A Willa Cather Reading & a Bike Accident

I am a fan of day-long readings of classics.  Such readings usually fall on anniversaries of an author’s birth or the publication of a book.  You probably know about Bloomsday, June 16, the day on which James Joyce sets his novel Ulysses.  Some years ago, my husband and I popped into a pub where there was a Bloomsday reading of Ulysses.  People milled and thronged, drank beer, and listened to the reading.  I wonder:  did they really read aloud the entire book in a day? Or did it take longer?  It was both moving and boring, and we left after a couple of hours.

This weekend there is a similar event for Willa Cather fans.   On Saturday, Sept. 22, the Willa Cather Foundation is sponsoring a daylong reading of My Antonia to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of the book.  (The official publication anniversary is Sept. 21, but Saturday is obviously a better day for gathering.)

The Willa Cather Foundation reports:

This event is free and open to the public and will take place at Omaha’s Gallery 1516. It will begin at 10:00 a.m. and end in the early evening, to be followed by a talkback discussion and no-frills closing reception. Attendees may drop in at any time of day or come and go throughout the event. A live stream will also be available on the Willa Cather Foundation’s YouTube channel.

Alas, we will not make it to Omaha for the Willa reading because…


Our bikes parked in front of a cafe.

THE BAD NEWS:  I have spent a lot of time this week riding the bus back and forth to the hospital.  My husband, a bike commuter, was hit by a car on his way home from work. He was riding in the bike lane when a car swerved in front of him to turn into an alley.  My husband was pitched over the handlebars and his body slammed into the car.  He was hospitalized for a broken collarbone and collapsed lung.  Witnesses assured the police that it was the driver’s fault, but the driver is long gone.

Since my husband has never been hospitalized, you can imagine that this did not sit well.  It was a battle of wills to get him to sit down:  he wanted to give his chair to guests.   He wildly talked of driving the car home with his arm in a sling.   He also thought he was could saunter down to Starbucks with his arm in a sling and carry back his own tea.

“No, I’ll get your tea.”

He insisted the doctor and I were over-protective!

THE GOOD NEWS.  He is home, thank God.  I have NEVER been so worried in my life.

I offered to get him a cup of tea. “I’m not an invalid,” he said.

“You are, dummy,” I said.

Anyway, I would prefer him to rest, but he is not used to sitting around.  He has, however, promised not to bike or drive for a while.  Thank God!

And if anyone has any tips on taking care of an extremely healthy person who has been in the hospital and who won’t sit still, tell me!

22 thoughts on “A Willa Cather Reading & a Bike Accident

  1. That’s so horrible, Kat. I’m so glad he’s home. I would be a wreck so I can imagine what you’re going through. Tell him I’m hoping he has an easy and uneventful recovery.


    • It is horrifying. He does seem to be feeling better–he was in shock so he didn’t really believe anything was the matter at first. But now that he’s home he seems himself, and apparently he’ll heal on his own from now on. (I’m worried, but he does feel all right!)


  2. No tips to offer, I’m afraid. All our family have been notoriously bad patients. We don’t like our routines being disturbed. I would suggest you let your husband set his own pace. His body will soon tell him if he is pushing too far. I hope he’s soon mended.


  3. Are you and I married to the same man?! Sounds very much like my husband. I’m glad you BOTH are doing well.
    When I lived in Philadelphia, I went to Bloomsday at the Rosenbach. It’s extra special there because they (now part of the Free Library of Philadelphia) own the original manuscript of Ulysses. I’ve never read the book, but it was interesting to listen – for a while. They read from 11 AM until 8 PM, so I’m sure they don’t read the entire book.
    The Rosenbach is one of the treasures of Philadelphia. If you ever get to the city, it’s well worth a visit.


    • LOL, we probably are! My husband does not know how to rest, but he did take it easy last night so I think he will do fine after all. Fascinating that Philadelphia has the manuscript: I’m sure they put on a great Bloomsday reading! And I’m relieved to hear they don’t read the whole book. That would take days, I think.


  4. I hope he was wearing his helmet! what an awful thing to happen! Keep him amused, does he watch movies? He has to take it easy especially with the collapsed lung. A similar thing happened two weeks ago to another Internet Blog buddy i follow, he was on a scooter and a car pulled out on him and he’s in rehab for a fractured pelvis and femur. Lack of civility, lack of conscientiousness, just plain people dont care about others, its an epidemic.


    • Gina, yes, he was wearing the helmet! Thank God! And it didn’t break, so his head was protected. Yes, now the TV with the talking channel changer will come in handy because there are a lot of good movies. Oh my God, I am sorry about your friend. It’s very scary. You are right, drivers can be very pushy. The people who stayed to take care of my husband were pedestrians!


  5. I am so sorry your husband has been hurt to the point of having to be hospitalized. Of course he should be grateful people can mend him. Here’s my “advice:” I found Jim wanted autonomy; he wanted control over his body and how he was spending his time. Maybe keep in mind it’s an issue of autonomy, control, pride.


    • You are absolutely right. I’ve backed off and he seems to be more sensible. No more offers of cups of tea! 🙂 I do think he’s recovering from shock, as well as the injuries. We did spend a quiet evening and will watch some Shakespeare tonight.


  6. That’s terrible, Kat! I am glad to hear that you are both doing well, and I hope he recovers quickly. I actually took care of someone who couldn’t sit still – my mother! – a while ago, but I have no tips – I don’t even remember how I managed it! Somehow, everything happened at its own pace.


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