Monday Morning Memories: Cue the sirens

David L. Barber, Managing Editor

Someone should probably call the emergency room at West Shore Medical Center and have them prepare a room for me.

As with the Internal Revenue Service, the good people at the hospital know me on a first-name basis, so just mention “Dave” and they’ll say, “oh, him again?” And they’ll prepare for my arrival.

By ambulance.

Against my better judgment, I’m going on vacation this week. I’m taking some time off. I’m going to sit at home, read, nap, work diligently on my daughter’s Christmas present, and, of course, do something to myself that will lead to my being taken to the emergency room.

Again, by ambulance.

It’s not a matter of “if,” folks, it’s only a matter of “when.”

Every vacation, for the past several years, I’ve ended up in the emergency room for one reason or another. Usually, it’s not for anything too serious — nothing life-threatening — but every now and then it does tend to get a bit scary.

Over the years I’ve suffered everything from simple scrapes and bruises, to broken ankles, to heart ailments, to fuzzy-brain T.I.A. thingys, and more. Always, when I’m on vacation.

So why should I chance fate, you might ask?

Well, first of all I believe in shopping local and that includes doing business at my local emergency room.

Second of all, I have a couple books that I want to read.

Third, like I said, there’s a very special Christmas present I want to make my daughter — she’s going to love it.

And fourth, and getting back to reason number one, I miss my friends at the hospital who take such good care of me. They’re very kind and courteous and always let me know how things are going with different parts of my body that I haven’t been able to see for 10 years, or more.

Once, when I lived in Hawaii and was on vacation, I tripped over first base and broke my wrist.

Another time, when I lived in Florida and was on vacation, I misjudged the top step at a mall and tumbled all the way to the bottom, injuring my back.

A few years ago, while on vacation right here in Manistee County, I felt cereal going through my chest — there was a definite snap, crackle and pop — and I ended up in not one, but two emergency rooms, the first here in Manistee and the second in Traverse City.

Another time, while on vacation here in Manistee County, I convinced myself I was going to suffer some sort of vacation-related accident and the stress caused me to end up in the hospital with a freaking anxiety attack.

You should know that I’m scheduled to be back to work in a couple weeks. As you can guess, I’d like to come back healthy, happy and filled with new ideas how to make our paper better.

But, just in case, someone might want to get the plaster of Paris ready. And the ointments, too. Cue the sirens, here it is one day before my vacation is to begin and I’m already looking over my shoulder.

H-m-m-m, maybe that’s why I tend to stumble and fall so much, because I spend more time looking behind me, than I do looking ahead at the good things that await.

Hallelujah, I’ve cured myself! No headlines and deadlines for two weeks!

I’ll still write my weekly “Back Talk” column, and my “Monday Morning Memories,” too. But if I hear sirens in the distance, I’m not going anywhere with camera and notepad in hand.

Unless, of course, they’re coming for me.


Posted by David L. Barber

David L. Barber is the retired editor of the Manistee News Advocate. He contributes columns weekly for the News Advocate. You can contact him at

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