Posts Tagged ‘Nyel’

A little late… but here in profusion!

Tuesday, June 28th, 2022

York Roses

I walked through the garden this evening, Nyel at my shoulder, but just out of sight.  I especially looked at all his favorites — the flowers he preferred, the ones he took extra care with, the ones I worried I wouldn’t manage quite so well.

Flowers On The Porch

But, I’m happy to report that they are doing him proud!  The York roses are the showiest they’ve been since Nyel transferred them into the big tubs around his erstwhile vegetable garden. His white peonies — his favorites — are ready to burst into full bloom and his hanging baskets of fuschias and pots of geraniums on the south porch have never been so prolific.

It was a bittersweet walk.  So many gifts he left behind… for me.  For us all.  It’s one of the lessons we learn only when it’s all too late to say”thank you.”

Just the other day…

Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

Sydney and Nyel, 1986 — a Stan Thompson photo for the Observer

All the places we went.
All the meals we ate and all those he cooked!
All the laughter we shared.
All the people we enjoyed, learned from, loved.
Wasn’t it just the other day we met… back in 1984?

General Nyel, Farmer Nyel, Chef Nyel,
Husband, Friend, and kindest person I’ve ever known.
Nyel LeRoy Stevens, how blessed I was and am,
And now… how bereft.
Wasn’t it just the other day we celebrated with a bang?

Already there are things I need to tell him,
Like ORF accepting our gift of replacement lamps
And that Slutvana came looking for him tonight.
I wonder if he’ll always be here in my head
Making it all seem like just the other day…

BOOM! May 30, 2022 – Photo by Barbara Canney







One of the hardest parts…

Thursday, April 21st, 2022

Last week and this have been non-stop appointments for Nyel — all the medical, dental, and you-name-it-health-related folks wanting to weigh in on his status, needs, unkept appointments, new prescriptions, etc. etc. that you might imagine after his recent four weeks in the hospital.  We are both exhausted.

As it is with everything in life, each expert or professional considers that they are the ONLY one he needs to see.  It reminds me a lot of high school homework.  Every teacher seemed to consider that he or she was the only one who was giving you an assignment and god forbid you complain.  Especially if it was Mr. Dressier, the chemistry teacher, who might double the amount just because…

Mostly, we are both tired.  Today we tried to nap after lunch, only to be interrupted by a phone call from Dr. Trusted’s assistant wanting to change Nyel’s meds based on yesterday’s lab tests.  Unfortunately, the change would put him back to  a combination that landed him in the hospital in March.  Even more unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any alternatives left.  But… they are working on it.

Nyel, bless him, went right back to sleep.  That put me in mind of my old classmates who didn’t seem to mind the extra assignments.  (Actually, I think I was one of those.)  What a difference 65 or 70 years make!  But then, I always was cranky if my nap was interrupted…  My mother said that was the reason she quit giving me naps much earlier than most moms.  (My cousins said that’s why I’m so short.)

The Worst Winter Day in April… Ever!

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

Old Nelson Home, Oysterville 1875 – By Pat Akehurst

Probably the worst winter in Oysterville’s history began the night of January 1, 1875.  That night, the weather turned sharply cold, and the thermometer hovered at zero.  When morning dawned, parts of the bay were sheets of solid ice, with the oysters embedded within it  As the tide moved in and then out, the oyster-laden ice simply floated out to sea, totally wiping out many beds.  The freezing weather continued for eight long days and nights.

Yesterday morning, as Nyel and I started off for Seattle at 4:30 a.m. for an appointment with Cardiologist Extraordinaire, “Dr. Trusted,” I have to confess that I didn’t give that historic January winter a thought.  And why would I?  It was April, for Heaven’s sakes!  April 12th, to be exact, and more than three weeks into Springtime 2022.  Nearly 150 years after than historic weather event here in Pacific County.

