Monday, January 26, 2015

Travels with Sasha morning Day 7

It just dawned on me that I’m doing this backwards. I’ve been blogging in the morning which means I’m actually writing about the day before which is day six when today is day seven. And I’ve been journaling in the afternoon. Backwards, yes, but it’s because I can bring the notebook easier to the lounge/restaurant than the laptop.

When I work on writing the actual book, I’ll have to fix all this. For now, I’ll continue on with yesterday’s doings: 

Yesterday started off rough when I could hardly get out of bed. The pain in my back was excruciating which was surprising as I was comfortable lying down. Sitting up brought a gasp of pain. I could hardly walk and needed the walking stick and putting the other hand out to bed, suitcase, wall, door, etc. I was bent over like a 100-year-old lady. There was something about shifting my weight from lying on my side to being upright with the weight centered.  

But I knew from the past experience that once I was upright for awhile the muscles would relax and settle in to being vertical – the four ibuprofen helped, too. Still, it took awhile (and quite a few tears) before I could get cleaned up and dressed then even consider leaving the room. 

I did make it up to breakfast and a fabulous sunrise where I had some great conversation with staff and other customers. One woman was so impressed when I mentioned I was editor of a local newspaper back home and that I wrote a book. A little later she came up to my table and said she ordered the book from Amazon and asked to have a picture taken with me. Wow! I felt like a celebrity. (Don’t worry, the self-doubts won’t let it go to my head, ha ha.) 

I then went to their table to get photos of them and information. She and her fiancé were visiting her parents who live in Charleston. (I am getting better at talking to people and getting their pictures. Thank you, Gayle Hedrington, for pushing me to be brave and to Annette Vogel, who is helping me be better at writing and interviews.) 

Back in my room it took until noon to finish my weekly newspaper work. By then I needed to move and was able to get my big suitcase down to the laundry room. All the clothes fit into one washer and while that machine was running, I went outside for a walk around the parking lot. 

This hotel sits on the banks of the Ashley River between the north and south bound lanes of Rte. 17. I hobbled to the end of the parking lot to get photos of the bridge crossing the Ashley. Here was a case where there is one angle as seen from the top floor of the hotel, but at ground level, there are scrubby bushes that do not give a clear view.  

This happens often during driving when a nice view is seen, but when I stop and get out of the vehicle, the height difference doesn’t’ give a clear view. There are also times when an even lower view is needed and because of age and body condition, I am no longer able to scooch down, lie down, or get down embankments to get an angle I’d prefer for the photographs. 

I wandered to the left walking along a dirt lane where vehicles sometimes drive and there is some construction debris. What’s that beyond that big puddle? It looks like some kind of animal. I cautiously approached. Did it get hit by a car?  

It had dark brown with a darker face; looked like a ferret or ermine, about 18 inches long. She was curled in a ball. I spoke. “Hey, baby, are you OK?” She just barely opened her eyes. She didn’t pull back or act scared. “You poor thing,” I crooned. I touched her with my stick and she rolled back and I could see her belly. She looked OK. Her breathing was regular. I ran the stick lightly down her back in a pat. She turned around and curled back up in a ball and tucked her head down. Was she just taking a nap in the warm sun? I was concerned that someone might drive over her. Yes, this was at the far end of the parking lot and dirt, so people shouldn’t drive here.  

I continued on my walk and checked the bridge of the south bound lane. The angle was wrong for pictures. Oh, if I could just walk out into the middle of the four lanes, but traffic was heavy. I headed back. The little ermine was still sleeping. I patted her again with my stick and she stretched. I talked to her. I wanted to cry. She seemed OK, but why was she just lying here? I kept talking and watching and patting her a couple times. If my back wasn’t sore, I would have bent over to pat her. She again turned around and curled up for more snoozing. If she was dying, I didn’t want to watch. I walked away with tears in my eyes.

Someone else was using the dryer when I got back inside. A nice young man apologized and said he had to put the machine back on for a longer time. I sat at a computer in the lobby and played spider solitaire until the man told me he was done. I loaded the dryer and figured I had just enough time for the lunch buffet which closed at 2. (Staying at this hotel is not only costly to my budget, but with this restaurant, I tend to eat more.)

A lunch of Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, and peas and carrots filled me. The clothes weren’t dry when I got back to the laundry room. I hung out waiting. They were still a touch damp so back in my room, I spread things out on the beds and chairs to fully dry. My back was again hurting and I needed to sit. 

I went up to the lounge at 4 p.m. Aaron, the bartender, remembered me and immediately asked if I wanted a mai tai. Yes! I spent the next hour sipping, writing in my journal, and listening to conversations. There was a dark spot near that outhouse where I’d seen the ermine. I focused the camera. It wasn’t moving. I told Aaron about the encounter and he said how he was a softie where animals are concerned.  

A little later I looked and it was moving around. I called Aaron over to see. Others wanted to know what we were looking at and soon there were eight people looking out the windows. The creature wandered in circles like it was looking for something. She eventually moved out of sight as the shadows of evening descended. I can’t stop thinking about that poor little thing. To have her hang around like that… is she somebody’s lost pet? Did someone just leave her? Aaron said he wanted to rescue her. I hope he does. 

(I’m afraid to look this morning.)

I wasn’t really hungry, but when I saw that potato skins were on the happy hour menu, I couldn’t resist. They went well with a second mai tai and glass of water.  

I booked to stay another day here at the Holiday Inn Riverview.

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