At The General

At the old Hennepin County General Hospital in Minneapolis there was a nurse on the surgical wards whose last name I have forgotten, but whose appearance I have not. She was an exuberantly attractive woman, single, who showed up every day for work dressed in the mandatory starched white nurses’ uniform and cap, and with the most amazing tan I’ve ever seen on a human being.

Now the house staff at the HCGH were a bunch of overworked and frazzled young men whose long working hours and tense hospital duties often stood in the way of a normal social life, so many of them made one up that included Mary (for that was the lady’s first name). Each one had their own private fantasy.

Mary treated all of us as a large group of well-meaning but learning-disabled dolts who were not particularly interesting to her. Pleasant but aloof, she was the consummate professional.

She ignored. We obsessed.

The rumor perpetually circulated that there was a member of the house staff who lived in the same building that Mary did, in a set of rooms two stories above hers. Each apartment had a small balcony, and allegedly Mary could be spotted on her balcony tanning on a padded lounge au naturel on every sunny day. At least so went the apocryphal reports from this anonymous house officer.

No matter. All that was necessary for we beleaguered ones was the belief that somewhere in Minneapolis there was such an apartment, and that there was such a balcony, and that on any given sunny day … well … .

We really were a pathetic lot, looking back.



One of the things that happens when you blog on WordPress is that you acquire followers you don’t know. They just show up on a list. So far, most of them have been the equivalent of SPAM, and I pick them off one by one, like ticks.

But I don’t edit all of them out willy-nilly because some link you to lovely places, like the photography/literary blog maintained by a Scottish woman named Ailish Sinclair.

Beautiful photographs like the one below. And an expressive use of language that is notches above the burblage you find here in the Little Home.


In my haste to garden where no man has gardened before, I set out a bunch of plants this past week. While it did not technically freeze at any time, the night before last the temp dipped into the thirties and we have our first plant mortalities of the year.

RIP: one Greek basil, two common basil, and three marigolds. Although we barely got to know one another, I feel that we would have become friends with the passage of only a little more time.

The full names of the deceased are being withheld until we can contact their nursery of origin. Memento mori and all that.


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