I needed reinforcement so when DD and I were in the car together, I gave her an assignment. She would be my coach in learning Psalm 37. “Fret not thyself because of evildoers” “neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.” “For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,” “and wither as the green herb.” “Trust in the Lord, and do good;” “so shalt thou dwell in the land,” “and verily thou shalt be fed.” “Delight thyself also in the Lord:” “and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Phrase by phrase we’d work through it. By the time she would get to “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” I would be getting frustrated. That’s not what this exercise was supposed to do. It was to be a comfort to be able to have the words stored away in my mind.
Memorization has never been my strong suit unless the words were set to music. For weeks on end, we labored over it but by and by, we let it go. The song nicely condenses the Psalm and I can remember it.
It was an odd meeting that took place the day of the layoffs. Normally, people involved are notified in private. We were all gathered in a group by the manager with the administrator and controller present. Everyone had fulltime positions so I didn’t see how it was going to work to downsize. Little did I know. The administrator was in the habit of rocking in a task chair when he was thinking hard and he was going at it full speed. He had given the task of addressing the employees in our area to the manager.
“Corporate has mandated that we have to lay people off in each department.” The number would vary according to the size of the departments and the function. Our department would lose one FTE (full time equivalent). “We have decided that the accounts payable position isn’t really full time so we will be laying off that clerk.” Whew! I’d still have a job! The next announcement left me feeling like I’d been kicked in the stomach. “Tommie will be doing accounts payable along with billing Medicare and Medicaid.” WHAT?? She had to be joking. My days were already longer than the prescribed eight hours and I was supposed to take on something else?
My head was spinning. I’d never done accounts payable on such a large scale. DH had essentially taken care of that end of the business and it was peanuts compared to paying the bills for a hospital—even a small rural one. The clerk who was being dismissed wasn’t a happy camper. This was Thursday, checks were due to be cut on Friday. She trained me from noon on and promised to come back the next day to help me run checks but she didn’t show up. The controller came over and we finally figured out the lineup on the printer and the maiden voyage had sailed. He showed me how the checks were bundled with the invoices and packing slips for his signature. When that was completed, they had to be torn down, stuffed, stamped and mailed. THEN every piece of paper had to be stamped with the date and check number. Nothing was simple.
The manager pulled me aside. There would be no more money but the administrator had authorized all the overtime required by the extra workload. But where would I get more energy? I was already exhausted. I needed a vacation. I put in a request for two full weeks. I didn’t care. I had to have rest and relaxation.
DD and I started planning and saving. We’d start out by going to Dollywood mid-afternoon early in the week. If we went after 3, we could spend the night at a motel and have all the next day for the same price. Next, we’d go to Gatlinburg, spend the night at the motel where DH and I had one night of our honeymoon and see the sights. Cherokee would be the third stop so we could go see “Unto These Hills“. The day after that (it would last too late to go anywhere except to a motel) we’d head to my mother’s place in North Carolina. It wasn’t exactly a restful vacation but it would certainly be a change.
One afternoon, we were watching the news. We didn’t have a TV but DS1 had hooked the TI-99 monitor up to the VCR and then to an antenna so we could get broadcast programming. It wasn’t wonderful but it worked. There was some terrible event reported and I remarked, “Jesus surely must be coming soon.” DD didn’t miss a beat. She said, “I hope He waits until after we go on vacation.” At least she was honest. It reminds me of that Kenny Chesney song, “Everybody wanta to go to heaven but nobody wanta to go now.”
I worked extra hard and put in the hours I needed to have everything caught up. The weeks went by and it was finally time. We packed our suitcases, loaded the car, kissed my in-laws goodbye and we were on our way.