Although I didn’t write it until November, this story is about being out and about on a rainy August afternoon. For about 5 minutes this morning, as I thought about all the unsettled-ness of my life lately, I changed my mind about knowing what’s up ahead and around the corner of life’s highway. But, I’ve decided I still like surprises.

I’m linking this story to Jo’s <a href="
http://mainelymyles.blogspot.com/2009/07/stories-in-my-pocket-reasons-why-not.html”&gt;Stories in My Pocket over at
Mylestones. You should go visit.

Reflections at an Intersection

The light changed from green to yellow as she approached the intersection. If it had been a bright, sunny day, she might have tried to “squeeze the lemon,” her daughter’s way of saying, “Give it some gas and hurry on through before the yellow light turns red!” But it wasn’t a sunny day. Rain was spilling steadily down from a fuzzy gray sky that seemed to sag with the weight of all the water it held. She adjusted the windshield wipers from Intermittent to All-the-Way-On, and, instead of squeezing that lemon, she pressed gently down on the brake pedal and came to a soft, easy stop just as the light changed to red.

She loved weather like this. The pavement was as black and shiny as the brand new, patent leather Mary-Janes she‘d worn every Easter when she was a little girl (except for that one year when, for some unknown reason, she‘d worn white.) The shimmery reflections of the red and white car lights on the wet street sent a little shiver of Christmas spirit right through to her soul, even though it was a warm September day. She had turned the radio off and the patter of the rain on the roof of her car had muted all of the normal busy-day traffic sounds. She felt secluded, happily cocooned in her own little world with just her thoughts to keep her company.

As she sat there enjoying the wait for the green light, it occurred to her that whether she turned left or right or continued straight ahead, she’d still get home, her favorite place in all the world, in about 20 minutes. And, no matter which direction she chose to go, there would be something to see along the way that would make her smile. Of course, no matter which direction she chose to go, there would the possibility that something would annoy her and make her scowl a bit, too.

If she turned left, she could cross the little creek that ran through town. Always lovely, it was especially pretty in the rain. After making the turn, she’d drive straight for about a mile, at which point the road would curve and she would cross a kind-of-bridge. The houses that lined most of the street would fall from view, making her almost forget that this was a residential area and not a country road. On both sides of the bridge, she’d see lush green ferns and willows and that plant with the pretty white flowers; the one she didn’t know the name of. (Granddaddy would have known what it was.) She would see trees standing straight and tall in the dark water, with kudzu and Spanish moss wrapped around the trunks and hanging from the branches. Maybe, if she was lucky, she’d see an ibis or a crane. The surface of the water, more graphite-gray than black, would be sprinkled with thousands of little pewter-colored rain dots. But – and there was always a but – that mile before you got to the creek had a reputation for being a speed trap; a well-deserved reputation that she could personally vouch for. And, once you crossed the creek, the country road once again became a city street lined with non-descript, (some down-right ugly,) houses and businesses.

If she turned right, she could ride by her favorite house in town, the little cottage with the stained glass windows hanging on the porch. A picket fence enclosed an overgrown garden filled with late-blooming flowers, birdhouses and quirky yard art. The owner was in the process of painting, so the house was half pink and half green. And had been for years. Though they had never met, she was sure that the woman who lived there – and she just knew it was a woman – had embraced her inner Bohemianess just as she had, and must be quite a wonderful person. The thing was, to get there she’d have to go through that goofy intersection, where she’d have to cross a busy street at an odd angle, zigging to the right, then zagging quickly to the left. You had to be very careful there because, when the light turned green, drivers unfamiliar with the area, thinking there was no opposing traffic, would turn left smack dab in front of you making you call them and their mamas ugly names.

