When Rain Hurts by Mary Evelyn Greene

August 1, 2010

August 1, 2010


Home from the Vet (Scout, July 31, 2010)

August 1, 2010.  Friday began a blizzard of excitement, danger and exhaustion that continues to whirl around our lives for the third straight day.  I testified at our Due Process Hearing from 10 to 4 on Friday, doing my best to convey as honestly but pointedly as possible the school district’s unacceptable conduct over the past 3 years and the ensuing, and tragic, impact its had on our son.  Sophie’s theater debut was also Friday night, the culmination of a month-long camp.  A friend picked her up because our hearing wasn’t over in time to get her to the theater by the appointed hour.  When I called to wish her luck, she informed me that I didn’t need to tell her to “break a leg” because she had been stung in the underarm by a wasp an hour earlier and was therefore already injured.  Poor baby!  Pat and I raced home from the hearing to pick up Grandma, Peter, and Lindy.  We grabbed a quick bite and then drove the 7 miles to Rhinebeck a good 90 minutes before show time because we had to wade our way through the mob of paparazzi and gawkers trying to catch a glimpse of the famous.  Yes, it’s true.  Our little neck of the woods has been taken over by the likes of Oprah, Ted Danson, Madeleine Albright and the former first family.  Chelsea Clinton married yesterday, and many of the guests, including dignataries, are staying in what’s touted as the oldest inn in America, which happens to be directly across the street from the theater where Sophie made her grand debut!  During the lunch break on Friday, our hearing officer drove to Rhinebeck to drink in the scene and returned with a photo of Bill Clinton on his cellphone.  Apparently the former President exited his motorcade directly in front of him.  What a crazy day.  Streets were closed, parking was a challenge, vendors were selling t-shirts that said “The Wedding” (no kidding), and police officers congregated at every possible turn.  Nonetheless, the show managed to open without a hitch, more or less.  I was so nervous for Sophie, who had lots of little parts, ranging from a thief, a dressmaker, a bird, to a sack of straw, that my heart caught in my throat every time she walked onstage.  But the show was wonderful in the way that any production involving 22 kids and a gifted director-teacher is bound to be: colorful, exciting, hilarious, creative, and inspired.  Sophie jumped into my arms with exuberance afterwards and melted all the difficulties of the day away.  Peter behaved beautifully the entire time, which was icing on an already scrumptious cake.  Despite her exhaustion, Sophie insisted on getting up bright and early for her swim meet yesterday morning, which Pat and I had been on the fence about because the second performance was last night and the final matinee is this afternoon.  But the day was one of those gloriously rare mid-summer gifts where the humidity disappears, the temperature drops, and the sky is a brilliant blue, without a hint of the heat-induced haze that so often shrouds the horizon, and so I didn’t protest too much.  Fighting through her fatigue and still-sore underarm, Sophie managed to win two of her four heats, which is always exciting because she gets an on-the-spot ribbon.  The day took a stormy turn however when Pat called shortly after her second race.  He and Peter had left early so that he might steal a few hours work before commencement of Round 2 of The Clinton Wedding v. The Cocoon Theater’s Grimm Tales.  A few minutes later my cell phone blared, the panicked expletives flying across the wireless network the second I said hello.  When he was calm enough to speak, my heart sank as I realized Pat was telling me that he ran over our cranky but beloved Scout, a 15-year old Jack Russell Terrier, in the driveway.  Peter had told him that Scout was behind the car and out of danger but she wasn’t.  “The sound, the shrieking cry, I knew right away what I’d done!”  Pat was already on the way to our vet when he called and didn’t know how badly she was hurt.  All he knew was that her back left leg was bleeding and she was conscious.  I didn’t want to tell Sophie during the meet, especially since I assumed we’d be putting her down.  Scout’s been ill with a kind of doggie encephalitis for years and though she keeps springing back, bout after bout and to our vet’s amazement, I doubted she had the strength to survive this latest catastrophe.  But Sophie overheard me on the phone when Pat called back to tell me the vet was examining her.  She burst into tears with the news, which of course triggered the waterworks in me too.  “What can I do, Mommy?” she pleaded.  I suggested we offer a little prayer.  It’s all I could think to say.  And then my little girl did something that took my breath away.  Right there on the deck of the pool, with frenzied activity all around us, she solemnly clasped her hands together, put them to her lips and nose, and closing her eyes, bowed her head in silent prayer.  For that moment, the world around us disappeared, and I watched in awe as Sophie, still wearing her swim cap and goggles, quietly begged for Scout’s life.  I hugged her so tightly when she was through that her wet form left an almost exact imprint on my clothes.  When the phone rang again, Sophie’s tears began anew but this time the news was good: Scout would be okay.  Nothing was broken, no ligaments torn, but she did have a significant gash on her paw that required 12 stitches.  Our vet was amazed, especially given her age and precarious health.  She would need anesthesia to be sewn up, and she was in significant pain – the lacerations went all the way to the bone, but with antibiotics and pain medication, she should heal.  When I told Sophie the great news, she asked to speak to Daddy so she could hear the prognosis herself.  Relieved but still unsettled, she kissed me goodbye when it was time for her next race.  Yelling over her shoulder, grim-faced and determined, she announced “this one’s for Scoutie.”  She won her heat by half a pool length, matter-of-factly delivering her ribbon to me for safe-keeping as she wrapped herself in a towel.  By mid-afternoon Pat was home with a doped-up Scout, affording Sophie a few hours of vigil before it was time yet again to leave for the play.  Pat, who is still a mess over the accident, stayed home to nurse the dog, and I took Peter with me to the performance.  The stress of the day showed however, because Sophie started barking orders onstage, under her breath but clearly audible, whenever one of the other children missed a cue or line.  It was funny, I laughed along with everyone else, but I knew the antics were born from the day’s traumatizing events.  As soon as the show was over, Sophie ran out to ask how Scout was doing.  She also told us that the director had the kids walking outside before the performance and the spectacle, 22 ducklings in a row, caught the attention of one of the newscasters hoping to catch a glimpse of the Clinton elite.  “We’re going to be on TV, Mom!”  Whew, what a day!  Sophie was dead asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow but Pat and I had a restless night because Scout was feeling lousy and couldn’t stop whimpering.  One more performance to go this afternoon and then we’re through.  Until Wednesday, that is, when Peter turns nine and the Due Process Hearing resumes for three more days.

