FYI, my neighbors are not running a crack house.
I was glad to find that out.
They’re long-time residents, the husband grew up a couple of doors down and his folks still live in the old family house, while the wife grew up a few blocks over.
They do have a big ol’ beast in the backyard of German shepherd persuasion, who is actually like a big cuddly toy when she’s let out of the gate. She’s a great watchdog, although she does bark at everything.
I won’t complain about that.
Bark away, doggiebreath. You give me comfort.
So I’m on the phone with my aunt the other day, she with the strong Boston accent, when I asked about her grandkids.
All doing well, adjusting to school, driving the parents nuts.
She has a granddaughter, going on 10, who has Down Syndrome.
She’s a little thing, still wearing a size 6.
“How’s she doing in school this year?” I asked.
“Ow magahd..she loves it! She’s reelly a good kid, but owmagahd if you ahn’t playin’ witha the way she wants tah play, she’s a holy terrah!”
Of course, I thought that was really funny.
“If you get down on the flo-ah witha, and let hah play big sistah or dentist or docktah, she’s happy as a clay-yam (clam), but owmagahd..if you don’t do what she wants, fahgeddit!”
We both cracked up laughing and she continued on, “I was ovah theyah the otha day babysittin’ when we got on the flo-ah to play church. I told her in a whispa ‘You have to be quiiiiet cause yer in church...’ and she sits there quietly faraminit and all of a sudden, she stahts doin’ her thumbs wicked fast. I said ‘what ah ya doin’ honey?’ and she says, ‘I texting.’ ‘You’re texting? In church?’ ‘Yeah, I texting my friends to let them know I love them.’ ‘Where did you learn how to text?’ ‘Laurie the babysitter, she texts all the time...’. Imagine that! Watching the babysittah! Owmagahd Ellie, it was hysterical! Honest tah Gahd!”
I was just rolling...
A couple of days later, I’m sitting in the cramped little waiting room in radiology waiting for my mammogram.
There were four other women in there, all discussing why they were there. Each of them was having a check up with the exception of an elderly woman who was there to make sure she was still cancer-free, her second bout having been addressed a year earlier.
She wasn’t wearing any pink ribbons or anything. In fact, she was very nonchalant about it all.
“Oh well, whatcha gonna do? Boobs. They come, they go. At least I’m still here!”
I liked her attitude a lot.
The woman who seemed to be interviewing everyone mentioned that not only was breast cancer very scary, but melanoma was too.
“I was playing with my husband’s hair one night when I started to kind of tickle his ear and I felt this ... this ... thing on it. I said, ‘What’s that?’ and he said, ‘I don’t know...’ so I looked at it and said, ‘You’d better go to the doctor first thing in the morning and have that looked at. So he did, and the doctor told him that as soon as he got home, he was to call our daughters and have them make sure they checked for melanoma, as what he had was genetic. He underwent several treatments on that ear because it had gotten so deep!”
I nodded and said, “Yeah, I think ol’ Hubs has had something similar.”
“Did he get it checked out?”
“Oh girl, you gotta know ol’ Hubs. He is not one for visiting the doctor. If he can’t cure it with vinegar or Neosporin or patch it up with duct tape and a sponge, then it ain’t worth messin’ with.”
All four faces were shocked.
“Did he have melanoma?” one of them asked.
“I don’t know,” I said, “It sure looked like it to me.”
“Well how did he get rid of it?” asked the Barbara Walters of the group.
“Oh, he bought a small soldering iron at Walmart and just burned off anything that looked suspicious.”
I smirked and shrugged.
You know, it is what it is.
They all started laughing hysterically, like I was making it up.
I said, “Oh, I kid you not. If he feels a bump on his back, he calls ME in to brand him!”
Another one said, “It sounds just awful! How long do you hold that thing ON there?”
“Till he digs his nails into the wall. That’s usually a sign that I’ve hit a nerve ending.”
Then I laughed.
“And he’s always been that way. The only time he’s been to the doctor in the last 10 years is when he thought he was dying. Literally. He passed out twice from being in so much pain it scared the living daylights out of him.”
“What was it?” they all wanted to know.
“He was passing a kidney stone.”
They all inhaled sharply, each making a grimace and feeling the pain.
“Yeah, he said he’d rather have another vasectomy than have to go through that again!”
“What about that smell of burning flesh?” a woman in the corner asked.
“From his vasectomy? I don’t think they burned that off!”
Hardy har har, that got a good laugh.
“No,” she said smiling, “When you have to solder those bumps off.…”
“Oh, I just hold my nose and wait till he screams in pain. It doesn’t smell too much, really. It’s kind of a sick game with me though. I get to be passive aggressive at his request.”
“Your husband sounds like one of those ‘mountain men’...” commented Barbara Walters.
“If you mean he sounds ‘cheap’, you’re right. But yeah, he’s definitely a do-it-yourselfer.”
All of sudden, our meeting came to an end.
Each of us got called in at about the same time.
“It’s Mashed Potato time, girls,” I said, “Good luck!”
It was fun talking to them.
I’m sure they were all totally grossed out hearing about the soldering iron, but I’m sure they’ll repeat the story to their friends, too.
Lively little stories that fill in the empty spaces of the day.
Sometimes we just need to share one.