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Last Updated: Oct 25, 2015 - 12:12:09 AM 

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Down the Road

Getting well enough to be well
By Milt Gross
Oct 25, 2015 - 12:12:59 AM

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It has taken a good bit of time and a lot of harassment by Dolores to get me as well as I am at the moment.

First, it would be nice to be babied, just a bit, to make getting on with it a bit easier. But instead she points to a strange "grabber" stick they gave me in the hospital and leaves the room. To be a bit crass, did you ever try to pull your pants up using a grabber stick? It can be tough, because the grabber stick doesn't always grab well enough. On those occasions, I give the stick a tug, and it lets go of the pants. The pants descend.

This is especially tough when I'm thinking of that first future walk in the great outdoors at Fernald Neck. This is a true outdoor setting woods, paths to the lake, a view across at the mountains of Camden Hills State Park, and more rugged outdoor views. One of those trails heads into the woods, where the trees are tall and the path goes downhill and uphill. A great little walk for the outdoors guy.

This scenic woods road to Fernald Neck is itself a scenic way, scenic even before getting to the trails. Photo by Milt Gross.

Only this outdoor guy is kind of stuck indoors for awhile. I can't yet walk quite right -- a bit of a problem on all those trails. I tried this morning to read an old book about a minister whose wife died and whose five-year-old daughter was ill. I got tired an retreated to bed right after breakfast. Hours later I made the limpy trek all the way to the dining room. My breakfast plate was gone, the table clean, Dolores gone somewhere. And there I sat until I decided to head for the study and work on this column.

The column is under way, but I'm starving. No Dolores. I think it's kind of a tough love deal. Take care of myself. But it's much easier when she's at home taking care of me. I have no idea where she is. The car is outside, so she hasn't driven off and abandoned me in my getting-well crisis. But I'm starved, which I don't think helps the healing process.

I can still dream of Fernald Neck, and I can think back on a good many walks and hikes of the past, some through real wilderness. More recent hikes had my left leg working, dragging the partially lame right one. One trek I took as a Maine Appalachian Trail Club volunteer was down this steep, broken-branch covered hill complete with mud and rocks and even a brook to cross at the bottom. Others were up several mountains, those high places that make you breathe heavy even though you're in top shape -- sort of.

One was up a steep trail -- and down again through the woods without a trail. On that trek, a group of MATC volunteers, including me, were building a lean-to on the north slope of Baldpate. On that trip, our main chainsaw guy broke his chainsaw when it didn't run right, so he slammed it down. That didn't help it a lot.

I've been up so many steep trails, and now I limp around indoors, wondering if we'll ever make it to Fernald Neck.

If Dolores would stop picking on me and just help a bit. I probably would never get better.

But I know I will get better and we will make it to Fernald Neck.

I don't know how I'd feel if I could never get out in the woods again.

Won't let that happen.

Going to get better, tough love and all.

But it's tough.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2015

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