We all have those moments when life throws us a curve. Some situations are harrowing while others have a bit of humor tossed in. Our household had enjoyed pretty placid–some might even call them boring–lives for most of the summer on into fall. Last week, however, one of our more colorful neighbors decided it was time to liven things up.
Abie loves a good time. The only excuse he needs to party is that it’s Tuesday. . .or Wednesday. . .or–well, you get the picture. With Halloween just days away, he figured he’d commune with the spirits–the liquid variety, that is, and he communed whole-heartedly. But spirits tend to possess a person, and the outcome is never good. After downing heaven only knows how many, he jumped in his truck (probably to buy more) and went screaming down a backroad highway faster than anyone would have believed that old ’83 Ford could travel. Mind you, he was in control–he’ll swear to that; but these blamed vehicles sometimes have a mind of their own, especially this time of year. (Remember Christine? And let’s not forget The Car!) At any rate, the devil got into the old Ford and it headed off the road, taking out a hundred feet of fence and hitting a power pole with enough velocity to sheer it off, treating the neighborhood to ten to fifteen seconds of lightning and fireworks before plunging the countryside into darkness. Luckily, no one was hurt, although the story would have been far different had anyone been driving up that road. Abie didn’t even appear all that shaken and would have continued on his merry way, except the Ford got hung up on irrigation pipe and mired in mud. Anyway, Abie was there waiting when the sheriff arrived and, after he blew up the breathalyzer, got carted off to jail while crews cleaned up his mess.
Halloween evening we visited Grandma Lydia, a prim and proper white-haired lady of 93, at the nursing home. She was sitting near the lobby with several other residents, most of whom held bowls of candy to pass out to the trick or treaters who visited the home each year. Unfortunately, the staff had run out of candy and a half-dozen residents had nothing to hand out. One old gentleman looked particularly forlorn and, since Grandma Lydia had plenty of candy, she gave him a handful. Before the children arrived, however, he had eaten most of it, which got him yelled at by the nurse. Anyway, we watched the parade of ghosts, goblins and superheros passing through. The residents genuinely enjoyed themselves, especially Grandma Lydia, who positively beamed at each child while she complimented their costume. But even before the trick or treating ended we noticed Grandma Lydia getting pale. When she asked to be taken to her room, we knew she was really sick. As we helped her into bed she complained of chest pain, with the pain radiating down her arm, and burning pain in her stomach. Fearing the worst, LPN’s and orderlies hovered over her while I went for a nurse.
The head nurse talked with Grandma Lydia a few minutes and then left, soon returning with a glass of liquid, which she instructed Grandma Lydia to drink quickly. Somehow Grandma got it down and then for a few seconds just sat with a funny expression on her face. “How do you feel?” the nurse asked. Grandma Lydia opened her mouth, but no words came out. Instead, there rumbled forth a burp that would have done the toughest roughneck proud and elicited a rousing ovation from the staff. Gas, not a heart attack, was the culprit. Grandma Lydia turned beet red but the nurse put it all in perspective. “Hey,” she said. “At 93 you’re entitled to a good belch!”
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