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Scenes from a Country Road

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Mini-update: Mandated X-ray showed no kidney stones. Well, good. They sent me home empty-handed. I get to feel like twice-baked crap for another day, then I have to go back into town tomorrow to be told what I already know: I have a kidney infection. No duh. NOW can I have my antibiotic? That's what I get for assuming it was an open-and-shut case of complain, get scrip, gulp pills, move on. Self-Diagnosing Science Chimp, struck down by hubris. Never get sick in August. The doctors are all on vacation, and the nurse practitioner doesn't have time to talk to you.

There are at least two Lebanon, Ohio’s. This is not the big one. Most people never pass through this Lebanon, unless they’re heading to Rolling Ridge Berry Farm. Ever notice how places named Lebanon and Bethlehem and Bethel and Sharon--all those holy site names--seem to be heartbreakingly beautiful?

I wonder if they still repair RCA televisions at Hamilton’s. I’m thinking not, but you never know. You could probably buy Slim Jim’s there, though. You don't see many asbestos shingles any more...not that I'm nostalgic.

This little building, with its lilac sentinel, pulled at my heart. I thought of Kate Wolf’s 1977 song, The Lilac Bush and the Apple Tree:

A long time ago we were planted by hands
That worked in the mines and the mills,
When the country was young and the people who came
Built their homes in the hills.

But now there are cities, the roads have come,
And no one lives here today.
And the only signs of the farms in the hills
Are the things not carried away.

Broken dishes, piles of boards,
A tin plate, an old leather shoe.
And an Apple tree still bending down,
And a Lilac where a garden once grew.

thanks to Mikey DG for the lyric link and the CD!

After we picked berries, we wound back down the country roads, seeing wonders all along the way. First was some Queen Anne’s lace, fiercely backlit by the dying sun. Light is everything, everything, everything.

An odd-colored cow stuck her tongue out at us when we implored her to raise her head.

A thin bay horse raised his for a moment, then went back to grazing amongst the Queen Anne’s lace. No wonder he’s thin—the beautiful weed was thick in his pasture, and nobody likes to eat it.

I was so enthralled with the photo opportunities along the township road that I went too far and missed my turn on the county road. I think it must have been Fate’s hand, because I was able to help a box turtle finish crossing the pavement before I discovered my error. He had been manhandled years ago by a car, a coon or coyote; you can see the asymmetry of his spinal ridge toward the rear, and the chewed spots on the fringe. It’s hard to find an older box turtle around here who doesn’t tell a sad story with its shell. But he was heavy and bright and could close up well, so I left him with dinner, safe in the woods.

As the evening was dying and we neared our home, we spotted a neighbor, out with her baby. He looked so happy to be alive, and he gave us a goofy wet smile, kicked and wiggled, smooth and plump as a blueberry. He reminded me of a card Ruthie the NatureKnitter sent (along with a hand-knitted bison wool neckwarmer!) that said,
"I hope that I never become so used to the world that it no longer seems wonderful."**

**I would like it even more with drugs.


Neat post, Julie! I hope you're on the mend - that is definitely NO fun.

You should have gone to a vet - we would give you antibiotics WHILE we waited for the lab results. Of course, if you peed on the carpet a couple of times, BOTB might have insisted on meds!

~Kathi, offering up sympathy and a freeze-dried liver treat

PS: I live near a Bethel and not too far from the other Lebanon. Neither of them is that beautiful, I'm sorry to say.

Hi Kathi,

I'm already getting grief from a friend about Bethlehem PA. Maybe I spoke too soon.

And I DO pee on the carpet, but nobody pays any attention but Chet Baker. Sniff.

This post is hilarious, cute and has great pictures. It reminded me a little of James Harriot's writing. When are we going to see another one of your books? My husband got me your book for Christmas and I read it in a couple of days. I've been following your blog since, not always posting, just lurking and enjoying.

Sandy A.

Your writing is wonderful.
(I'm also partial to Bostons!)

Love that blueberry baby. What a cutie--and your description fits him perfectly

Hi Julie, Sorry to hear you're feeling puny. Welcome to the backside of the over-medication boomerang cycle. One would think though that Science Chimp with Harvard credentials would get the benefit of the doubt. Sadly no.

Agree that Bethlehem, PA, is not beautiful (old steel mill town). However I think the other Lebanon has some high points but the Cincy-Day merge will probably eradicate those. Bethel however is just post; don't know post what but it's definitely post. But it sits on a fabulous aquifer.

Anyway, get well soon. Do you do homeopathy? Two friends who endure chronic kidney-UTI misery found immense relief while waiting for lab results. Just a question, it's not for everybody.

Oh, that baby. And the photos along the way. Julie, you wrap your arms around the best. But I must say I melted into a pile of goo that you left that turtle a blueberry dinner for two. I would'a done that, too.

I think you feel like twice-baked crap because you need a rest. Now you have it.


Oregano Oil ... try oregano oil. I use Joy of the Mountain Oregano Oil for any number of maladies ... it's worth a shot. Truly!

Yeah, we were recently in West Lebanon NH and it was no great shakes visually (though the road food was good). But the thing is, the real places these towns after named after are beautiful. And heartbreaking. Which I guess is why we keep recreating them wherever we go.

I guess country roads are similar no matter where you live..... your pictures look similar to some roads I've traveled here in Minnesota.

I hope you're feeling better soon (would copious amounts of cranberry juice help? that's my cocktail of choice for all things kidney-related)

My husband had kidney stones three times, the last time they used laser to break them up, still had to pass the pieces. I can't find your email to thank you for your email.

Get well soon Zick.

Jared from Texas

Dang, seriously? I thought she probably already called you in something. ACK. So sorry you are still suffering Julie. Once you've had a UTI, there pretty much no mistaking it. Hope you get something today.

The trip down the country road is never ordinary when it's through your eyes. Beautiful.

All too often the quaint little towns are refurbished to become commercial ventures.
Such is the case with the Lebanon, OH next to me. A beautifully historic town, now overrun with subdivisions and Super-Walmart.

I'd love to find a place to pick B-berries in August. We used to pick every summer in NY--haven't found a place that's open since the big OH move.

The gesture of kindness to the boxturtle, so sweet. What a prize for him!

Lovely. Each word and photo in this post gives me goosebumps. Thank you for the trip down an old, country road. You were meant to be there to save the turtle and to treat him to a scrumptious breakfast.

I hope you are on meds by now and getting back to your fiesty self.

I'll take an infection over a stone any day.
I've had many and passing them is brutal.

Get well.

I hope this post finds you feeling better, God Bless you.

Better living through pharmacology, I always say! I hope that your drugs kick in soon! Kidney infections are no fun at all (and nothing to mess aorund with!)

I forgot tomention the "odd colored cow." My grandparents lived in SW PA, not that far from you, really just a spit with wind-assist. Anyway, many of their neighbor dairy farmers kept a "blue cow" to mix her milk with their Holsteins or Ayrshires or Jerseys. Supposedly it "balanced" their milk but this is folk wisdom, that doesn't mean it's wrong but I know the Ag Extension Service dreads visiting this county. Those "blue cows" looked exactly like your photo.

Maybe your nurse practioner reads your blog.

Hey there,
I love your blog! After four years in Oberlin, I had no idea Ohio could be this beautiful. Shame on me! I look forward to reading more and seeing your beautiful pictures in the future.
Oh, and I'm glad you enjoyed the beet cake!

The Lilac & The Apple Tree is my favorite Kate Wolf song, and I always have to sing it when I pass one of those overgrown homesteads out in the country. And for some reason it always makes me tear up.

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