Straight ahead, the road was lined on each side with massive oak trees whose branches met overhead and formed a lacy green tunnel. Traveling through it, she’d pass some of the town’s oldest houses; houses that were built when this area was still considered “way out in the country.” On her left, she’d see the new built-to-look-like-an-old-farmhouse house with the oh, so cool tin roof. A little further up on the right, would be the pretty white house and it’s wrought iron trellis that was all but hidden beneath a big yellow-flowering vine. What would be her most favorite thing to see, though, was the little garden that had been planted on land bequeathed to the town by the Shack Lady. For a long, long time, and to the consternation of her affluent neighbors, an old woman had lived in a broken-down, not very pretty little house on a much desired, very valuable piece of real estate. After her death, it was discovered that she had been quite well off and had owned the land outright. In her will, she deeded the aforementioned real estate to the townspeople, with the stipulation that no houses would ever be built there; that it would become a garden, instead. Now, instead of being ugly and unkempt, it was one of the prettiest places on the pretty tree-lined street. But – here’s that infamous but again – those pretty trees had big ol’ roots that had buckled the pavement in places and years of bad weather had caused pot holes that had never been repaired properly. The bumpy street just plain needed paving. AND, it headed straight into Five Points, the intersection where six, (not five, but six,) of the busiest streets in town came together. The state-of-the-art traffic light did a good job of keeping things sane, but sometimes you had to wait what seemed like forever for your turn to go.

While she was sitting there trying to name all six points that came together up ahead (much like she sometimes tried to name all eight of Santa’s reindeer or Snow White’s seven dwarves,) the light changed from red to green. She slid her foot from the brake to the accelerator, pressed down, and for no better reason than just because, went straight. “Hmm,” she thought. “Wonder what it would be like if life were like this; if every time you chose a particular life path, you’d know ahead of time just what was ahead, the bad as well as the good.” In her heart, though, she knew that it wouldn’t be a good thing; that fretting over all the bad that could happen would keep you from fully enjoying all the good that was to be had. And besides, she just loved surprises.

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Those Three Little Words

I know you’re thinking, “I love you.” And, actually, at that moment, I did love this woman. I would have happily kissed her on the mouth if she had been standing next to me in my house instead of sitting in a doctor’s office way across town.

I had called earlier, hoping that the results were back before I left for a day of shopping with Anna. The receptionist very nicely explained that the results usually took 7-10 business days and somebody would call me when they were available. “But the nurse at the hospital said five days,” I whined. She kindly offered to put me through to the voice mail of Dr. Meanie’s nurse and I thanked her.

I left a message and explained that I would be gone most of the day and was hoping to hear something before I left. Leaving my cell phone number in case the call came while we were on the road, I ended the call and woke up Miss Anna so she could do listen-for-the-phone duty while I got dressed. “Is your phone charged?” she asked. Well, of course, it is no. I plugged it in and headed for the shower.

I forced myself to shower slowly. I took extra time with my hair and skin care regime, and actually put on mascara. As anxious as I was for answers, I also dreaded getting them. It was the same way I felt when I got my State Board exam results after nursing school. I would pick up the envelope and put it back on the table. I would grab it and start to lift the flap and then throw it back down. I knew that what was in that aforementioned envelope could possibly change my life for the worst. What if I had failed? I would lose my job! How would I make my car payment?! That’s how I felt today. What if the results were bad? It would most definitelychange my life for the worst. Did I really want to know that right before what was supposed to be a fun day of shopping with my sweet baby girl?

All dressed up with somewhere to go, I went to my bedroom and picked the phone up. The tiny little words on that tiny little screen told me that I had not one, but two missed calls from Robin, the nurse. I checked the voice mail and she had, indeed, left a message. “Please call me back when you get this. Tell the girls up front to have me paged.” Have her paged?! It must be really bad, I thought.

Hands shaking, I dialed the number and waited the 5 hours and 33 minutes it took (at least it seemed that long) for her to come to the phone. Actually, in less than a minute, I heard her cheerful (was that a good sign?!) voice on the other end of the line. She said something about last Thursday and the office being closed Friday and a letter that had been mailed to me and scar tissue and blah, blah, blah. I heard bits and pieces and this and that, but then I heard those three little words: “The polyps were benign!” Ok, maybe two of those words were big words, but hearing them was every bit as sweet as hearing I love you. They were benign!

