I just spent time with an old friend and she reminded me of a wonderful experience we shared 34 years ago.

My friend, Jane, lived in my apartment building in New York City, a few floors down. She had a two-year old and was pregnant with her second child, due in a month. Her husband was out of the country. So I volunteered to be her support system if she went into labor before he got home.

You can see where this is going. I got the call around 4:20 AM. Jane had been having contractions for hours and the doctor finally told her to go to the hospital. My then husband brought Jane’s toddler to our apartment to wait for her grandmother to arrive to take care of her. I was taking Jane to the hospital.

Penguin giving birth

We got down the elevator to the lobby and I ran down the very long corridor between the elevator and the front door. The plan was to get a taxi ASAP. I ran outside to find the streets totally deserted. There had just been a major blizzard and there wasn’t a single car on all of Park Avenue. That was very rare and very inopportune. I ran back inside to tell Jane but she hadn’t made it to the lobby. I found her half way down the long hallway in a chair. Her water had broken and she felt an overwhelming desire to ‘push’.

I got her to the lobby and immediately called for an ambulance. My main job was to keep Jane from pushing the baby out right there in the lobby. The ambulance seemed to take forever so I called again. I was told that it was on it’s way. But then the operator added “Don’t let the woman in labor go to the bathroom. And whatever you do, DON’T CUT THE UMBILICAL CORD!” Umbilical cord! WTF?!!!

I’d had a baby myself, but my son was born 8-½ weeks early – the day before my Lamaze class was scheduled to start!! So I knew nothing about breathing or the stages of contractions and even less about umbilical cords. I was panicked, to say the least.

The ambulance finally came. But we had to drive slowly because the medics were afraid that hitting a pothole could catapult the baby out like a cannon ball. Miraculously, we made it to the hospital and even to the maternity floor hallway.

The doctors and nurses on call started discussing whose patient Jane was and who would handle her case. Jane suddenly propped herself up on her elbows and announced “I’m sorry, but the baby’s coming!”

All of a sudden there was a flurry of activity around Jane and cries of “Oh my God! The head! The head is coming!” And out came Sarah!. In the hallway with me standing right there next to Jane! The staff ran off with the baby and wheeled Jane into the OR. Her doctor eventually arrived, but he’d had a hard time getting to the hospital at all.

So I got to see a baby born the way most father’s do. Standing next to the mother and watching the miracle happen. Usually women witness birth from a different angle – the other end of the birthing canal. This was an exhilarating experience!

Jane gave me a scallop shell silver pendant as a thank you. I still wear it all the time. It’s very special to me because it reminds me of the wonder of birth and the meaning of true friendship.


I hear that Catalpa are hard to grow, but around here, they grow like weeds. That is not figurative. They grow everywhere, especially where you really don’t want a tree. I’ve had to have two of them removed from the front garden because I was afraid their roots would invade my well. Tree roots can completely ruin a well and replacing it can be more expensive than you imagine possible.

Blossoming Catalpa flowers

We have several big Catalpa and they are blooming. When we come out of the house, our car is covered with flowers. That’s a really positive experience considering some of the other things we’ve had covering our car.

Full bloom

Maybe another week before they are just green trees. Tomorrow, I’ll go outside with my long telephoto and see if I can get some closeups.

I should probably mention that these are northern catalpa which appear to have spread out from their original home in Ohio.

Flower of the Day


A few ugly words about Andrew Jackson, our seventh president

Andrew Jackson was our despicable 7th American president. He did a pretty good job of undoing much — maybe most — or what all previous presidents had accomplished and it took decades to repair the mess. He hated the government, all six presidents who preceded him, and most especially, John Quincy Adams (son of John Adams).

He slaughtered whole nations of Native Americans. Destroyed the National Bank to the degree where it actually went out of business. Destroyed his opponents who had the gall to impugn his relationship with his wife — which wasn’t nice, but didn’t require he take down our entire government as reparation.

He was an evil bastard. Hateful, angry, close-minded. I don’t know what — if anything — he believed in. He was full of bile and loathing for democracy, freedom, and everything American. After he was (finally) elected, he did his best to tear it all down.

He believed in slavery, male dominion, and mass slaughter. In allowing everything to fall apart rather than taking any action to fix it. He didn’t care whether or not his actions ruined the economy or destroyed nations. He paid no account to the electorate or the country for whom he supposedly stood.

And his idiot supporters adored him, even as their world came crashing down around their ears.

He reminds me of someone currently in office. I wonder who?

LEARN LIBERTY has a nice piece about Jackson and if you like to learn history by googling around sources, there are plenty more to find. The important thing to note was that no matter how terrible the man really was, his followers adored him. He literally could do no wrong. He is, to date, the only mass murderer to occupy the White House … and he was proud of it.


Just when I had lost hope, I peered out the door and there were roses! Pink ones. When I got closer, also a few red ones. The lilies haven’t bloomed yet, but they are full of buds. Maybe tomorrow? We’ve been promised a whole week of sunshine. A whole week! Imagine that.

Flower of the Day – The Return of the Roses


In motion and moving on. Almost everything is transient, from the clouds in the sky to the swirling leaves falling from the trees. But, in the end, when I think “transient” I think “travel.” And in this country, mostly, that means driving endless miles of highway.

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2017