Corpus Christi June 3,2021

Today is the feast day of the Body of Christ celebrated by Catholics, Anglicans and Greek Orthodox churches. Legend records the the city and bay of Corpus Christi was discovered in 1519 by a spanish explorer, Alanzo Alvarez de Pineda. He sailed into the lush tropical bay on the feast of Corpus Christi and named it to honor the feast day.

In the 1870’s the town became an important port for the delivery of cattle from the west to the eastern markets. The brochures for tourism label this sixth largest Texas city as the sparkling city on the bay.

In my first teaching position, several of the teachers wanted to travel for spring break to a warm area. Not to Florida, where the college crowd migrated. We had to drive to Corpus Christi ,TX and Padre Island.

Padre Island is two long barrier islands over 113 miles in length, the longest barrier islands in the world.

The fact that it was a sunny location in the spring called the 5 teachers to drive there. The trip took 2 days with a evening stopover in St. Louis. When we finally arrived , to our chagrin, the weather was cool and rainy. That weather continued till the day before we were to return.

We all hit the beach to get a quick tan. instead, we all had sunburns.

We were to be late getting back to our school jobs. I was coerced to call into the principal, Sister Theresa, to excuse us for an extra day. The others thought sister would take the news better if it came from me.

My second trip to Corpus Christi was 4 years ago. My husband and I were to travel down the east coast of Texas down to the border at Brownsville. We took our tandem and rode each day to explore cities and towns along the way.

We rented a mother in law apartment in Corpus Christi for 2 days. It was small enough to have been a single car garage. It fit our needs. I joked that I couldn’t get lost in it.

On our anniversary, we went out to a Mexican dinner. Our waitress asked us several questions about our selection. We realized we didn’t understand her with her thick accent. We smile and nodded our heads vigorously. I don’t remember what we had but I am sure it was interesting.

Whether you are celebrating the feast day or the city, a good time depends on who you are with.

**********

********

The Sparkling City on the Bay

From the native indians

to the first white man that beheld her,

A lush tropical oasis was discovered on

the feast of Corpus Christi.

Sailing into the bay, hoping for fresh water and supplies.

The explorers were grateful to make land safely.

Body of Christ, food for the soul and spirit, awaiting visitors

from land and sea.

Carol Farnsworth copyright 6/3/21

Return to Normal June 1, 2021

Many people were on the move traveling this weekend in the air and on the ground. Lifting of restrictions has the enhanced feeling of returning to normal.

Others view the lifting of masking and restaurats at 100% capacity as an indication of normality.

I have a more subtle clue.

Yesterday, I was sitting in my cedar chair listening to nature and man made sounds. I heard a sound that I haven’t heard for the last 16 monthes. The joyful tune of the neighborhood’s ice cream truck. I almost missed it amid the windchimes and laughter. But there it was, bringing all the nostalgia and memories. Like the time when I was young and I wanted a cone. I went into my Mother’s purse and didn’t know what bill I took out. I ran down and purchaased a cone and sat on the corner to eat it away from my mother’s eyes.

She was in the back yard in the recliner. I tried to rush into the house to replace the change. She must have heard me jingiling. I had no pockets but I had a top with an elastic bottom. She pulled at the bottom and all the change fell out.

Another time, we had just moved into our new home from the country and my husband heard the friendly jingle of the truck. He became excited and our 5 year old daughter did not have a clue , but she frantically followed her Dad as he gathered his wallet and ran outside. Soon, they both returned with an ice cream bar in hand.

My brother, Brian rents a Good Humor ice truck at his 4th of July picnic to feed the crowd of friends and neighbors.

All this quickly passed through my mind as I searched for my wallet.

Normality has returned. Below is a poen I wrote last summer when things were not normal.

Happy summer!

**********

********

Hearing is Believing

I rested on my back porch in my cedar chair.

To listen to the bird calls on this sultry afternoon.

Above the buzzing bees and bird song, I heard musical notes.

My memory tickled me for the source.

I bolted upright with recognization …the ice cream truck!

Opening the back door, I retrieved my wallet.

Hoping I was not too late, I raced to the front door.

Stopped. I looked towards my windchimes.

It was dancing wildly in the gusts of western wind.

