06:49:50 pm on
Tuesday 22 Sep 2020

No Counting Her Out
AJ Robinson

Years ago, the artist Harold Gray created the Little Orphan Annie comic strip. The strip became hugely popular and lasted for decades. In fact, Annie outlived Gray.

Daddy hits the skids.

After Gray passed, other artists carried Annie on. In one of the most famous storylines, which took place during the Great Depression, “Daddy” Warbucks, adoptive father of Annie, lost all his money. Then he took a job as a delivery man, but blinded in a traffic accident.

Warbucks fell into a spiral of grief and despair. Then, one day, he forced himself to snap out of it. His thanks went to the support of a new friend and business partner.

Gray made a point of naming each strip. Warbucks snapped out of his despair on strip nine. Daddy says that no one has ever counted ten over him, as if you’re out.

Yes, it’s a boxing reference. After a count of nine, Daddy Warbucks begins his long slow climb back to wealth. Eventually, he regains his eyesight.

This week, a certain member of my family had such a moment. My mom got the results of her latest coronavirus test. Our friend Sharon was right: in a battle between coronavirus and my mom, put your money on mom.

That’s right, the tests came back negative. Now, we know of false negatives occurred with other people. That’s why the physicians waited to make sure she was on the mend.

My brother, Danny, managed to drive from Venice to do a window visit with her. Then David and his wife, Shirley, did the same a week later. Jo Ann and I were planning to follow them the next week, but cancelled.

Mom got to see two of her sons. Once the negative test results came back, she had to go back to the rehab facility in Naples. That’s the fly in the ointment.

Rehab in Naples is where mom got sick in the first place. So, we’re a bit nervous over her convalescing there again. We’re hoping they have better protocols in place to protect her and the other patients, but we honestly don’t know.

COVID-19 may come back.

Based on the latest reports, just getting the virus is no guarantee you won’t get it again. My brother, Greg, is on his way home from a vacation with his family on Martha’s Vineyard. Once he gets back to Naples, he’ll meet with the physician and get a full report on how mom did with the virus and her prognosis.

There is still the matter of her muscles being too weak for her to even stand, which means she can’t leave rehab. She still has a long, tough road to haul. They want her to continue her physical therapy, eat more and exercise, but will she.

As she’s beaten the current “Demon of the Month,” possibly of the year, I have faith in her ability to overcome most obstacles. Mom isn’t out of the woods, not by a long shot. Still, she’s overcome a major hurdle.

It never ceases to amaze me how she keeps battling back from the precipice of oblivion. She didn’t reach her nineties because she has a weak system. I think her new nickname should be “The Italian Energizer Bunny.”

Mom keeps going and going and going, at least that’s our hope. Of course, none of us have any illusions as to her ultimate outcome. Do we hope she recovers enough to come home and is with us for many more years to come? Certainly! Yet, we also know the frightful issues she still must triumph over.

I have mixed feelings for the future, but I’m also smart enough to not assume anything about my mom. As Daddy Warbucks says, “No one counted ten over me, yet.” Well, the same is true of mom. We don’t know what next month, next week or even tomorrow hold for her, but we know she won’t give up without a fight.

Ironically, I’m reminded of a scene from the movie Annie. Some bullies are picking on Sandy and Annie comes to his defense. When one of the boys tries to scare her off, Annie lays him out with one punch and says, “All right, who’s next?” That’s my mom now.

Next bout coming up.

In this corner, the Italian Bunny. In the other corner, well, as Annie said, “Who’s next?” At this point, I don’t think Ebola could land a punch on mom.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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