Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Invasion of the Ants

Jo Anne's birthday is on April 1 -- April Fools' Day.  She was the fourth child born after three brothers, and into a family that would ultimately number ten children.  Being the first girl born in her family, and on April Fools' Day, she truly did fool her parents.  There is no fooling however that Jo Anne has been a source of joy to all that have ever known her.

Of her many sterling qualities there are two that are very special and have impacted my life in a positive way over the years.  She has been blessed with the ability to live life and serve others with "unwearyingness." The word "unwearyingness" does not appear in my online dictionary, but I believe the meaning of the word is very self evident however. It implies never giving up, being firm and steadfast, and enduring well to the end.  I can think of no better word to describe Jo Anne.

Of the many examples I could give to support my claim that she has developed in her life the significant quality of "unwearyingness" let me just share one.  I sleep in a hospital bed downstairs while Jo Anne occupies the master bedroom upstairs.  We have a baby monitor in my room, a receiver in the dining room, and one in the master bedroom.  It works really well and Jo Anne can hear any unusual sound emanating from my bedroom.  Almost every night, usually after midnight when she is in a deep sleep, I invariably need help.  I speak in a normal voice into the baby monitor something like this, "Jo Anne, I hate to wake you up but I really do need your help; it is not an emergency -- don't panic -- but if you could come down it would be a great blessing because I'm not breathing really well."  A minute or two will elapse and then Jo Anne will almost magically appear at my bedside.  At that time in the morning she looks a little scary but she takes care of my need and then invariably asks if there is anything else she can do for me.  She never makes me feel that I am imposing on her or that she is upset because I have awakened her out of a blissful and deep sleep.  She has been doing this for years with "unwearyingness."  I believe one's true "Christianity" is severely tested in the early morning hours when required to leave a warm comfortable bed to see to the needs of another.

The other character trait I will comment on that Jo Anne possesses in abundance is her creativity.  She is never content to simply maintain the status quo.  Regarding my care she is constantly inventing new and better ways of doing things.  She has invented different items that I think could be patented that have made her caring for me and the quality of my life so much better.  Her creativity however, reached its high point the morning of what I call the dreaded "Invasion of the Ants".

It happened one summer morning a number of years ago.  The day and night preceding the "Invasion" the weather was unusually hot.  Ants seem to want to be as comfortable as we do, and so during the hot weather they will seek a cooler environment.  When Jo Anne put me to bed that night, because of the heat, she left my windows open a little bit to let whatever cool breeze was available into my room.  During the night the Ant nation sent out some scouts to find food and a better environment for their friends and relatives.  They somehow sensed that my bedroom window was open and lucky for them they found me.  I'm sure the following conversation took place between the scouts: "Wow, look at the hunk of dead meat that we have found! If we can somehow get it home it will feed everyone for years to come.  It's going to take the entire nation however, to accomplish this feat."  And so during the night the entire ant nation invaded my bedroom and tried to carry me off.  These ants were very smart in that they somehow sensed they shouldn't travel beyond my neck and therefore I slept blissfully through the night unaware of the "invasion."

In the morning Jo Anne came in to turn me onto my back, and when she pulled the covers off she saw I was covered from my neck to my feet with ants.  I must admit she did scream just a tad and then disappeared.  A second later she appeared at my bedside with a big can of Black Flag insect killer, and proceeded to spray me and the ants with a generous amount of this poison.  In a minute or two she had successfully annihilated the ant nation and had almost gotten rid of me as well.  Again she disappeared and quickly reappeared with her little vacuum cleaner (she is a vacuum junkie and always has a wide variety of vacuums on the premises), and using the hose attachment proceeded to vacuum up the dead ants from my body and the bed.  Soon no evidence remained of the massacre of the ants, but the upside, as well as the downside was that for the next week, no insect, pest, or human being would get very close to me. You just have to love a girl with that kind of creativity don't you?

Thank you, Jo Anne, for your "unwearyingness" and "creativity", and by the way, have a happy birthday -- no fooling! 


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