get misplaced
in the most unusual places, eye glasses are
broken as fast as they are repaired, there are
staff meetings, meetings with family members,
doctors, dentists, so many problems to solve
daily AND rivers of paperwork. In a nutshell,
life in a long term community under one roof
goes on much like life on the outside. The ladies
still enjoy getting their hair done in the beauty
shop, dressing up for parties and outings. The
men still enjoy sports, visiting together, beer
Life in the nursing home community is as varied
in personalities, cultures, belief systems and
backgrounds as the neighborhoods we all reside
in. Each member is an individual with individual
needs in all areas of life.
Staff, at all levels, in a nursing facility seem to
be full of love to give, and give they do. In ev-
ery department staff goals are to make the lives
of each resident as comfortable, safe and happy
as possible. No matter how busy they may be,
they stop what they are doing to take a request,
pat a hand, dry a tear or give a hug.
Care giving is not really all about what a care-
giver ¡°learns¡±, it is a part of who they are.
Maybe, perhaps, a care giver is born with it,
So, as I drove away from the nursing home that
evening so many many years ago, with the vi-
sion of that dear resident still waving goodby in
my rear view mirror, I heard myself sending up
a prayer, ¡°please God, let him be here tomorrow
morning please, just one more morning.¡±
We come to the edge
from that distance
we can see
it doesn¡¯t end
time and memories
the circle of all things.
(Karen Schafer lives in Grand Junction and
writes about life in Colorado)
The Reading Room 2017 August/September
Pg 5 - The Sunshine Express
Treasures From The Inbox
If you get email, you
get stuff. Sometimes
it is spam, sometimes
it is a true gem.
Here is one of those
gems worth sharing:
pants were baggy
and whose toes
poked out of would-
be shoes. His shirt
was dirty and his
hair was uncombed
We were too far
from him to smell,
but I was sure he
smelled. His hands
waved and flapped
on loose wrists.
¡°Hi there, baby; Hi
there, big boy. I
see ya, buster,¡± the
man said to Erik.
My husband and I
¡°What do we do?¡±
Erik continued to
laugh and answer,
A Baby¡¯s Hug
We were the only family with children in the
restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed
everyone was quietly seated and talking. Sudden-
ly, Erik squealed with glee and said, ¡°Hi there.¡±
He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair
tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his
mouth was bared in a toothless grin as he wrig-
gled and giggled. I looked around and saw the
source of his merriment. It was a man whose
A new western author, Jesse Beard, has released
his debut book ¡®Cow Town Texas 1872¡¯ which is
available now on Kindle and Amazon.
Beard, who does all of his writing on the Grand
Mesa here in Colorado, is working right now on
the continuing saga of the families from Cow Town
Texas, with a planned series of books following
their adventures and exploits.
In the debut book, you will follow along with au-
thor Jesse Beard as he tells you the story of three
extraordinary families; the Beards from Kentucky,
the McClures from Arkansas and the Indian prin-
cess, Standing Moon, as they make the arduous
journey to Texas.
Within this text you will learn the background of
key characters such as Standing Moon the Indian
princess, Cheryl the fiery redhead, the sweet,
loveable Nancy, the Bubbly Helen and of course
Joe and Sam.
The journey sweeps across Texas into New Mexico
and Oklahoma as the families struggle to sur-
vive and become successful politicians as well as
wealthy land, cattle and oil barons. Their family
struggles will hopefully open your eyes to the his-
tory of these extraordinary folks.
Jesse Beard was born in 1954 in the Central Valley
in California, the first son of George and Donna.
After service in the Navy, George moved his large
family in search of work as many families also had
done decades before. The family moved to Califor-
nia during the dust bowl and settled in the Central
Valley. It was not an easy time for Jesse but he
learned how to survive and developed his imagi-
nation and love of the old west, often imagining
himself riding horses across the Great Plains or
following the trails of the wildlife that seemed so
plentiful as a child.
Getting an education was not at the top of Jes-
sie¡¯s thinking at the time and he paid the price for
it many times in the future. However, through the
years of dreaming of a different life, Jessie was
able to break that path and move on to figuring
out that he had a natural
gift for art and, at 50,
taught himself sculpting.
Sculpting spurred his
imagination, which led to
writing down those stories
which he had been keeping
in the back of his mind,
and all the new stories yet
The future is just now
starting anew for Mr. Beard.
New Western Series Begins
¡°Hi, hi there.¡± Everyone in the restaurant noticed.
The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my
Our meal came and the man began shouting from
across the room, ¡°Do ya patty cake? Do you know
peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek-a-boo.¡±
He was obviously drunk I thought. My husband
and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence but not
Erik, who was running through his repertoire for
the admiring skidrow bum, who in turn, recipro-
cated with his cute comments.
We finally finished the meal and my husband went
to pay and had me meet him at the car. The old
man sat poised between me and the door. ¡°Lord,
just let me out of here before he speaks to me
or Erik,¡± I prayed. As I drew closer, I turned my
back, trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he
might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my
arm, reaching with both arms in a baby¡¯s ¡°pick-
me-up¡± position. Before I could stop him, Erik had
propelled himself from my arms to the man¡¯s.
Suddenly, a very smelly old man and a baby
expressed their love and kinship. Erik, in an act of
total trust, love and submission, laid his tiny head
upon the man¡¯s ragged shoulder. The man¡¯s eyes
closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes.
His aged hands full of grime, pain and hard labor,
cradled my baby. No two beings have ever loved
so deeply for so short a time. I stood, awestruck.
The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms
and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine.
He said in a firm voice, ¡°You take care of this
baby.¡± Somehow I managed, ¡°I will,¡± from a
throat that contained a stone. He pried Erik from
his chest lovingly, as though he were in pain. I
received my baby, and the man said, ¡°God bless
you, ma¡¯am; you¡¯ve given me my Christmas gift.¡±
I said nothing more than a muttered thanks and
ran for the car. When my husband got to the car
he asked why I was crying and saying, ¡°My God,
my God, forgive me.¡±
I had just witnessed Christ¡¯s love shown through
the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who
made no judgment. The child saw a soul, and his
mother saw a suit of clothes.
I was a Christian who was blind holding a child
who was not. The old man and my baby had re-
minded me, ¡°Unless you change and become like
little children, you will never enter the kingdom of
heaven.¡± (Matthew 18:3)