Tag Archives: covid

WINGSPREAD Ezine, May, 2021

“Spreading your wings in a perplexing world”
May, 2021 James Hurd



Please forward, and share this E-zine with anyone. Thank you.

Contents

• New story: Saving the World in a Season of COVID
• Puzzler of the month
• How to purchase Wingspread: A Memoir of Faith and Flying
• Writer’s Corner
• Wingspread E-zine subscription information
• Follow “james hurd” on Facebook, or “@hurdjp” on Twitter


New story: Saving the World in a Season of COVID


The last thing I remember was sorting food from one bag to another.


In the time of COVID, after George Floyd was shot and after the riots, my daughter suggests we go to downtown Minneapolis to help with food handouts, clean up the city streets, and generally help save the world in Jesus’ name. I am all for it, even though I have felt exhausted for several weeks.
We drive by some burned-out buildings, including the post office, broken or boarded-up windows, glass and trash in the streets. Most businesses are closed. We park the car a couple of blocks from the Midtown Global Market, just a few blocks north of the George Floyd memorial at 38th and Chicago.
We grab our brooms and buckets and pull out of the car several heavy bags of food that we will carry three blocks to Lake and Chicago. I barely make it and gladly set the bags down. We see hundreds of people sweeping the streets or just milling around. Dozens of bags full of food sit on long tables. Everybody’s masked up because of the COVID pandemic.
The last thing I remember is stooping over to transfer stuff from one bag to another . . .
To read more, click here: https://jimhurd.com/2021/05/25/saving-the-world-in-a-season-of-covid/
(*Please leave a comment on the website. Thanks.)

Puzzler of the month:

May’s puzzler:
(I had to look up the answer, but when I read it, I realized, “Of course!”)
An off-duty policeman is working as a night watchman in an office building. He’s doing his rounds and he comes upon a closed door. Behind the door he hears voices; people are talking and an argument seems to be taking place. He hears someone say, “No, Frank, no; don’t do it, you’ll regret it.” Bang! Bang! Bang!
The night watchman bursts through the door; what does he see? A dead man on the floor. And the proverbial what? Smoking gun.
And in the room, are three living people; a minister, a doctor, and a plumber. He walks over to the minister and says, “You’re under arrest. You have the right to remain silent.”
How does he know that it was the minister that pulled the trigger?
(Answer next month.)
(Thanks to “Car Talk” puzzlers.)


Answer to April’s puzzler:
Recall the family of four and dog, stranded on an island with rising floodwaters. Only one rowboat that will only carry 180 pounds. The key to this puzzler is that some of the family must make more than one trip:

  1. The dog can swim, so discount the red-herring dog.
  2. The two kids take the boat across and the son rows back.
  3. Mom rows across alone and the daughter comes back.
  4. Two kids row across again and the son comes back.
  5. Father rows across alone and the daughter brings the boat back.
  6. Son and daughter row across and voila! the whole family is safe.
  7. (Unless, of course, it takes too long, and the floodwaters wipe out the whole family. Maybe they could train the dog to pull the empty rowboat back, or something . . .)

Buy James Hurd’s Wingspread: A Memoir of Faith and Flying. How childhood (Fundamentalist) faith led to mission bush-piloting in South America—and Barbara. Buy it here: https://jimhurd.com/home/ (or order it at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.)

See pics here related to Wingspread: Of Faith and Flying: http://www.pinterest.com/hurd1149/wingspread-of-faith-and-flying/

Writers’ Corner

Writer of the month: William Shakespeare (1564-1616). Though biographical details may be sketchy, his literary legacy is certain. He wrote 38 plays, 154 sonnets, and a couple of epic narrative poems. He created some of the most unforgettable characters ever written for the stage, and shifted effortlessly between formal court language and coarse vernacular. The Oxford English Dictionary credits him with coining 3,000 new words, and has contributed more phrases and sayings to the English language than any other individual. His idioms have woven themselves so snugly into our daily conversations that we aren’t even aware of them most of the time, phrases such as “a fool’s paradise,” “a sorry sight,” “dead as a doornail,” “Greek to me,” “come what may,” “eaten out of house and home,” “forever and a day,” “heart’s content,” “slept a wink,” “love is blind,” “night owl,” “wild goose chase,” and “into thin air.”

Watch for my upcoming novel: East Into Unbelief (provisional title)
Sean McIntosh loses his father, his best girlfriend, his life dream, and finally, his faith. But how can he be a good atheist, especially when he’s stuck at Torrey Bible Institute? He can’t see it, but grace is coming. . . .

If you’re discouraged about your writing progress, take heart in these “bad analogies”:

Tip of the month: To pull the reader into a scene, make it more sensual: smells, tastes, how things feel to the touch. A smell will bring the reader immediately into the scene.

Word of the Month: WOKE. Used as a verb, such as a “woke person.” This refers to someone who had seen through the illusions and realizes the true cause of their troubles, who sees beyond the lies and understands the oppressive structures behind them. Similar to the older term, conscientization.

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Saving the World in a Season of COVID

The last thing I remember was sorting food from one bag to another.

