Does everything happen for a reason?

Last weekend Rhonda and I went to North Carolina for a much anticipated High School Graduation Class Reunion. We arrived at our reserved motel on Friday evening, and I settled in with a book of the county history from the motel office. As I gazed at it, my eyes suddenly began to cross and I was seeing double. I started to rise and felt dizzy. I lay down, thinking the problem would soon go away. I had had short episodes with this in the past.

Soon I felt some better and decided that a good night’s sleep was all I needed. At 4:00 AM I awakened to find that the symptoms had intensified. I asked Rhonda to drive me to the ER of the local hospital. Once there, they began immediately to treat me for vertigo. The nurse assured me I would be well and on my way to the reunion that evening. Not so. After hours of failing to improve and even after IVs with more meds, they decided they wanted an MRI, but had no tech on duty, so they called the larger city, Asheville, for permission to transport me there. Rhonda followed the speeding ambulance, almost losing them at times.

Late that evening they told me the MRI was normal, and that some cases of inner ear problems are slower to go away. I had not been able to eat all day, and finally at about 8:00 they brought me a box lunch. At 9:00 I was dismissed, as my symptoms were improving. So much for my reunion. Rhonda had been in touch by phone with one of my classmates who relayed my situation to the class. I had been scheduled to speak, and one of my books was given by our class president as a door prize.

I was really surprised by the outpouring of well wishes I have received over the past week. One of my best friends in elementary school called and told me of the rush of memories he had felt while reading Beyond the Thistle Patch, my book of childhood memoirs which I had dedicated to our class. We talked for quite some time. Several called, while others emailed. One, female classmate who is now a doctor, sent a card signed members of the church she attends.

“That must be why that happened,” Rhonda told me yesterday. “It brought you closer to some of your classmates than if you had been there.”

I don’t know about that diagnosis, but it may be right. I might not have realized how much some cared. It’s just good to see that after 50 years, the bonds still hold.

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Busier than a one-armed paper hanger

One of the cliches in my popular book, Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions is “Busier than a one-armed paper hanger. The entry reads like this:

Busier than a one-armed paper hanger

This humorous analogy has been in common use in the U.S. since at least the early twentieth century. Sometimes it is expanded to say, ‘with hives’ or ‘on a windy day.’ The meaning is clear, too busy for one’s own good. Despite the fact that someone who writes useless checks is also known as a ‘paper hanger,’ this applies to the obvious—hanging wallpaper—a task which requires both hands to perform properly.

An early example is found in St. Nicholas, an illustrated magazine for boys and girls, Volume 45, Part 2 by Mary Maples Dodge, in a section called Daddy Pat’s Letters from the Front, 1919:

“Daddy has been busier than a one-armed paper-hanger, and it has been awful hard to find time to write.” 

Well, as of late it seems that I have been about that busy, and unable to “get my head together” to do regular entries.

I am currently working on three books from three different authors and expecting more. Add to that other obligations what is coming up like a class reunion in North Carolina, and vacation and research in New England for the book series, Exploring Our Exciting World, well…this is going to get worse. Then I will be having surgery and be incapacitated for several weeks. Oh well, that’s life, and I enjoy mine immensely.

In the meantime, visit our website at and order a great book. You can also find them at all Amazon sites around the world, or order them from your favorite book retailer.

My best to all!.