No ice cream nor squeals of excited children.

Only the reality of a deserted street and a chime reminding me of happier days.

carolaspot@aol.com copyright 6-1-2021

Not Far From The Tree May 27, 2021

This is the story of when the speech pathologist has to deal with an articulation issue in her own child.

Ruth spoke her first word at 9 months. It was for calling her Grandma. She would curl her fingers towards herself while repeating,”Ga Ma, Gama” in a low voice. Her vocabulary and desire to talk outpaced her mouth muscles. She had difficulty with r and th , common articulation errors . But with the name Ruth Farnsworth, there was a problem.

I did not correct her but I would ask her to repeat a sentence if I didn’t understand her. I was her mother not her speech therapist.

In second grade, the school therapist put Ruth in an articulation group. She graduated in less than a year.

I believe that Ruth’s muscles matured to be able to make the correct sounds. The therapy training was to train her hearing to listen and produce the correct sounds.

The next year, one of Ruth’s classmates commented that she had lost her accent over the summer.

Like most things in raising a child, you research the options and make the best choice for your child. I felt that a different person to work with Ruth would keep her attention better than her mom.

If you have a child that has speech or language difficulties, have the child tested by a school therapist. You can work with that person as a team.

**********

********

What did you say?

Gama, Gama gesturing to come to her.

Grandmother comes running to the child.

“Gama is my best fwend,” Ruth explains.

When asked, “What is your name?”

She responds,”I’m Woof Fawoof”.

If asked again,she would repeat,”I’m Woof, Woof, Woof!”

I thought of this as I listened to her presetation on zoom.

carolaspot@aol.com

Better Speech and Hearing Month May 25, 2021

I have shared several stories about my days as a speech pathologist, but I haven’t explained why.

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month to promote and inforn the publice about communication skills. Besides working with children on articulation and language skills, speech pathologists may work with cognitive deficiencies, swallowing disorders and lip reading for hearing disorders.

ASHA is the professional organization for speech pathologists and audiologists. My story today is about doing hearing screening tests with non-verbal adults.

One of my duties at the adult day care and workshop was to test all clients ears once a year for decreased hearing.

Several of my clients were elderly and quiet. I was warned about Joe and his ability to strip quickly. I walked in to see a sweet smiling older gentlemen in his 60’s . We walked back to my office with no problems

I explained the head phones and that he would would hear different tones in his ears. I would push a button. The tones would get louder and softer. Joe would push a hand button to indicate when he heard a tone.

I started with the lowest tones because they are usually the easier to hear.

I looked up between the 500 herz and 100 hertz, Joe had stripped to his birthday suit and was smiling at me.

After a moment of shock and bewilderment, I walked to the door to call for a male aid. As I waited outside the room, I was at a loss how Joe stripped in less than 30 seconds.

When the male aid arrived, he helped to dress Joe and escort him back to his group’s room. As he left, Joe wiggled his fingers in a good bye wave.

The following year, my fellow pathologist had a turn with Joe. I explained what he had done to strip in the last testing session. I don’t think she believed me but during the test, she looked up to see Joe naked and smiling. After these incidents, we had a male do the hearing test. If Joe stripped, The test could continue to the finish before calling an aid.

Joe never stripped for a male tester.

If you are experiencing a decrease in ability to hear and understand speech, it is time for a audiological evaluation. But keep your pants on!

**********

********

Not what he seemed

He smiled as we walked

soft chair, wearing headphones, hears tones

I hear Joe’s button

looking up, Joe is smiling.

naked, his clothes on the floor.

carolaspot@aol.com copyright 5/25/21

Global Accessibility Awareness Day May 20, 2021

Today is the tenth anniversary of bringing digital accessibility as an important factor in good web design. Worldwide there are more than 1 billion people that have a visual, hearing , physical or cognitive challenges affecting their ability to use the internet.

When a webpage is designed with accessibility in mind, the changes also enhance the ability for all people to easiliy navigate web pages. Some issues to consider when evaluating web pages are following.

Low vision and blind individuals use voice over or a braille display to interact with web pages. They use a keyboard to launch commands not a mouse to scroll throught the links. A website should have more than color to denote buttons and links. If graphics or pictures are used, there should be a written discription of the graphic.