In the time of COVID, after George Floyd was shot and after the riots, my daughter suggests we go to downtown Minneapolis to help with food handouts, clean up the city streets, and generally help save the world in Jesus’ name. I am all for it, even though I have felt exhausted for several weeks.

We drive by some burned-out buildings, including the post office, broken or boarded-up windows, glass and trash in the streets. Most businesses are closed. We park the car a couple of blocks from the Midtown Global Market, just a few blocks north of the George Floyd memorial at 38th and Chicago. 

We grab our brooms and buckets and pull out of the car several heavy bags of food that we will carry three blocks to Lake and Chicago. I barely make it and gladly set the bags down. We see hundreds of people sweeping the streets or just milling around. Dozens of bags full of food sit on long tables. Everybody’s masked up because of the COVID pandemic. 

The last thing I remember is stooping over to transfer food items from one bag to another. 

About ten minutes later. I wake up lying on my back, looking up at the sky. I see people standing around and see my daughter Kimberly kneeling at my side. “Daddy; how do you feel? Do you hurt anywhere? Do you want some water?” Kimberly, our drama queen, the freaker-outer in any small emergency, has risen to the occasion and taken charge.

The paramedics, in their yellow vests, roll up, each wearing a mask and transparent shield. I try to get up.

The paramedics say, “Please lie back down. You’re going to the hospital.” 

“I don’t think I need to go anywhere. I can ride home with my daughter.”

“But Daddy,” Kim says, “You fainted and you need to get checked out.”

“I fainted? I don’t remember anything.”

They check my pulse, take my temperature, then transfer me to a stretcher and push me into the paramedic truck. “Your temperature is normal. Have you had any COVID symptoms, cough, or anything?”

Kim asks me, “Do you want me to go with you?”

The paramedics say to Kimberly, “Maybe it’s better if you follow him in your car.”

They drive me five blocks north to Abbot Northwestern and take me to a staging area. Later, I find out it was a $2400 trip. 

Kimberly follows us, but they tell her she can’t go in, so she calls my cell. “You know, there was a guy from the crowd that ran out, jumped on you, and did CPR.”

“What! How long was I out? Who was he? Was he trained? Did he take my pulse first? Where did he go? Was he wearing a mask?”

“I don’t even know who he was; he just disappeared into the crowd.”

I think, Either he was an idiot who didn’t know what he was doing or else he saved my life. I’m grateful for his help.

The masked hospital doctor tells me, “Sometimes when people give CPR it damages your ribs. Do your ribs hurt?”

“CPR? Did I really need it? Did my heart stop?”

“What happened to the guy?”

“My daughter says he just disappeared. Just one spot on my ribs hurts a little bit.”

“Maybe the guy was afraid of the liability. We don’t know how long you were out. Don’t know if he checked your pulse. Don’t know how long he worked on you.”

I think, Who was this guy? Did I really need CPR? At the very least, he was goodhearted; or maybe he saved my life. He seems like an angel to me.

The doctor appears in his scrubs with a short, Asian-looking woman following him, holding a clipboard. “You have atrial fibrillation, don’t you? Maybe that’s why you fainted. We’ll just keep you overnight and monitor your heart.”

When I wake up on Sunday, he says, “Overnight, your heart raced up to 180 and down to 40, so I think we need to keep you here another day to evaluate you, then send you home with a chest heart monitor. Maybe the low heartbeat made you faint.” But the next morning, he says, “We think you need a pacemaker. That won’t help the fast heartbeat, but it will keep the heart from beating too slow. We can install it first thing in the morning.”

So on Tuesday morning I get wheeled into the operating room and the “pit crew” whirls around me. One nurse says, “You’ve stated you don’t want CPR. Do you wish to have it if you need it during this operation?”

“I guess so.” Strange how the operating room focuses your mind.

I notice only the eyes of people blinking above their masks, running around me, checking the monitors, adjusting my sheets, starting the IV, getting ready to slice the skin on my upper chest and insert two probes into my heart. Then they’ll slip a two-inch-diameter pacemaker under the skin. Shrouded in his plastic shield, the anonymous face of the anesthetist hovers over me. Then I know nothing.

      I wake up in my room numb but with no pain. The room looks white and antiseptic. The annoying IV tube in my arm will stay there until I leave the hospital. Masked nurses, orderlies, and doctors come and go. They tell me the operation went well. Sometimes it’s hard to understand accents through their masks.

I phone my wife. “Why don’t you come to see me?”

“But they won’t let me in because of COVID.”

“Well, at least you could come to my window and wave or something.”

“Jim, your room’s on the third floor!”

“Why are you always making excuses?”

The humor is lost on her. So kind and faithful, I probably shouldn’t tease her.

Strange, living in a masked world that isolates people. The masks keep telling me you can go home “tomorrow,” but you never know. It makes me much more dependent on the phone. I call lots of people.

On Thursday, they finally wheel me down to the lobby and out to our car. Happy reunion with Barbara and Kimberly. Thrilled to go home. 

So, instead of saving the world, the world saved me and gave me more time to live and love and pray and more reason to take joy in each day—even in a time of COVID.