I hope everyone had a great weekend. As so often happens, mine was spent in large part at the Winnsboro Center for the Arts. On Saturday there was a concert with Beyond the Pale, a wonderful band that does a mix of Celtic, Americana and Folk, with a polka or two thrown into the mix. We had a hand-clapping, foot-stomping good time.
Then on Sunday we had our volunteer/membership appreciation social where we celebrated all the people who give of their time and talent, and resources, to keep the art center going. WCA is a non-profit organization run entirely by volunteers and supported by donations, so these dedicated people are our life blood. It was great to be able to tell them how much we appreciate their support.
WHAT I’M READING – Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls. This is a wonderful book, based on the life of the author’s grandmother who was an incredible lady, facing great hardships and many challenges in the 1920s. I was particularly drawn to the book because it starts with Lily working with her father on a ranch training horses. I stayed with the book because it became an engaging story with a terrific central character who persevered. I loved her bits of wisdom such as this:
When someone’s wounded, the first order of business is to stop the bleeding. You can figure out later how best to help them heal.
The following story – celebrating a particularly strong woman – was fist covered by Skip Hollandsworth for Texas Monthly Magazine in 2009. The Dallas Morning News is doing a special Sunday series, reprinting some of the best and most interesting stories that once appeared in that magazine, and Still Life was featured on August 9th.
Ann McClamrock was 54 years old when her son John was injured in a football accident on October 17th 1973 in Dallas Texas. John a 17 year old JV football player was a dedicated, determined football player and didn’t hold back when he made the tackle that changed his life. His neck snapped, and he suffered a severe spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the neck down.
At first doctors thought John would not even live, but when it became clear that he would, the doctors advised Ann to put him in an institution where he could get the 24/7 care he needed.
Ann said, “No.” She was taking John home.
So she did, and for nearly 32 years she cared for John.
Every morning before sunrise, she got out of bed, did her makeup and hair, put on a nice dress or pantsuit, dabbed perfume on her neck, and walked into John’s room. She shaved him, clipped his nails, brushed his teeth, gave him a sponge bath, shampooed his hair, and scratched his nose when it itched. She fed him all his meals, serving him one bite of food after another, and she taped a straw to the side of his glass so that he could drink on his own. She changed his catheter and emptied the drainage bag when it filled up with urine, and she dutifully cleaned his bottom as if he were a newborn whenever he had a bowel movement. To prevent bedsores, she turned him constantly throughout the day, rolling him onto one side and holding him in place with pillows, then rolling him onto his back, then rolling him to his other side—over and over and over.
Throughout those years, Ann never let her dedication or love falter. She greeted John with a smile every day and always told him how proud she was of him. The family had little. They lived on Social Security disability benefits and a small amount of insurance money , but Ann never let the circumstances diminish her spirit.
So today I tip my glass to Ann McClamrock and her commitment to family that challenges us all to be just a little bit better at caring for our own.
Do you know someone who has shown great dedication to their family? I’d love to hear their story, so do leave a comment.