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Ramona's Ramblings

One more straw

Ramona Jan
Posted 7/11/23

It’s hot out and the power just went out. My plans for tomorrow are dashed. I need to do laundry before I head out of town for my treatments. Okay, I’ll go to the laundromat. It’s …

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Ramona's Ramblings

One more straw


It’s hot out and the power just went out. My plans for tomorrow are dashed. I need to do laundry before I head out of town for my treatments. Okay, I’ll go to the laundromat. It’s just an extra burden to pile upon an already full load.

I walk to the Callicoon library. Actually, I bike there. No use in trying not to get sweaty. I’m already sweaty. The library is so chilled, I feel I need to go home and change into a jacket and long pants, but that won’t work. What’s the use of changing and then walking back all sweaty and then sitting in the cold air during the poetry slam? I ask you, what’s the use? It’s a question that comes to mind too often these days. That’s why I’m going to the poetry slam.

I need the poetry slam. Laura EJ Moran, Library Director, has been organizing them for decades. The ones I’ve attended have always been entertaining in a myriad of ways. Plus the electric is not due to come on until tomorrow at one in the morning. How do I know this? The electric company calls periodically with updates. How many people are without electric? Seventy-nine? That’s all? Somehow I don’t believe it. Maybe I heard the robotic voice incorrectly. Maybe I want to hear 790 so they hop to it! 

 I think of the people who haven’t charged their cell phones. I have a landline so I can make calls. Crystal clear calls. I go down to the river with two large buckets and bring home some semi-clear river water to flush the toilets. This takes a half hour because I have trouble lifting things and the river front is rocky and steep. I fill two buckets and bring only one up. I’m too exhausted to carry the other one. My husband has left for work with our only car. 

I manage to drag one bucket to our second floor bathroom wondering if I should use the water to flush toilets or maybe take it back downstairs and wash the enormous stack of dishes. Somehow we never get dish-doing during the day and always leave it to the night. I use the water bucket to soak clothes in because I’m leaving for NYC on Sunday to start cancer treatment and I need some clean things. It’s a mistake as the water is not clear enough for cleaning clothes. 

Earlier today, I had to find just the right water bottle for my travels. Something light weight and unbreakable. Not plastic as that could have cancer causing BPA’s. I bought one on Amazon but it was too big to fit in the side pocket of my backpack. I find several at the IOU Thrift Store but they are all plastic. Next door at Litt Home, I find the perfect size bottle for $17 but its glass. The salesgirl tells me she’s had one for six years, takes it everywhere and hasn’t smashed it yet. I buy it. As soon as I get out of the car, the bottle slips from my hand and breaks into a thousand little pieces. I sweep it into a pile on our walkway and leave it there. I am falling to pieces. I want this whole cancer thing to be over. 

I sweat through the making and eating of my dinner being careful not to keep the refrigerator door open too long. It’s already feeling luke warm. What will happen to the chicken I just cooked? I get ready to go to the library and just as I’m about to leave everything lights up. The phone rings. I pick it up figuring it’s the electric company here to tell me what I already know; the electric is back on. But no, it’s Ellie with Smart Alarms asking “How are you today?” My answer: Click.

RAMONA JAN is the Founder and Director of Yarnslingers, a storytelling group that tells tales both fantastic and true. She is also the roving historian for Callicoon, NY and is often seen giving tours around town. You can email her at callicoonwalkingtours@gmail.com.


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