With hearing impaired persons, closed captions or transcripts should be include for any video elements. The captions should be in sync with the displayed video.

Physically challenged individuals may have devices that use alternate movements to scroll through pages and select links. They may need voice commands to navigate the web with Seri or other personal assistant devices.

Keeping your web page clean and uncluttered will help persons with cognitive issues. Empty links and buttons should be eliminated for easier scrolling.

It takes a short time to check your webpage for accessability but we will all benefit .

over 40% of individuals over the age of 65 have one or more accessibility challenges. Making your webpage more accessibile will open it to a larger number of consumers. People will return to sites that are easy to navigate.

For futher information

https://globalaccessibilityawarenessday.org/

**********

********

Accessibility

All people want to use the internet.

Citing issues with access.

Challenges even able bodied individuals.

Each group has different issues

Some need clean fonts

Some auditory cues.

Individuals desire access

But web designers put in bells and flashing lights.

In the body of page to catch attention.

Leaving some to miss important information.

In web design, access is good business.

Taking the time to allow all to use the site,

Yields many more consumers

Carolaspot.aol.com copyright 5/20/21

Motown Memories May 18, 2021

When I was a student teacher for special education, I was given many of the non-verbal children. One 5 year old boy still remains in my memory.

This small Downs child would not answer his teachers or even make a sound. I asked to have a parent/ teacher consult.

Lee’s Dad came to the school. He reported,”He’s is always singing around the house.”

“What is his favorite song?”

“Gladys Knight and the Pips,”Midnight train to Georgia.”

I changed my lessons to pair conversation with intonations. Sometimes I would repeat the phrases with him and other times I would ask a question for him to sing a response.

He was quiet at first but gradually, his voice became louder.

The reward for a good session was allowing Lee to listen to “The Midnight Train to Georgia.”

Instead of listening, Lee sang the words of the chorus at the top of his lungs. The song was paired with head and hangs movements. Lee could certianlly sing. The musical part of his brain trained his verbal brain to learn to talk.

Even today, when I hear that song,I see a little boy singing and strutting his stuff.

Here is a link to ,”Midnight Train to Georgia.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0F9lh8TiSM

**********

********

Motown Boy

Lee’s quiet.

Sitting, staring at nothing.

He is living in his head.

But play Motown and he starts to sing.

and struts!

copyright Carol Farnsworth May 18, 2021

National Frog Jumping Day May 13,2021

Looking over informal national days, I was intrigued. What was this all about? In my research, the celebration started in the 1930’s to highlight Samual Clements, affectionally known by his pen name, Mark Twain.

At the age of 29, he was fired by another newspaper to find himself broke and at a loss for a vocation. He visited a friend in Angel Camp, CA ,to see if he could get enough gold to pay his depts, instead he wrote the story, “The Jumping Frog of Calaverus County”. The story that made him a national and later an internationally known wirter and humorist.

The story of a simplistic owner of a jumping frog and the vagabond that tricked the owner into a wager and swindled him

The colorful characters and the antics of the gold rush was what the public craved. Clements retold stories he heard at the mining camp but with his own unique humor and style.

In Calaveris County there is a four day celebration ending with a frog junping contest. People dress up as the mining charactories and even Mark Twain himself.

We all could use a good laugh. To read the story click on the link below. Jump to it!

https://americanliterature.com/author/mark-twain/short-story/the-celebrated-jumping-frog-of-calaveras-county

**********

********

Frog Jumping

Look for a lean frog.

One with long legs.

Hold out a fly to tempt him.

I wager he will do fine.

Just keep people away.

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright May 13, 2021

A Twilight Zone Day May 11,2021

The start of the following story is true. The twist at the end is fiction. But the moral is true.

There was a young black mentally challenged man living with his foster mother since he was released from the state hospital , where he had been since birth.

His foster mother taught him many skills to keep himself and his room clean. He enjoyed helping with the laundry. He was meticulous in the way he folded towels and bedding. He would give a hug to his mother after they had finished the day’s work.

This young man was non-verbal. I worked with him to develop a picture book so he could point to needed items and answer simple questions.

