In my opinion, nurses are some of the most competent and capable people around. They are right up close and personal with the patients so they can spot problems immediately and, in many cases, take steps to solve them. They also know when a problem is beyond their ability and are not afraid to call for help.

I remember one rainy day in the springtime when my brother Haik and I were sitting around the marina office drinking coffee. We couldn’t launch boats nor step masts because the brakes on the travel lift tended to slip when wet and stepping masts call for fraction of an inch precision. The phone rang and it was a “Mayday” call from two nurses who were dating a couple of guys that kept their boats in the marina. We knew it must be serious because otherwise, they would have called their boyfriends.

When we arrived at the house, we found a queen size box spring firmly wedged into a bend in the stairwell. Haik crawled over the top of it and I remained on the bottom. We ascertained that it was so tightly jammed in place that it would neither go up nor down. At the bottom of the stairwell was an old cast iron radiator about two feet high. I told Haik that I thought if I stood on the radiator, put my back to the box spring and gave a mighty heave while at the same time he gave a good hard yank on the top, it would either move or it wouldn’t. What did we have to lose?

OK, “On three, One, Two, Three.” THUMP, CRASH, CRUNCH! Next thing I knew I was sitting on my rear end on the floor looking up at the ceiling. After “You OK? Yeah, You OK? Yeah,” were exchanged, we ascertained that the radiator had just been sitting there, not connected to anything. I had knocked it through the sheetrock wall and the box spring had moved about two inches, just enough to go through the sheetrock halfway up the stairs! At this point, I gave the girls my credit card and told them to go out to lunch on us … and take your time.”

Haik scurried back to the marina for pry bars, a screw gun, glue, and a stapler while I ran home for sheetrock, joint compound, tools, and a few other things. We then carefully removed the cloth backing on the bottom of the box spring and pried the wood apart from the joints to make it flexible enough to bend around the corner. Then we repaired the holes in the wall, so no one could tell that anything strange had happened and placed the radiator back where it had been. (I’d be back the next day with sandpaper and paint to finish the job.) Then we took the spring up to the bedroom and carefully screwed and glued it back together, so it was better than new. However, before we stapled the cloth to the bottom, we thought we’d add a little reminder of the experience. I had been working on a project that involved a lot of jingle bells and had several hundred left over. We strung a couple dozen of these on a wire and stretched it tight as a banjo string catty-corner across the bottom of the spring. Then we replaced the cloth cover and properly assembled the box spring and mattress. It looked perfect, but whenever someone walked across the floor of the bedroom you could hear a faint “jingle jingle jingle.”

About this time the girls showed up, amazed that we had gotten everything back together and demanding to know how we had done it. We told them that we don’t ask them how they perform their miracles in the hospital, so don’t ask us how we do it in the bedroom!

Now the Jersey shore is pretty desolate in the offseason and there’s not much to do for entertainment except sit around in bars and tell stories. The tale of the “Flying radiator, flexible box spring and the tintinnabulation of the bells in the haunted bedroom” was one of the better ones and kept the gang entertained for months!