Happy ending, right? Well, of course it is. But there’s more to this story. Last week, I wrote <a href="
http://beemusing.blogspot.com/2009/07/im-scared-we-removed-three-polyps-one.html”>here about how afraid I was and how I could barely think of anything else. Very soon after I posted that story, I was wrapped up in love and support and held up in prayer by friends I’d never met. Their words of encouragement and concern were balm to my aching spirit. One friend beautifully advised me to ”let that fear go out that all may unburden you a bit. and let that fear remind that we are gifted of every moment.” I did let it out and I was unburdened and reminded. And myy heart was filled with those three little words. I love you, my friends.

For more stories of precious gifts, go see Emily at <a href="
http://www.chattingatthesky.com/2009/07/07/the-reluctant-entertainer/”>chatting at the sky.

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I’m Scared

“We removed three polyps – one big one and two little ones. “ He stood at the foot of the stretcher with his hands on his khaki-covered hips looking somehow older than he should have. His hair was dark; his lightly tanned skin, smooth and unwrinkled. His oxford blue shirt was as unwrinkled as his face and the creases in his pants were sharp. His eyes, partially hidden by trendy dark-rimmed glasses, held no sparkle and, had his voice had any tone at all, it would have been one of arrogance. He explained that the polyps looked okay, but that, of course, we’d have to wait on the biopsy results to be sure. If there had been something bad, he was sure that the removal of the meanest looking polyp would have gotten it. “You’ll need to be scoped again in a year,” he explained and he turned to leave. “You’ll hear from me when we get the results.”

He would have been gone if I hadn’t stopped him to ask what I could do to keep the polyps from coming back. I’d be willing to bet that he thought I didn’t see his shoulders slump with irritation as he turned back to answer my question. And answer he did. He gave the Universal Physician Response, the Med School 101 answer to all patient questions, whether it’s about treatment for ingrown toenails or how to keep hair from growing out of the bottom of your feet. “Lose weight, exercise and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.” And then he really was gone.

Feelings of every color created a vibrant collage on the canvas of my psyche. I felt dislike for the wooden-faced doctor. I felt gratitude for the kind, proficient nurses who had cared for me. I felt giddy and fuzzy thanks to the lovely medication that had been shot into my IV prior to the procedure. I felt warm, gooey love for my sweet daughter who had waited with me, talking grown-up talk and telling me about the plans for her life. I felt hungry and thirsty and ready to go home. But I didn’t feel fear or worry.

After Dr. McNotdreamyatall finished his totally-without-feeling lecture talk, I was free to go. I made the bumpy wheelchair ride (I really could have walked!) down to the car and climbed into the passenger seat. Anna put the car in gear and we left the hospital. Mr. Fear and his friend, Ms. Worry, were nowhere to be seen.

Nor did they show up for lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant. We ate quesadillas and talked and giggled and enjoyed being together. When we finished, we stopped into the grocery store next door for the always needed just a few things and then headed home. I took a long, delicious nap undisturbed the troublesome pair and woke up feeling refreshed.

Later, JD3 came home from work and I told him all about my day. Fear and Worry didn’t try to interrupt or give their account of the happenings. I don’t know where they were, but they weren’t hanging around when we decided that we needed Japanese food for supper. They didn’t ride to the restaurant with us (yes, we ate out twice in one day!) they didn’t join us at our table and they didn’t ride back home with us.

But they were there in all of their hateful glory, Fear and Worry, waiting for me when I walked in the back door. They had sneaked in through a tiny crack in my faith. Each picked a shoulder to sit on and there they’ve been ever since. Sometimes, they’re very quiet and I’m just vaguely aware of their presence. Sometimes, when I’m minding my own business and just doing the things I do, I can feel them breathing down my neck. Sometimes, I feel like I’m just being silly and that they were never there at all. That’s when they dig their claws into my shoulders and whisper nasty, mean things in my ears; “What if…” and “It could be…” And once again, I’m scared.

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I Miss Him


I miss hearing him whistle. I don’t remember ever hearing him sing, but I heard him whistle just about every single day. To me, it was as sweet and lovely as any birdsong.

I miss his hands. Big, strong, hardworking hands that could fix anything, yet were soft and elegant and neatly manicured.