An opening in a commercial laundry was found. Patrick seemed a perfect fit. The state subsidized his pay and training. Patrick did his job well. Even doing more work than some of his fellow workers.

One woman, who wasn’t the fastest worker, accused him of touching her. Patrick did touch her on the arm to get her attention to look at his picture book to communicate.

After the training period, Patrick was let go. He was sad he could no longer do the job he loved.

Below is the Twilight Zone story

***

Laundry Man

Patrick was happy in his new position. Clean laundry everywhere and he could fold it all! He set to work and had to be reminded to take breaks and lunch. While he touched several co-workers arms to ask them “where was the bathroom?” No one paid him any attention. He found a restroom but he used the ladies room by mistake.

A fellow worker looking to find a way to rid the laundry from Patrick, accused him of touching her and using the ladies room. Patrick was let go.

The next day, The large washers broke down. Laundry that had been neatly folded was scattered around the room. The woman that accused Patrick had the worse day. Her work was inspected and it was found wanting. She lost her job due to her own laziness.

Patrick smiled and continued to enjoy his home’s laundry.

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 5/11/21

National Nurses Day May,6, 2021

Nurses, like many other medical professionals, have worked long and hard this year. Some have given their lives to nurse others.

Though women have played a major role in births, holistic knowledge and caring of the dying, no formal training was offered until the mid 1900s.

Women were conscripted in the Revolutionary War to maintain cleaning and feeding and care of wounded soldiers. The women aquired medical knowledge by observation and hands on learning.

Formal nurse training was established by Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to graduate from medical school. Florence Nightingale established formal training for nurses during the Civil War. Nursing attracted volunteers such as Walt Wittmen, who nursed his younger brother and others in Washington hospitals. Part of his work was to write to families of the wounded on their behalf. His poem, “The Wound Dresser”, addresses the nursing of wounded and dying patients.

Here is a link to the poem.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/53027/the-wound-dresser

From handed down knowledge to the highly trained nurses of today, they are a work force of 3.5 million. They deserve our gratitude.

**********

********

A Nurse’s soft touch

Needed to start the healing

of body and spirit

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 5/6/21

Happy May, May 4,2021

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo. I have an interesting memory of this holiday. When I was in college, I had a hispanic roommate. She belonged to the Chicano Student Organization. I was allowed to work on their fund raisers, becouse of my roommate Connie. The group would have a dance with a live band. We would make frijoles , tamales, Mexican rice and beef pieces with burritos to sell and make money for the group. When the food was gone, we were allowed to join the dancing.

I was the only gringo in the place. I drew much attention from the young men. They talked sweetly to me, but in Spanish.

Finally, Connie went with me to the ladies roon. She explained, “Those young men are talking trash to you.”

“But why?” I responded

“They want to know what they can get away with if you don’t know Spanish.”

“What can I do?” I lamented.

Connie thought for a moment and said, “I will sit next to you at the table, If I kick you… slap whoever is talking to you.”

We returned to the dance, I was approached by a handsome young man. He smiled and spoke softly.

I felt my friend kick me and I slapped that man. He was shocked and moved away. This happened several more times before the consensus was I was to be respected because I understood their language. I was asked to dance with no bad language or groping. I had learned a lesson. Sometimes is in the meaning of the words not in the way they are spoken.

The following poem will appear in Spirit Fire Reveiw in May. I dedicate it to Connie and all her friends.

**********

********

The Rosary Tree

by Carol Farnsworth

In an old pueblo church’s garden,

stands a small mesquite tree, a bench and a grotto protecting the Blessed Mother statue. The tree was festooned with many rosaries. Sunlight reflected like tears on the beads.

Large and small, colored stones and crystals, hand made and elaborate, they hung as silent witnesses.

A long black beaded one for the father who prayed on his way to work. Smooth polished wooden beads for the mother,

who prayed on her morning walks.

Two small first communion rosaries were interwoven for the twins who received them as gifts.

I watched as a teenager stood up from the bench and placed her rosary composed of rose quartz on a high limb of the mesquite.

I asked her, “Who are your prayers for?”

She quietly replied, “For my Abuela, her name was Roseta”.

This tree of memories of lost friends, neighbors and family has grown heavy with the prayers and memories of them this year.

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 5-3-21