So, we have been home for 5 days, and it is starting to feel normal again. I am getting out and making my neighborhood rounds. A few people and cats noticed that I hadn’t been around. Some of the people had heard that Mike was sick and in the hospital, but no one believed that I had been there with him the whole time. Mike is doing amazingly well. He tends to tire out easily, and his hair is falling out and getting all over everything. That is probably compliments of Brother Chemo. If he goes bald I will post a picture. It will be weird to see him without a beard. He says he grew it in 1967, shaved the following year, but immediately grew it back. So basically, 53 years. Mike says he grew it his senior year in medical school. Dean Grove told him he had to shave it before graduation, but Mike was rebellious (imagine that), and didn’t do it. It’s a good thing he didn’t need a recommendation from the college for anything after he graduated.
Mike got to sharing stories about his mother with us one day in the hospital. The first has to do with her father who was very strict and very much a prude. When Bernice was a teenager she had a get-together at home, and the kids were playing a game. It was a guessing game in which one person would think up a thing, or an activity, and the other kids would ask for clues. The name of the game was “coffee pot.” When a kid would ask for a clue the phrase “coffee pot” was substituted for the actual thing or activity. On one occasion, Bernice’s father had just walked into the room when someone asked, “Do you coffee pot standing up or sitting down?” Her father made everyone go home.
Mike was a witness to an incident when they went over to visit a cousin, Ronnie H. When they arrived, Ronnie shared some good news with them. Bernice said it made her want to jump for joy. Then she suggested that everyone jump for joy together. Ronnie said he did not want to jump for joy, and Mike declined as well. So Bernice jumped for joy, solo. You may have heard that white men can’t jump. Well, the same applies to white women in their mid-seventies. Mike says she got about 1/2 inch off the ground, tops.
The next 2 stories came from cousin Barbie who was a witness. Mike’s mother had strange ideas about what clothes she looked good in, and it drove some of her cousins wild. She would never wear anything that her father wouldn’t approve of. For the last 15 years of her father’s life they lived together. Cousin Harriette took Bernice shopping one day, and they came home with clothes other than the white pants, white blouse, and white jacket that she customarily wore. Barbie had stopped by just as they returned home. Bernice put on a fashion show for her father. She went into the bedroom, put on a new outfit, and came out twirling around and asking, “What do you think, Pa?” He would make a face and say he didn’t like each outfit as it was paraded in front of him. Harriette was disgusted, and Barbie didn’t think she had seen anything quite that funny in a long time. Needless to say, everything was returned, and Harriette never offered to take Bernice shopping again.
Once Mike’s grandfather had a skin cancer removed from the top of his head. He couldn’t stop picking at it. Bernice fashioned a cone-shaped cap out of aluminum foil and taped it to the top of his head. To say that it looked silly would be an understatement. This was also witnessed by cousin Ronnie.
The last story for today comes from meal time. Every time grandpa ate it would cause his nose to run. So he would dig at his nose as though he hoped to find gold inside. This habit drove Bernice crazy. One day Mike was there and the performance began. She said ,”Pa, what is it with you? Why do you have to dig at your nose?” To which grandpa responded, “If it was your nose you would know.” It just goes to show that no matter how much people love each other if they spend too much time together they can get on each other’s nerves. One amusing aspect of all this strangeness, according to Mike, is that Bernice and her father would frequently talk with each other about other people’s peculiarities.
So I suppose you have strange people in your family as well, yourself not included. It helps keep life entertaining, and we, hopefully, learn not to take ourselves too seriously. That’s all today from Happy Meadows. Be safe, be well, and you be the one to decide if you want to coffee pot standing up or sitting down.