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Orange Colored Sky

Flash, Bam, Alakazam,” we land out of an orange-colored sky, into the backyard of my 2007 house. I hear the faint sounds of a Nat King Cole song playing from inside the house along with the urgent ringing of the phone. I had to hurry. Since Electra only advanced us a tad in time, I already knew it wasn’t the July call from Dr. Michelle inviting me to present at the annual ASHA Conference. And I already knew it wasn’t the call I made back to Dr. Michelle accepting her offer. Nope, this time, the call was a couple of months before the all-important November 15 ASHA Conference.

Quickly, I unbuckle my seatbelt and then, followed by our passengers, climb down the steps making my departure from Electra. The sun, still high in the sky, radiates an afternoon warmth inviting me to linger. But, I had to get that phone. So, rushing through tall grasses in the backyard, complete with a throng of nettlesome gnats which I struggle with before getting to the recently mowed and edged lawn in front, I hurry up the steps to the door, shove it open, run into the house, and grab that phone just in time. Then, in a winded voice, I answer …


DR. MICHELLE: “Hi Gail. You sound out of breath. Are you OK?”

ME: “Yea, sorry, I was running to get the phone. Just need a minute to catch my breath. What’s up?”

DR. MICHELLE: I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is your program for the Conference was accepted but with one hitch … and that’s the bad news. Or perhaps I should say challenging news.”

ME: “OK, umm … what is it?”

DR. MICHELLE: “Well, ya know how much I want to include the storybook you wrote for your Grandson — right? Here’s the problem … ‘Dave’s Tale’ includes illustrations from Disney’s ‘Winnie the Pooh.’ Evidently, that’s a big copywriter ‘no-no’ when presenting at a national conference.”

ME: “Ah yes, I can see why ASHA wouldn’t want to take on Walt! OK, I’ll leave it out. I’ve got loads of other programs I designed to accommodate Dave’s communication decline at each stage of the disease.”

DR. MICHELLE: “No, we absolutely must include ‘Dave’s Tale.’ Especially why you wrote the story and its success as a communication bridge between your two-year-old Grandson and his Grandfather. Here’s the thing — can you use other animals?”

ME: “I don’t see how. After all, ‘Dave’s Tale’ is based on the character of Eeyore. You know, the donkey who was sad because he lost his tail. And it was Eeyore’s sad face that so upset Joey when I read him the Disney version. And then it was Dave’s sad face that so upset Joey when I tried to sit him on his Grandpa’s lap. So, Eeyore became the impetus for my storybook, ‘Dave’s Tale,’ obviously, a play on words. Each had lost something precious – Eeyore his tail, and Dave his walking and talking. I can’t just pick other animals. It won’t make sense without the story’s support.”

DR. MICHELLE: “Well, how about … quick, write a children’s story with animals. Then you can use those animals as substitutes for the Disney characters in your storybook about Dave.”

Stay tuned to learn more …

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