I miss how he used to point at the three of us when we hadn’t been his little darlings. His ring finger and thumb would form a circle while each of the other fingers aimed straight for the heart of an errant little girl.

I miss how handsome he looked in baby blue.

I miss how he combed his hair. Not his hairstyle, but how he combed his hair.

I miss how he called his truck, his “cruck.”

I miss seeing him drive; how he leaned into the door, left elbow hanging out of the window. His right arm extended loosely up and over the steering wheel which supported his wrist while his fingers hung between it and the dashboard.

I miss how he used to run “up the street” or “around the block” and come home later with three tiny little brown paper bags filled with bubble gum and brightly wrapped candies sure to make the three of us very happy and the dentist very rich.

I miss answering the phone and hearing him say, “Hey, Bebbo…” or, “Hey, Bebby.”

I miss hearing him call my daughter “Anniebelle.” I wish he could know her now.

I miss hearing him say, “be sweet,” because I knew that really meant “I love you.” For some reason, those words came hard to him, but I didn’t need them. I knew I was loved and loved well.

I miss playing cards with him and hearing him holler with laughter when he “whupped the pants off” of us again and again. And again!

I miss his version of Br’er Rabbit and the Tarbaby. Nobody did sound effects like he did.

I miss calling out to him and hearing his cheerful, clipped, “wut?” in reply.

I miss getting birthday cards signed “Pop” in his tiny, neat handwriting.

I miss how he loved America and John Wayne and Foghorn Leghorn.

I miss how he loved squirrels; how he’d sit on his deck for hours and feed them peanuts, trying to make friends with them. I don’t think he would like it if he knew that she hated them now.

I miss his quietness; how he didn’t need to fill silent spaces with chatter. When he did speak, it was worth listening to.

I miss everything about him. I know that he wasn’t a perfect man, but I loved him with all of my heart and longed to chase his demons away. I wanted to know what caused that quiet sadness that was a part of him and somehow make it all better. Some days, the loss is bearable; no more than a vague, dull ache way in the back of my heart, barely noticeable over the happy clatter of my life. But some times, like this weekend, it’s loud and sharp and raw and it hurts and I would do almost anything to have just one more hour with him, to hug him and tell him I love him. I miss him.

For the last two days, I’ve ridden around town in a little blue truck with the other man in my life. As we’ve gathered plywood and 2×4’s and screws and paint and all the things to set our girl up in housekeeping, I’ve had a chance to think about just how much he’s like my daddy. He has the same values and morals and politics. He, too, has strong, hardworking hands that can fix anything. He doesn’t whistle, but he sings like an angel. He’s a quiet man who loves America and John Wayne and Foghorn Leghorn. And me. He chases my demons away and makes it all better. I am blessed to have found him and will celebrate that every single day for the rest of my life.

For more celebrations, please visit
<a href="
http://www.chattingatthesky.com/2009/06/23/eight-years-later/
“>chatting at the sky

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I just linked up to Jo’s Stories in my Pocket series over at Mylestones. There’re some good reads over there. You should stop by.

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Just Under the Hypothalamus

It was a dark and stormy night. Undisturbed by Nature’s temper tantrum raging just outside her window, she slept deeply and dreamlessly. The previous day’s events, although not catastrophic as she had feared they would be, had left her bone-weary and emotionally drained. Knowing that this was not a night for mindless television nor meaningful conversation, she had kissed her family goodnight and headed off to ready herself for bed two hours earlier than usual. After brushing her teeth and washing her face, she had put on her favorite worn pink T-shirt, turned the fan from low to medium and crawled between the soft, floral sheets.

Within minutes she was soundly asleep, oblivious to all that was around her. Hours later, when her husband clicked off the lamp, turned on the music and slid into bed beside her, she was unstirred. The snores of her little dog, which usually had her wishing for earplugs, were unheard. The thunder boomed and the lightning flashed, and still she slept. Aware only of the fact that she was sublimely comfortable, she let out a small sigh that sounded like “Ahhhh,” turned onto her left side and snuggled her cheek into the cool spot on her pillow. Suddenly, the walls shook and a shrill, terror-inducing wail sliced through the night air, making her bolt upright in bed.

