“He’s Not For You”
By Barbara Dexter
I decided it was time to replace the “F.O.R.D.” as it is costing a lot of money to keep in working order. It seemed that once my decision was made my “F.O.R.D.” let me down again. I decided it was for the last time. I drove to a Subaru dealer that had a manual shift Forester in stock. I drove a few cars that day and then went home to think about it. I applied for a loan with my credit union and when I received the approval shortly thereafter I called the salesman to let him know I wanted the manual shift Subaru Forester.
I didn’t quite have possession of the Subaru when I received a call at work from my younger sister, G. I knew the call was important since for one my younger sister does not call and does not keep in contact with me and two she called during working hours. I found out my mother had been rushed to the hospital after what they suspect was a heart attack. Yes it is the dead of winter, January to be exact, when I rented a car to drive to Maine or as I like to call it the “frozen north”. By the time I arrived in Northern Maine, my mother had been released from the hospital. I was told she had a hole in her heart. My younger sister was at my mother’s place sitting at the kitchen table with her and talking. I asked what the plan was and if there was a special diet or something that she should be on at this point. My mother lost it and said she doesn’t know anything, in fact the doctor’s office doesn’t tell her anything and that she needs to wait for a letter. I decided it was not good to raise her blood pressure and decided to let it go.
G. went home a day or two after my arrival. It was at this time that my mother told me of her appointment in Bangor to get an oil change and new ignition harness on her car. I told her I didn’t think she shod be driving, at least until she felt better. It was like her world had ended. She said she felt well enough to drive. Mind you driving distances in Maine are not short. That is probably why they coined the phrase “you can’t get there from here” to describe the area. I said I would go with her to her car appointment because I didn’t want to make her more upset and I didn’t want her to be driving alone. I figured if I was able to keep her from hitting another car or a person, I had done my duty by her. So we loaded Casey, my dog, in the car and took off for Bangor, we checked in and proceeded to the waiting area. A nice man asked to pet my dog and I said sure, because Casey is friendly and enjoys attention. I made small talk about my dog to the man. Then all of a sudden my mother leans over and states in a loud voice “he is not for you”. I see the man cordially back away and look bewilderingly at my mother. I look at my mother and tell her “that was not nice”. She states “I can say anything I want”. Well that put me in my place. I felt a wise comment coming on and let it go. I said to my mother, “if I was going to pick up a man where was I going to take him your place?”
Well we returned home without any further events. When we arrived back we noticed a phone message on my mother’s answering machine. She plays the message, it was from her doctor’s office calling to check in on her and schedule an appointment. My mother says she is not going to call them back. I tell her the doctor’s office is obligated to check on her since she was just released from the hospital and she should call them back. Well she does call them back and decided to give them a piece of her mind. She states that they are “just a money making scheme and will not make an appointment with them.” I do believe I finally understand why they do not call her. She tells them off. My older sister, H., arrived a short time later. I told her about the doctor’s office message and what mom said over the phone to them. She said she finally understood what was going on and that she only gets little bits and pieces from mom. H. and I agree to share our little bits and pieces and hope to get the full story to decide how best to care for our mother.
A couple of days later, I return to New Jersey. I pick up my new car. I am enjoying the four wheel drive, but to be honest I haven’t driven a stick shift in at least fifteen years. I’m wondering what I was thinking. Yes I remember now, when the brakes failed on the F.O.R.D. I decided that at least if I owned a manual transmission vehicle I could downshift and be in more control. I gradually gained the control I was searching for as I gained more ease and confidence with the stick shift.