Tuesday, 06 December 2016 16:58

Facing challenges with humor, and a job at IHOP

Written by  Harold Bales

When I told y’all I was having a leg amputated, I also mentioned that I was imagining all kinds of gallows humor about that. And I invited you, dear friends, to send me some as well. I was swamped by your jokes and one-liners. Our daughter Susannah wrote, about my invitation for you to do this: “You are a goober. A one-legged goober. I love you!” Isn’t that sweet?

You sent me lines about socks lasting twice as long, one-legged kickers who always land on their behinds, the problem one-legged men have in butt-kicking contests. I received lots of IHOP jokes. Eight-year-old Lionel, who lives in New England, is sending me an eye patch so I can become a pirate. I love it.

I cannot possibly convey to you how much your good wishes and prayers have meant to me. When I write these divine dribblings, I think of them as part of a conversation among family and good friends. You are a source of inspiration and encouragement to me.

So, now I’ve said my goodbyes to my lower left leg. I surrendered it more or less in the fashion of Robert E. Lee surrendering his sword to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox. It marked the end of a war. In my case, it was a war against the odds. For many months my doctors fought to save my leg but finally I was ready for it to end.

I was fortunate to have Dr. Robert Beaver here in Concord as the general of my army. I marvel at his perseverance. I saw him almost every week for nine months. He spent huge amounts of time tending to me. Each meeting was like a tutoring session in which he taught me about what was happening. We became good friends. We swapped yarns. We laughed together. When we came to the decision to proceed with amputation, his last words to me were, “I will pray for you.” He reads this column so I want to thank him again.

In a few months, I will have a new leg. I’m lucky to have a good friend, Gay Porter, who is a distinguished choreographer. She will have me ready next year to take to the stage and dance in the Nutcracker Suite ballet. Or maybe not. I’ve never been able to dance before.

I have had a wonderful life filled with many interesting experiences. This is yet another adventure. I have written about them in the hope that others may be encouraged in dealing with their big adventures. I find that my natural curiosity triumphs over any anxieties I have. So I look to the future with anticipation. Life is good because God is good.

You know me. I’m always giving unsolicited advice and very personal opinions. The good news is that all this stuff that I tell you is cheap. Furthermore, sometimes my statements are questionable and I need a basis on which to make them. I am glad to report that after my surgery, I still have a leg to stand on.

By the way, I’m going to be looking for a part-time job at IHOP.

Harold Bales is a retired Methodist minister who lives in Concord. He enjoys hearing from his readers, so send him an e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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