Ok. It wasn’t stormy and it wasn’t night. (I just love saying, in a deep voice British accented voice, “It was a dark and stormy night.”) It was, however, dark. The “shrill, terror-inducing wail” was actually the alarm clock’s annoying little beep beep beep waking me up waaaaaay before I was ready to be awake. I, in fact, did not “bolt upright in bed,” but reached blindly toward the bedside table and felt around for my glasses. Once I finally found them, and every other unnecessary necessity that cluttered the surface, I poured myself out of bed and headed off to the bathroom. I already knew this was going to be one of those days.

I had spent most of the day before fretting and worrying about my 1:30PM appointment with doom my doctor. The very appointment where she would tell me my cholesterol was so bad that nothing short of an IV infusion of Drano could possibly lower it. The same appointment where she would say to me, “No, no. You don’t need to lose weight. You just need to grow 12 inches.” And the appointment where she would look at my blood sugar results and determine that the only thing sweeter than I am is a Krispy Kreme donut covered in chocolate syrup with whipped cream and sprinkles on top. As is turned out, my cholesterol was great, I had lost 5 lbs and my blood sugar was darn near close to normal. What a waste of all that fretting and worrying!

Of course, after a good report from the doc, I felt invincible and eager to attend the Extreme Couponing workshop scheduled for later that evening. After all, a healthy, vibrant, intelligent young thing like me should be quite capable of grasping even the most complex couponing strategies. Excited and sure that I would soon learn to feed my family gourmet meals on a budget of $0.29 a week, I signed in, (with a borrowed pen because mine dried up before I had even completed the B in my first name!) Two hours later, I left with a full bladder, a toothache from clenching my jaw and a head that felt like spiked ping-pong balls were bouncing around in it. I guess I had expected Extreme to mean extremely easy to understand. I guess I was wrong. I went home, took a Goody Powder and went to bed. And slept “deeply and dreamlessly” until that hateful alarm clock woke me up.

As I stood there in the kitchen making coffee, I talked myself into a really nasty mood. “Why does he need coffee, breakfast and lunch?” (I didn’t mention to myself the fact that, in just a few minutes, he would be heading out to work 12 hours in a hot steel mill.) “Am I the only one who ever fills up the sugar dish?” “Could these animals be any needier? I mean, why can’t they just go to the bathroom like the rest of us and then get themselves a Pop Tart or something?” Clearly, my CPABC (The Center for Promoting Awareness of Blessings and Contentment – it’s a little glob of nerves in your brain right near your hypothalamus. Trust me, I’m a nurse.) was malfunctioning. Otherwise, I would have remembered that it was not only a privilege, but one of my greatest joys to take care of my family at any hour of the day.

With a great deal of effort, I got everyone fed, watered and off to work. As soon as the door closed behind JD3, I locked it, called Gracie and we went back to bed. Where again, I slept “deeply and dreamlessly.” And again, a “shrill and terror-inducing wail sliced through the air.” The telephone. It was Mama. “Are you up?” she sang. (I am now. And I want to hurt you.) “What time do you want to go shopping this afternoon?” (Oh, crap. I did tell her I would go with her to buy curtain fabric, didn’t I?) We talked just long enough to set a time for my next appointment with doom her to pick me up.

Since there would be no more sleep, I decided to ease slowly into the day. I made myself a cup of tea and sat down to check my email and read my favorite blogs. I played with the dog and let the cat out. I made my breakfast and forced myself to drink a big glass of water. About an hour before the appointed time, I took a shower. About 45 minutes before the appointed time, Mama came bustling through the back door.

“I know I’m early but you’ve just got to keep Stan’s Father’s Day present here for me.” (No, I don’t mind. Really. I’d be glad to.) “I just love your new canisters let me show you what I got for him I started at Kohl’s but didn’t really like the sale they had going so I went to Penny’s instead where the sale was better and I got all of this for less than $80 so you say a friend sent you those canisters well wasn’t that nice of her they look real pretty there I’m ready anytime you are.” I was pretty sure she didn’t hear me when I told her that I also was in possession of the pretty salt and pepper shakers that matched the pretty canisters.

