A Whole Other Ball of Park – the beginning

My beloved, late-husband (what a stupid term…if he is just tardy then I’ve had a very long wait and he has a lot of explaining to do.) died just over five years ago. I wrote a blog during the last part of his illness, through the sadness of his death, and for at least three years of the grief that followed. Slowly I worked my way through all that loss and dragged several readers (at least six) with me along the way. Finally I realized, as I began a tortuous spiritual exploration that I’d ranted, and mourned publicly long enough. The hole in my heart that remains will be mine forever and mine alone. I have a new transition to harangue. I have no idea where it will lead me, but again if my handful of readers are game maybe it will take us up and down some winding roads – it could be a fun adventure…but maybe not. I’m in!

My husband defected from the former communist Czechoslovakia, in a rather dramatic fashion, just before the Russian invasion in 1968 that followed the “Prague Spring.” By the time we met in 1972 his english was excellent, but there were always a few phrases that he would butcher, to my delight. Among them were:
*”When the cat is not at home – the mice, they have a ball” His version of our “When the cat’s away the mice will play.”
*”Corn on the knob” …for our “corn on the cob.”
*”White chops” – his take on wind-frosted water normally known as “white-caps”.

There are several more….some were tossed out when we were in a heated argument intended to “one-up-me” (impossible to do by the way) and of course these always resulted in my dissolving into complete hysteria, which angered him all the more. BUT my all time favorite is, “Something’s rotten on that danish” of course for our old standard, “something’s rotten in Denmark” which infers that something, somewhere is just not quite right (originates from a line in Hamlet lamenting the moral decline of Denmark). Whenever he said it I always thought of a moldy cinnamon roll.

“A whole other ball of park” was my guy’s way of indicating that we were now talking about something  new – something completely different. Usually when we talk about something that is a completely different situation and often a challenging one we use the colloquialism, “a whole new ball game.” I’m sure somewhere among all of our sports idioms: “ballpark figure”, “knock it out of the park” he felt he was close enough. It never mattered because, as in the defending words of a deli-sales girl,  charmed by his accent and reprimanding me when I laughed as he ordered a “bear paw”……”I knew what he meant!”

Yesterday I left the hospital after teaching my last clinical. I am retiring! While I still have about a month before it’s official I was surprised to find myself fighting back the tears. Why am I such a mushy heart? How come waves of nostalgia waft over me so often…over everything? I know that wistfulness can conjure up emotions of loss of happier times, but there is a bittersweetness about such feelings too. The recollection of such times can be generally pleasant, happy memories, but they are in the past…..and I miss them – him.IMG_4632

Although the facility has changed a lot over the years, including ownership/management-even the name, and largely for the better, it was a young nurse that worked in this very hospital with her dashing doctor-husband. I birthed all three of our children in this same building and returned here to teach future nurses to deliver the same quality, compassionate care that I have always valued. I hope I’ve been a good role model. If I have come even close it’s all I could hope for and more.

Retirement implies endings….AND beginnings. I need to figure it ALL out. I’ve been a nurse for a very long time. Who will I be? Where will I go? What will I do? Will I have enough? What is enough? Certainly I’ve planned for some of it….but what do I know, I’ve never done this before…alone. So – who’s with me? Shall we find out? After all, this is a whole other ball of park!!

As I checked out the brand new, sparkly, space-age Emergency Department in our hospital last week, I was thinking of what my husband would think of it. I spotted a former student, now an experienced ER nurse, leading a tour of a high-tech trauma room. I gave her a shy wave from the back. She stopped and said, “There’s Patti, she was my nursing instructor. She’s why I’m here”. It’s been quite a ride.

Here is the link to my old blog Pattis Grace Notes. My husband died in August of 2010. My solo-journey began then although I’ve never really been alone….it just feels that way sometimes.

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21 Responses to A Whole Other Ball of Park – the beginning

  1. Sasha says:

    Blake and I are with you Patti!!! Ever thought about nannying ;). Luv u

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patti Grace says:

      Thanks Sasha (and dear Blake)! I think you have a pretty darn good Babi/nanny, but I’d love to be a back up now and then….you know, when I’m not flying south. 🙂


  2. Don’t tell me, let me guess, Relo named this site. I thought so because there’s something rotten about this danish!


  3. Joan Scheetz says:

    Patti, I enjoyed reading your recent “blog”. I hope you enjoy your new beginning. PERHAPS you should become( you are already) a professional writer. You have that knack of being so personal, humorous, and INTERESTING. looking forward reading MORE!


  4. Joan Scheetz says:

    Patti. It is 5:31 AM, and I have been reading your beautiful
    blog since 4:30 AM. Your writing is inspiring, sentimental, and so much more. It touches my heart and faith….You have a remarkable GIFT. Thank you. Joan Scheetz


  5. Mele Howland says:

    Thank you for sharing your remarkable journey!


    • Patti Grace says:

      Thanks, Mele. We certainly each have our story, right? I know you’ve had quite a ride yourself. Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it.


  6. Jim says:

    Welcome back Patti 🙂 Congratulations on your retirement! I’m looking forward to your thoughts and observations on this new phase of your life, especially since I’ll be following in your footsteps in about a year from now. Hopefully…I’ll pick up some good tips! All the best to you…and be sure to have fun along the way. ~ Jim


  7. nanc5128 says:

    WPatti, i know you will never be “retired”, gal! 😉

    I Understand that bittersweet feeling; I’ve cut back to 4 days this year, and I miss my little kiddos and colleagues when I’m not there. I can’t imagine not being there every morning to say “good morning” to those sweet little kindergarteners. Planning on leaving at the end of this school year but it’s not yet a reality for me! Thanks for sharing your journey to a “whole other ballpark”.


    • Patti Grace says:

      Wow, I didn’t know you’d cut back. I hear ya…it’s those eager faces I’ll miss, but I’m sure I’ll find some distractions. Just hope I don’t get in to too much trouble in the process!


  8. Janis Presson Dawson says:

    Well, a new day. Just to let you know, retirement is not always easy. Some days I really miss working. But I have come to realize it is not the work, but the people. So, I just make sure I am surrounded by friends. In your spare time, come visit.


    • Patti Grace says:

      I hear ya, Janice. I already miss my students and I’m not even officially finished with the quarter yet. I will keep in touch with my faculty…they are family.


  9. JANICE Ellis says:

    Can hardly believe you are to retirement age. I keep remembering the young, pregnant woman who starred in videos of nursing skills😀 Hope your retirement is as rewarding as mine has been. There are still ways to use your nursing background in the community while still having the flexible time you will relish. On to new adventures‼️🎈🎈 JANICE


  10. Patti Grace says:

    I know – I already have plans. You’ll have to stay tuned to find out! p


  11. Bette Miller says:

    PattiGrace – I work tomorrow morning &
    Thanksgiving AM & then I’m done too! Hard
    To believe! I’ve been working more PT than
    you got last 5.5 yrs but filled up a lot of my
    days with grandkids. MaggieMae will fill
    you up & you will be blessed. Madeline Mae
    calls me Magga & there’s nothing like entering
    “Magga!!!!!” Like I’m the greatest thing since
    sliced bread. Also went on. 16 day trip down
    The Rhine & Mosel rivers last month & even
    newer wonders await. Enjoy!


    • Patti Grace says:

      Well Bette, I knew it was close for you. Yes hard to believe – all those years together….we were SO young. New adventures beckon and with a little luck and grace from above we’ll remain healthy enough to enjoy these for a long time. Congrats to you sister!


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