As published in the White River Current - Thursday June 4, 2015
Many of you are familiar with the old story about the farmer who had to hit his mule in the head with a two-by-four in order to get his attention. Before I go any further, let me stop and introduce myself. My name is Reid and I am Reed’s alter ego. I will be writing the rest of this week’s column, No. 83 in the op/ed series, “Reed’s Rambling,” that has appeared in this publication on a bi-weekly schedule for about three years. Reed is a little, shall we say, “down in the mouth.” He has come down with another attack of Bell’s Palsy, a form of facial paralysis resulting from a dysfunction of the 7th cranial nerve causing an inability to control facial muscles on the affected site and often including the eye, which has happened in Reed’s case. Reed had an attack of this malady in the fall of 1996 and recovered completely in a few months. He expects the same prognosis this time. The 1996 attack affected the right side of his face and this time it is the left side. Certainly not life threatening, but more aggravating than anything else, affecting ability to speak properly, drink and chew easily or even spit (he can’t even say “spit”). The cause of this ailment is unknown (probably a virus) but it was first described in 1821 by Scottish anatomist, Sir Charles Bell. In Reed’s case, the analogy of the two-by-four and the mule is pretty close to describing his condition which has certainly gotten his attention. After careful consideration, Reed has made the decision that this will be the last Ramblings column. (Did I hear a big “Oh, No”?) I made him aware that he was shooting for No. 100 in just a few more months, but he said (and I quote): “When it’s over, it’s over.” He always liked to paraphrase a lot. His hopes are that one of you younger aspiring writers will step up with a new column, such as “Mary’s Mumblings” or perhaps “Don’s Drivel” or …..I think you get the point. Reed was very excited about finishing out the Ramblings with something a little new for him. He was planning to do personal interviews with several local residents, particularly those from “off.” For instance, interviews with Ed and David were to be entitled “You can call me Doctor.” The interview with Kim and John would have been “The Dog Walkers.” He was also planning columns on families that lived in Calico Rock when he was a boy. Reed is the last of the Calico Rock Perryman descendants so he was going to devote one column to his family. He had already interviewed Frances concerning the ancestors of the Wood family who were very well known in the development of our community. Reed feels terrible that he cannot continue with his projects, but, as he told me, even if his condition clears up in a few months it would still be difficult to get back into the rhythm of the series. He reminded me that this column really got started by accident when he wrote a tongue-in-cheek issue about the people from “off.” He got such a response that he agreed to write one more. Here we are at No. 83. Being his worse critic and liking some columns better than others, he gives the series a B-. He wants to thank all his readers for their kind remarks and encouragement and invites all to keep a look out for his “great American novel” or listen on the radio for his Christmas song. That is if he can drag himself away from this “pity party” and get back to work. I think he can do it but we will just have to wait and see. He says that he and Anita need to spend more time taking care of each other. They aren’t as young and active as they once were; last week they observed their 62nd wedding anniversary. Reed was a fan of the Carol Burnett show that aired on CBS from 1967 to 1978. Carol (who, by the way, has an Arkansas connection) always ended her show with a tune that was written for her by her husband, Joe Hamilton. These are the lyrics that Reed would like to use to bring the Rambling series to a close: “I’m so glad we had this time together, Just to have a laugh, or sing a song. Seems we just got started and, before you know it, comes the time we have to say SO LONG.” Goodbye and God Bless from your faithful rambler, REED.