As soon as I was dressed, we got into her little blue truck (it’s really purple, but she says “blue”) and headed down the road – the middle of the road! I tried with all of my might to lean hard to the right, in hopes of pulling her back into her lane, but I was unsuccessful. The looks of sheer terror on the drivers of oncoming vehicles left her unmoved. Because she was looking at me, telling me all about her kitten and her doctors’ appointments and why she was driving the truck that made her knees hurt to climb in and out of it and how Stan was home working on the car now and she sure hoped he could get it fixed soon (I was doubtful, because he is decidedly un-handy) because this power steering didn’t seem at all like power steering to her.

Surely, Guardian Angels were with us, because we arrived at Hancock Fabrics unscathed. However, we didn’t find exactly what we were looking for so we got back in the truck and went to check out the fabric department at Hobby Lobby. There, we found the perfect fabric, only there was a good deal less than the 20 yards she needed. The nice sales lady informed us that her supervisor could order it for us if we’d like. We told her that yes, we would like and off she went in search of Miss Tallulahbelle. (The names have been changed to protect the kind and very patient innocent.)

While we were waiting, Mama decided that she would get 22 yards “…just in case. I’d rather have a little extra than not enough.” Agreeing with her, I told her that if she did have left over, she could always use it to make napkins. “Ooh, that’s a good idea,” she said as Miss Tallulahbelle walked up the counter and asked if we were the ones who wanted to order 20 yards of this lovely blue and white fabric. “Yes,” Mama says,” I’m making curtains for my kitchen she’s going to help but I think I’m going to get 22 yards instead because that way I’ll be sure and have enough and I figure if I have any left over I can make matching napkins.” (Didn’t somebody just say that?) “Good idea,” says Miss T. “Now, I’ll need a name a phone number?” When she heard Mama’s name, she said that it sounded familiar and asked her if she was from around here. “Well, my husband was born in Oklahoma but grew up in Texas and then spent 30 years in the Navy and then moved around quite a bit so we say he really is the man from nowhere.” I don’t know if Miss Tallulahbelle was at all interested but she smiled anyway. Since I’ve heard that story 9623 times, I was not so inclined.

Fortunately, Hobby Lobby is next door to Lowe’s so it was a short, safe drive to our next stop. We were in search of PVC pipe (or PCV pipe as Mama chooses to call it,) curtain clips and cup hooks, which we were planning to use as hardware with which to hang our beautiful new curtains. We made our way to the window treatments, where we looked at some pretty, but expensive metal brackets and decided against them. Sticking to the original plan to use cup hooks, we put three packs of clips in our buggy and went in search of pipe.

As I stood in front of a bin holding 5-foot sections of half-inch pipe, calculating how many we would need and which connector we should use to make a rod long enough to span the big, middle window, Mama motioned for me to “come here. Here it is in 10-ft pieces. We can just get one of these.”

“I don’t think it’ll fit in the car, Mama.”

“But we have the truck.”

“I don’t think it’ll fit in the truck, Mama.”

“Oh, sure it will.” Undaunted, she wrangled that 10 feet of flop-doodling PVC pipe out of the bin and into the buggy, (well, sort of into the buggy.) Somehow managing to maneuver to the cup hook aisle without impaling anybody on our pipe, we looked for a big ol’ hook that would accommodate our half-inch pipe. (I knew it was half-inch pipe because there, in bold black letters right beside the bar code it said, “1/2 inch PVC .”) It seemed that any thing that was big enough to hold the pipe would also leave a ghastly hole in the wall. Thinking that I needed to think this out some more, I suggested to Mama that we just get what was in our buggy and we would figure out the rest later.