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8 Comments »

  1. Wow! What a busy few days! And what great stuff from Sophie! Happy almost Birthday to Peter! Good luck with the hearings!

    Comment by Claire — August 1, 2010 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

  2. This post has left me breathless! Tragedy and triumph intertwined. It reminds me of Walter Cronkite’s old history tv program, You Are There, which I’m sure you’re far too young to remember. Maybe you weren’t even born yet. But, he always ended it with the refrain: “What sort of day was it? A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times… and you were there.”

    Best of luck with everything.

    Comment by Kathleen — August 1, 2010 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

  3. I also meant to say that Sophie seems to be your reward for all you have done for her and for Peter. She is your little Renaissance Girl. What a champion! Blessings on her–and Scout.

    Comment by Kathleen — August 1, 2010 @ 3:36 pm | Reply

  4. Glad your furry family member is doing OK. They need to live longer as they usually bring such uncomplicated joy to our daily lives.

    Comment by Victoria Campbell — August 1, 2010 @ 3:41 pm | Reply

  5. Oh, poor Scout and poor PAT! That has got to be a terrible feeling 😦 So glad it looks like the pup will be okay, and awwww ❤ Sophie…Happy (almost) birthday to Peter!

    Comment by MFA Mama — August 1, 2010 @ 3:58 pm | Reply

  6. Mary,
    Excellent post. I felt as though I were there, and when little Sophie bowed her head and prayed, I prayed with her!!! God is so good, caring for ALL that concerns us! Thanks for sharing, and doing it so beautifully. Now I’m going to pray that Pat’s sleep is kind without visions of running over the family dog! Please know that we (myself and my book team) are in earnest prayer that the truth would plant in the heart of the one presiding over the proceedings, that you would have favor in the courtroom and that justice would rule out over the schemes of the unjust! Hang in there…
    Kim

    Comment by Kimberly — August 1, 2010 @ 9:43 pm | Reply

  7. God Bless your Family, Mary. You have so much going on and you are handling it so well. I think of your mom and dad they would be so proud of you ! Much Love , Debbie Sinden

    Comment by Debbie Sinden McMenamy — August 5, 2010 @ 9:02 pm | Reply

    • Thank you so much, Debbie. You don’t know how much those words mean to me. How strange that my life has brought me to this place. But it has and we all have our challenges, as I know you well understand. I sure do miss seeing you and I hope you are well. If you have a chance sometime, I would love an update on Betsy. I miss her dearly. Much love, Mary

      Comment by whenrainhurts — August 10, 2010 @ 8:10 am | Reply


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