I did note that it was cold in Oysterville — very cold for April.  But still, I was more than a  little surprised when we arrived in South Bend in the midst of what looked like a blizzard.  The road was covered.  The trees were covered.  The windshield wipers were clotting up.  And to make matters worse, it was still dark.  Very, very dark.  At 6:00 a.m. in April, for Heaven’s sake!

I white knuckled it through Raymond and up through the already washed-out and not-yet-repaired road to Montesano.  OMG!  And still it snowed.  And hailed.  And sleeted.  It was slippery underfoot as I dashed into the restroom at the Montesano Quick Stop.

And so it continued… all the way to Olympia.  Did the traffic slow down at all???  Not that you’d notice…  But we didn’t see any accidents or mishaps and we arrived at the UW Medical Center for Nyel’s appointment with ten minutes to spare.  We asked hard questions about the prognosis for Nyel’s future…  The answers were hard, too.

All in all, it was good to get back home yesterday afternoon.  Dorothy was right, you know.  There is no place like home.  Especially if it’s Oysterville!  And even if it’s wintery here in April.

Goodbye to Little Red Hen

Wednesday, April 6th, 2022

Nyel with Little Red Hen, 2012

Last night
Oh so lightly
She was breathing
Nestled among the cedar shavings
On the coop floor.

That she knew
Farmer Nyel was home
I have no doubt.
Chickens know more things
Than you would think.

Nyel and Little Red Hen

Nyel raised her
From a fluffy ball of yellow
And for ten years
They had a special bond,
Little Red Hen and Nyel.

I brought her to the house
So they could say “goodbye.”
Slutvana came, too —
Maybe for treats.

It’s often hard to tell with chickens.

At Long Last!

Tuesday, April 5th, 2022

Nyel – April 5, 2020

Nyel is home and all is right with my world!!  Never mind that Little Red Hen is hardly moving at all.  And never mind that I managed to get almost-but-not-quite-all of the corrections that I wanted on the visuals for The Ghostly Tales of The Long Beach Peninsula.  And never mind that the Espy/Schreiber Family Reunion tentatively scheduled for the first week in July is in a bit of a state of flux.  Nyel is home and all is right with my world!!

Sue and Bill (Grennan, not Svendsen lest there be any confusion) picked me up at eight yesterday morning.  We had a lovely lunch at Elmer’s just off I-5 in Tacoma and I was in Nyel’s room five minutes before they had his final discharge papers and meds ready to go.  We boogied on home and were inside our house by five o’clock!  Bill (Bless him!) did all the driving while Sue supplied snacks and stories and good cheer both coming and going.

Sydney and Nyel, 1986 — a Stan Thompson photo for the Observer

Nyel is a shadow of his former self — 145 pounds by our scales.  For fun I looked up what the average person should weigh according to their height.  This is what I found:  For women, the ideal weight is 105 pounds for 5 feet of height, and 5 pounds for every inch after. For men, it’s 106 pounds at 5 feet and 6 pounds for every inch taller. Those are for medium-framed people. Some adjustments are made if you’re larger-framed or smaller-framed.  

For me at 5’2″, that worked out to 115 pounds — 10 pounds lighter than I am now and 15 pounds heavier than I was 40 years ago when Nyel and I met.  For Nyel at 6’2″, it worked out to 190 pounds which is just about what he was during his “prime” (and how I remember him from plummier times.)  Today, his appetite is better than it was in the weeks before he went into the hospital, so we are hopeful that he can gradually put on a few pounds.  Seconds on ice cream?  Thirds? You betcha!

Wedding Portrait – September 13, 1987

Last night he gloried in uninterrupted sleep — no  being poked by needles, changing batteries in his heart monitor, being wakened at 4:00 a.m. to be weighed etc.  Then, breakfast in bed and back to sleep for four hours more!  After a very late lunch we took a little drive in the Prius, went to Jack’s to replenish our ice cream supply and will have a late steak dinner… just because we can!

