Things I Don't Want to Write About
by John Armor
When you write a weekly column for 15 years, there comes a time when you have a column due, and only a handful of subjects you don't want to write about in your knapsack. Judge for yourself whether you want to read about a stolen hat, a blocked intestine, a frozen underground pipe, or how cold it's been the last two weeks.
The last subject can be handled quickly. In January of 1994 the workmen showed up to handle some inside work at my home, and Raymond Holland, who has a fine sense of humor, said that "it was cold enough to freeze crap in a chicken." I laughed and said, "Can you imagine how the switchboard would light up if Willard Scott said that on air? But everyone would have a clear idea of how cold it really was."
It is that cold again. Which is why the underground pipe from our spring to our house has frozen again. Which is why our lives are in the hands of our plumber, Drew, who is a prince among men, and who has solved the problem, again.
A blocked intestine is the human equivalent of the frozen water pipe. About the time that the house plumbing failed, so did my personal plumbing. So we called an ambulance to fetch me to the hospital. The more contact I have with the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital, the greater respect I have for that institution and the fine folks who work there.
We arrived at the Emergency Room shortly before midnight on Friday. I had no idea that the CT-scan machine would be manned and ready to go then, By 3:45 I had a proven diagnosis and a course of treatment. No, I'm not going to describe that course of treatment. Suffice to say it involved a fair amount of discomfort, the able and cheerful assistance of many staff people, and it resulted in total success that did not involve the use of heavy anesthetics and sharp knives.
Bottom line (pun intended), when you have what might be nothing, but might be something quite serious, get yourself to the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital and let them sort it out. They saved my life eleven years ago from a major heart attack. They saved my mother's life a decade before that, when she had an aneurysm that would have killed her if it had burst before the surgeon reached it.
Plus, the whole staff of that hospital are fine and able people. You will be relieved of stress and enjoy their company as they sort out what ails you, and send you on your way.
And that brings us to the stolen hat. I had a tan hat, with a tan leather band with "Biltmore" printed on it. It was my favorite hat, since my wife got it for me as a Christmas present, a year ago. Her mother encouraged that gift since she was here then. Any time that two different women tell you that you look "handsome" in a given article of clothing, well, that's that, and you must have it.
You can judge for yourself. It's the hat I'm wearing in the masthead photo. [Editor's note. Download this pdf file and view photo on page 7--TP]
On Wednesday, my wife and I went to the Rib Shack, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Old Edwards Inn & Spa, for lunch. I forgot my hat and left it behind. When we got home, I called, and they had the hat. But when we came in the next day to get it, the hat was gone.
Originally, the people at Rib Shack said, "We don't have any responsibility for that." Eventually, they acknowledged that it was a mistake to leave the hat on the hat rack next to the door, where any patron or employee who wanted a nice hat, could just snap it up and keep on going.
The hat may still be in the area. So, if you see a tan hat with "Biltmore" on the band, you could inquire about it. Or, if you took that hat, you could return it to Rib Shack (I don't think they'd make the same mistake twice), or to Kim Lewicki at the Highlands Newspaper, who took the photo at the top.
Getting the hat back is not as critical as the other items in this column. But it is sentimental since my wife and mother-in-law gave it to me for Christmas. I'll report back on the search for the hat, if it has a happy ending.
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About the Author: John Armor practiced law in the Supreme Court for 33 years. He now lives on the Eastern Continental Divide in the Blue Ridge of North Carolina. John_Armor@aya.yale.edu
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Monday, February 9, 2009