“Oh, no. Let’s just ask this nice man.” Well, this nice man was not. Nice, I mean. Apparently, his little red vest was too tight in the arm pits. Or he was busy wishing he had stayed retired. Or maybe his moon wasn’t aligned with Jupiter or something. But he wasn’t nice. He sighed, turned his pinched little face towards us and, sounding like he’d rather be counting his screws, asked what he could do for us. I explained to him what we were trying to do and what we were looking for to help us achieve our goal. Faster than Billy the Kid, he whipped out a tiny steel tape measure and measured the pipe. “You have half-inch pipe here.” (Really? No kidding?) “I don’t think there’s anything here that will help. You should try over in Window Treatments.” I explained to him that we had already looked there and really didn’t want anything that expensive. “Well, I’m just trying to find something that will help you,’” he snipped. Well, you didn’t, but if I ever need to scare small children, you’re the man I’ll come looking for. Before I could say anything out loud, Mama took me by the arm and led me to the check-out.

When we got to the truck and tried to put the 10 feet of still flop-doodling pipe into the bed, about 4 feet of it hung out of the back. “I don’t think this is going to work, Mama.”

“I’ve got bungee cords. And we’ll tie that hat to the end of it.” Said hat is a now-pink Santa hat that has been riding on the passenger head rest for over 2 years.

“You can’t bungee PVC pipe, Mama.”

“You don’t think? I know, let’s try to stick it in through the passenger window. That might work. You’ll just have to hold on to it.”

It didn’t work. Instead of hanging out of the back, it was now flailing out to the side of the truck. Knowing that howling at your mother in a public parking lot is not only breaking the Fifth Commandment, but is probably also considered trashy and therefore, socially unacceptable, I calmly told her that I didn’t think we were going to be able to get it home in this truck. So what did she do? She marched back in Lowe’s with pipe in hand and exchanged it for 4 5-foot sections and one connector. Can you say, “Aaaaaaarrrrrrgggghhh?!”

When our goodies were secured totally in the back of the truck, we decided it was time for a late lunch. After mulling over all of our options, we made the short drive to Zaxby’s for one of their great grilled chicken salads. It was a short drive, but I had plenty of time to fear for my life as did the man who happened to be leaving the parking lot as she was driving in. For some reason, he seemed bothered by the fact that she was turning into his lane! Passing a parking spot that she could have simply driven into, she chose one that required her to pull in and back out. And pull in and back out until she was within her white lines. It was, after all, two feet closer to the door.

Part of the reason we had chosen Zaxby’s and salads was that earlier, we both had talked about eating healthier and taking better care of ourselves. So, when the cute little girl behind the counter asked if she could take my order, I said, “I’ll have the blackened Bleu Zalad,(they call them Zalads, isn’t that cute?) no dressing and a cup of water.” Mama then said, “I’ll have the House Zalad with extra Ranch dressing. And sweet tea.” Shaking my head, I chose a table for us and waited on them to call our number. Soon, the salads were ready and they looked delicious – fresh green lettuce, orange carrots, purple cabbage and bits of white cheese sprinkled about. The kind of salads that you see in magazines and advertisements. Three servings of dressing later, Mama’s looked more like potato salad than the healthy one she had chosen from the menu. We asked God to bless our food (and I added a silent request for my safety on the trip home) and ate our lunch.

Finally, the day was over and I was on my way home. When the truck came safely to a stop in the driveway and I climbed out, I tamped down the urge to fall to my knees and kiss the ground. Because she had consumed a lot of tea, Mama came in to use the bathroom and as she walked by the table, she said, “Oh look. I didn’t know you had the salt and pepper shakers, too. Aren’t they cute?!”

It had been a long day. But when I got home, my sweet Annabanana had been standing on the back steps with her arms open waiting to give me a hug. Gracie was standing just inside the back door, her whole body vibrating in greeting. She, too, had given me a hug, albeit a painful one. JD3 had driven up just as Mama was leaving. Here they were, this family that I had groused about taking care of early that morning; these people (and animals) that I love more than anything in this world and who were as happy to see me as I was to see them. They listened and laughed as I told them about Hobby Lobby and the “PCV” pipe and the mean little man. As I told my story, I realized how blessed I am to have a nearly 70 year-old mother who is healthy and able to take care of herself and drive me nuts on a regular basis. I guess my CPABC wasn’t malfunctioning after all.

Please stop over at chatting at the sky for more Tuesdays Unwrapped

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