My list of thank-yous to people is without end — for cards and messages sent; for food and limitless TLC for us both; for cheering and uplifting words and prayers.  We are ever grateful to each and every one of our wonderful friends, neighbors, even strangers who have reached out during this past difficult month.  Blessings to all of you!

O is for Over the Moon in Oz & O’ville

Sunday, April 3rd, 2022

Nyel by Deidre Purcell, 2015

The word is just in — Nyel comes home tomorrow!

Meanwhile — ‘O’ has been for Overload here.  The editor literally pulled my Spooky Stories book off the press and has given me 48 hours (beginning yesterday morning) to review the PDF, note the errors, supply substitute images (I think there are 22 photos plus 10-or-so drawings that need replacement.)  All I can say is… it’s a work in progress…

But… first and foremost — Bill and Sue are picking me up tomorrow a.m. and we are going to Oz to fetch Nyel!!!  Yay!!  (Did I say that my 6’2″ husband, who a few years ago weighed about 170, is now at 147 pounds and the wizards are hoping for still more fluid loss.  And when the doctors asked when he last weighed 150, he thought a minute and then answered, “Probably when I was 12.”)

Cast Members – “A Bag Full of Miracles”

Little Red Hen was still hanging in last night — had hunkered down on the floor below the nest boxes; apparently without energy enough to fly up to the roost.  Though it was late — about 10:30 I think — Slutvana (who was on the roost) was wakeful, keeping an anxious eye on her friend.

And one final FABUOUS part to report — The BEST NEIGHBORS EVER Tucker and Carol treated me last night to dinner and the theater — a great meal at the Compadre and an absolutely hilarious time seeing so many friends in “A Bagful of Miracles!”  I loved it all!  And I’m absolutely sure that one of the miracles that Rita has been toting around in that bag of hers had Nyel’s name on it!  How else do you explain an early morning call today with the joyful news!  Bill and Sue say they’ll be picking me up at seven ayem for the ride to Oz!  I am definitely over the moon!

Oz, O’ville, & bad juju you betcha-Day 23

Sunday, April 3rd, 2022


Tom Crellin House, 1869

From Oz — All Good News!  Nyel is responding well to oral meds and, if the gods continue smiling he will be coming home this week.

From Oysterville __ LRH came clear  out into the yard this morning, moving slowly (but aren’t we all?) and not too interested in food, but definitely on the mend if this trend continues.

From Arcadia Press in South Carolina — Finally! a PDF of my Spooky Stories book which, I am told has already gone to press.  This is the first I have seen of the book since I handed in my ten stories adapted from Ghost Stories of the Long Beach Peninsula last January.  Despite my requests for a proof, this  is  the first glimpse I have seen of the book which appears to be a “done deal.”  Of all the 30+ books I’ve had published over the past 40 years with at least six publishers, this is indeed a first.  I have asked that they literally stop the presses and kill the publication.  I’m not sure they will.

What upsets me the most are the illustrations, none of which I had input into.  Since the  stories are about real places and real people here on the Peninsula — some historic and some contemporary — and since I have photographs to go with almost all of them, it seems unconscionable that they are using “all images from Shutterstock” as they claim they do on the copyright page of the book.

My discussion with the editor was unproductive.  She said she’d never worked with an author who wanted to see a proof before it went to press… I seem to be one of a kind — but not in a good way.  The conversation was left unresolved.  I’m not sure she is going to stop the presses — or even try.  She’s probably not sure I’m going to seek legal counsel — or even try

Meanwhile I spent my afternoon reading through the entire 112 pages.  Here is my rough tally:61 pages (mostly all words, no drawings or photos) “OK”
41 pages – mostly photos; some drawings — totally unacceptable (as in why would the Solano, a four-masted American schooner, for which  photos exist, be shown as a three-masted-something-or-other in one picture and a non-sailing freighter in another????)
10 pages that I simply do not understand.

