Those of us who still enjoy the company of all, or some, of our parents know that as they grow older patience can be more than just a virtue. It may be the Familial Albatross we so proudly bear about our stooping Boomer shoulders. No matter how much we love them, at some point – if not several – our buttons will have had all the pushing they can stand and we’ll let fly with something we know we’ll regret as soon as we utter it…or soon after they’ve kicked the bucket (whichever comes first). Can’t be helped, we are only human.
Valet Boy’s Readers will recall his initial jump back into the publishing world with his searing, biting and oh-so-tough 3 Part journalistic tirade on the Medical System and his Mom’s roller coaster experience with her doctors, after her return from a whirlwind tour of the British Isles….Too bad VB did not know about the pending Oil Spill in the Gulf, he would’ve planted 30w packed pipe bombs in Mom’s baggage for delivery to BP’s London Head Quarters.
I can only imagine what would’ve happened at the Airport Check-In.
TSA: “Ma’am, would you step over here, please?”
Mrs. Boy: “I had my hip replaced last year.”
TSA: “Yes, ma’am.”
Mrs. Boy: “What?”
TSA: “I said, yes ma’am!!!”
Mrs. Boy: “It’s titanium…or unobtanium. Anyway, I haven’t had a lick of trouble from it.”
TSA: “Ma’am, is this your suitcase?”
Mrs. Boy: “What are you doing with my suitcase?”
TSA: “What’s this?”
Mrs. Boy: “I just told you that’s my suitcase.”
TSA: “No, ma’am. These three sealed metal tubes with fuses coming out of them? They look like pipe bombs. What are you doing with pipe bombs in your luggage?”
Mrs. Boy: “Oh, my son gave me those. He said I should toss ’em into BP’s headquarters and blow the hell out of those MotherEarth-raping-bastards.”
TSA: “You’re cleared. Next!”
Upon hitting the respectable age of 16 and receiving my Driver’s License (the Golden Fleece of Teendom) – I was, more often than not, my Mom’s first choice for chauffeur duties with my 3 sisters and Grandmother.
Granny had played piano – by ear. Taught herself – and whenever she had the chance would tickle the ivories. By the time I was in my late teens, Granny had acquired selective deafness – meaning if she didn’t want to hear it, she didn’t have too – was almost blind from Glaucoma & cataracts and probably suffering a little from dementia. Though she stayed relatively sharp until the time came for her to join the Angels. (They sent her back to us when they discovered she did not know the first thing about pro Baseball)
I’d pile Granny into the car and start the motor, “Okay, Granny, where are we going?”
She’d look at me through her storm door eye-glasses and say, “Don’t you know?”
For a teenager that sort of thing can be infuriating. I’d get angry, rant and rave and she’d sit there and take it. I’d feel terrible (and still do), but I’d cleverly disguise my guilt with more ranting and raving. She’d blink behind her fogged window panes and blankly stare at me. I can still see her shrunken frame in the passenger seat, hear her raspy smoker’s voice as she starts in one of her favorite topics: My Sisters. They were a wild bunch in those days and a prime target for heaping helpings of elder disdain.
A couple of weeks ago, the oldest of my fem-sibs, had a pool party and Mom and I trudged over to cool down from the stifling pre-summer heat wave. As often happens after a few adult lubricants, P.A. – the youngest sibling – launched herself down a meandering path through the cobwebs of memory lane. “You remember, right after you got your license. Mom and Dad sent you to Burger King to pick up something for dinner? Me and Shannon went with you.”
I had no idea what she was talking about. She lost me at “You remember”. I shook my head. Nope.
“We got a huge bag of food and Shannon had it in the back seat of that old blue Chevy you used to drive.”
Luckily, I DO remember my sister and happily recall the old ’61 Bel-Air I drove through high-school and my first year at University.
“Well, Shannon got mad for some reason…” (My sisters were always getting mad for some reason – Usually, that reason was Moi!) “She got into the bag of food and started throwing it at you…Coke, hamburgers, french fries, ketchup and milk shakes were all over us and the car.”
Sorry. That’s still not ringing any bells for me. But, it does seem to offer palpable hints as to why I have remained single.
Apparently, we arrived home covered in the food mulch and tap danced around some feeble excuse for the Why’s and Wherefore’s. Dad’s Irish Temper shot up like Krakatoa (Dad’s temper was always a little volatile, but viciously explosive when it came to problems with meals). Quick thinking prevailed and the poor Chevy bore the burden for the mishap: “No, honest, dad. It must’ve happened when that rabid cow ran across Atlanta Highway and charged straight for us! Lucky we weren’t killed!” Translation: Narrowly escaped a serious beating that night. Whew.
Valet Boy has no recollection of any of this.
But, little sis swears she remembers it like it was yesterday. All Valet Boy can surmise, by way of an excuse for this lapse in memory bank functionality, is that College was right around the corner and the time (this was the late 60s after all) when many of us majored in combustibles and ingestibles. And as we have since learned, these mind-altering substances often serve to erase some non-essential memories.
So far, thankfully, I still do remember how to tie my shoes, brush my teeth and parallel park.
Many thanks to NC Governor Beverly Perdue for signing “Susie’s Law” – enacting long-awaited much stiffer penalties for animal cruelty and abuse. Lots of love and gratitude to Susie and the humans who rescued her and all of those who helped push this law through.
Thanks for reading,
Next Time: Valet Boy takes Miss Peggy on her happy journey from Monkeytown to Enterprise to visit her sister and remarkably no one gets stuffed in the trunk or driven off a cliff.