In the beginning of blog entry numbers one and two, I explained that before changing the main focus of my profession from that of hand forging ornamental iron for fine homes into hand forging memorial ironwork, I wanted to write/pass on some meaningful experiences. Meaningful experiences I had while hammering out architectural work. With the above in mind, here comes Uncle Bob’s meaningful experience number three.
This entry is highly unlikely. If someone else wrote it and I were to read it, I would probably question it’s validity. With that being said, here goes.
After birth, both of my daughters started life with rather rough beginnings. My oldest daughter Katie had spinal meningitis and my youngest daughter Hannah was born with towed in feet. What this amounted to, was that everything was fine down her legs and past her heels, but at mid-foot where the arch is, her feet pigeon toed in.
So here I was again, about to learn another one of life’s lessons. Living the starving artist/blacksmiths carefree (?) lifestyle was fun, when you have no responsibilities. However, when your newborn child’s health is being compromised because of your chosen lifestyle, your (my) values instantly became a horse of a different color. I guess this is called growing up (better late than never).
A number of things happened during Hannah’s foot era that were interesting, almost unbelievable in a positive way.
The first thing that happened was — After working a long day in Minneapolis, on my way home (into the country) I stopped into one of those open-until-midnight super markets to buy groceries. The store was deserted as it was late, except for two or three employees. Exhausted from working all day, plus having the weight of the world on my shoulders as my child needed help fast, I grocery shopped. While at the meat counter, the woman behind the counter asked "how are you this evening?". I thought for a minute and then let her have it all! I told her about how freaked out I was about my daughter, how I had to do something fast and was simply over my head in all areas.
Are you ready for this? She said, "No problem. My daughter’s feet were like that also. I can tell you all about it." A half hour and pound of ground beef later, I left the store thinking, if I believed in angels on earth, I just met one. How cool was this?
My wife and I hustled our daughter over to the local rural clinic which had a part time orthopedic surgeon. The doctor wanted to put casts on Hannah’s feet to straighten them while the newborn bones were soft and playable. So we did this. The doctor seemed knowledgeable but I was apprehensive.
Here is where the story goes from being a little unusual to being really unusual. With the casts on her feet (which she did not like) I went back to work. Later that week I was installing a railing in a modest but fine home. The man of the house was downstairs reading the morning paper and I was crawling around upstairs, drilling holes in his floor to anchor his new railing. Close to me upstairs was a maid, ironing.
In an effort to make small talk with the maid, I asked her what the homeowner did for a living? She said "he is a world renown orthopedic surgeon". I couldn’t believe my ears! Are you kidding me? With the weight of the world on my shoulders, I immediately set down my tools, went downstairs and said, Dr. ---- could I please have a minute of your time? What was the likelihood of my being in his house, and him being home when the one thing in the world I needed was an ally in the orthopedic business?
Dr.— put down his newspaper and listened as I described Hannah’s problem. He then said "I don’t want to interfere with what another doctor is doing, but I will tell you exactly what he should be doing and when, and if that is not what is happening, come and see me".
As it turned out, the country doctor was an excellent doctor, did exactly what needed to be done and our Hannah turned out being a great and athletic girl. Do I sound like a proud father? I hope so, because I am.
What was the likelihood of running into these people when I needed them? Some people might credit God. Some Karma. Some Irish luck or just plain chance. Chance? I don’t even know an orthopedic surgeon, how did I find myself in one’s home when I needed a second opinion? You tell me?
Ironwork has put me in contact with many different people from many walks of life.
As grateful as I often am, some of the scenarios I just cannot explain.