On the road…again!
Afghanistan to Zambia
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek
Taking The ALS Challenge
The occasion was the birthday party for 76-year-old Footloose Forester who was visiting the Pittsburgh area with his wife. Their main purpose for traveling north from Virginia was to clean up the weediness around their old house, the one in which daughter Lucy was still living, but the birthday party was also on the agenda.
We were staying at the house of Ann, a member of our extended family, since she had five bedrooms and spent most of her time running her thriving salon, Ann’s Spa and Nails. Opened less than a year, Ann’s Spa was already a success and very popular in the area where clients could come in for a manicure, a pedicure, a facial, a new hairstyle, or a body waxing. Eight employees kept the spa humming with lively chatter in Vietnamese and English; and plenty of laughter that didn’t need any translation. The warm, shared atmosphere is one reason why Ann’s clients keep coming back.
One of the youngest technicians was the sparkplug who started the ALS Challenge during the birthday party. Lou Lou Loung, who doesn’t mind being called Apple, is a shade under five feet tall but she is a fireball who picked on the Footloose Forester to be the first one to get doused with a bucket of ice water. He had already decided he would do it if Apple herself came next; and if everybody at Ann’s Spa and Nails would donate to the fight against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, otherwise known as ALS. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Ann decided that a $10 donation per person was suitable, and all of the party-going employees agreed to ante up.
Starting with the Birthday Boy, cold ice water was ceremoniously dumped on his head from a large basin. Granddaughter Jaelyn Hunt did the honors, as recorded in the video taken in the waning light. Next came Apple, who had issued the original challenge. Her short speech prior to being drenched included a further challenge to friends and
co-workers. Some of them were listening. Although there was more than a bit of murmured reluctance among the onlookers, the ALS Challenge was met by her boss Ann, and co-worker Stephanie, and friends Lee Le and Brent Jacoby. Even 10-year-old Jaelyn braved the bucket of cold water poured over her head, and she also ponied up with a $10 donation to fight ALS. Lou Lou, aka Apple, then volunteered to get doused a second time. There was a manic and magical wind blowing through the air that night, and the friends and party-goers who attended will long remember it.
A couple of dark videos are part of the evidence, locking the time and the laughter into a digital record. Some day, such evidence will become part of the legacy of Ann's Spa and Nails and its happy family of employees who often work and play together.