As usual — stay tuned on all counts!  At least it’s never dull around here…

“Reunion” in Oz – Day 21

Wednesday, March 30th, 2022

Jayden’s in South Bend

When I read the email from my friend Pat Moss yesterday morning saying she was going up to Seattle to the UW Medical Center and could she take anything to Nyel, my response was instantaneous.  “Yes!  Take me!!”  And then I asked, “When?” which, after all, was immaterial.  “Today,” was the answer.  “When can you get here?”  It was then 9 a.m.

I was in Ilwaco by 10:30, enough packed for two days and nights plus a library book Nyel wanted, some papers from Lum’s for him to sign and two or three of my wits along for good measure!  It was a leisurely trip up “the back way” with several stops enroute, including take-out sandwiches from Jayden’s in South Bend which were FABULOUS!  We caught the 4:15 ferry from Bremerton which put us in Seattle too late to visit Nyel that day, so here I am back at the Residence Inn.  I’ll catch the early morning shuttle to UWMC to see him.  Woot! Woot!

AND on that front… last evening the doctors began Nyel’s transition to oral meds so he can be untethered from the IV drips and, hopefully, stabilized and homeward bound in a few days.  I have alerted our “Beach-to-Oz Medical Transport” (Bill and Sue Grennan and their van) and it may well be that I’ll go home tomorrow with Pat and have only a day or two turn-around before coming back again to fetch Nyel and say farewell to Oz for a good long time (we hope.)

On The Ferry From Bremerton

On the home front:  As of last night, Carol W. reports that Little Red Hen is still hanging in — just sitting, almost comatose in the coop run.  On Teresa Millner’s suggestion, Carol made a mash of yogurt, poultry food, and water and took it to LRH.  “I stuck it under her beak so she could smell it and she began eating it right away,” Carol told me on the  phone.  “And Slutvana came right over to help her out!”  Nurse Carol left the bowl of mash with them so we will see what today’s report brings.

So, all-in-all, things are looking up for the Oysterville-Oz contingent.  We can’t thank all of you enough for your good thoughts, your prayers, and your encouraging words. We aren’t out of the proverbial woods quite yet but the clear skies over Willapa Bay are beckoning.  Stay tuned…

From the O-zones: O’ville & Oz! Days 17/18

Sunday, March 27th, 2022

Little Red Hen – Sunday Morning 3/27/22

If you’d have told me that I’d be writing on this day about…  but wait!  Let me start at the beginning.

When I went down to let the girls out and give them their morning treat, I found Slutvana pacing back and forth along the inside of the chicken wire fence, as usual, clucking noisily: “You’re late!  You’re late! You’re late!”  Little Red Hen, on the other hand was just standing there, beak to fence — not moving, not blinking.  I opened the gate, threw some scratch into the Cypress Garden and off went Slutvana like a shot (as usual.)  Little Red Hen remained, beak to fence — not moving.

I went back to the treat bin and brought her some meal worms (just for her) asking what was the matter and how could I help.   She expressed no interest — not in the meal worms and not in my worried questions.  She didn’t move a muscle or ruffle a feather.  Was she  sick?  Was she missing Farmer Nyel?  As you know, it’s always hard to tell with chickens.

Little Red Hen and Farmer Nyel In Plummier Days

I talked to her for a while, trying to reassure her that Nyel is in a specially designed coop for Farmer people who don’t feel well and that he’s slowly getting better.  I told her maybe he’d even be home by the end of the week…  Still she didn’t move.

So then I did what any good Chicken Farmer’s wife would do… I called Nyel, explained the situation and asked if he would talk to Little Red Hen if I held the phone to her ear.  Which he did when I did.  And that’s the part that never in my wildest dreams would I have anticipated doing…

She did move her eye toward the phone.  Just once.  Then she went back into the land of Catatonia.  Did she hear her beloved Farmer?  I don’t know.  What is her status now?  Again… I don’t know.  I haven’t yet had the courage to go see. I do believe in miracles, even among chickens, and I am surely hoping for one now.  Stay tuned.