Friday, April 19, 2013


...Except for me.

Did you know that there are such things as tonsil stones? Yup. They’re white and gross and stink to high heavens, and like to live it up in the pits and crevices of your teenaged son’s infected throat. And then he has two choices: either he picks them out of his throat himself, every day of his life, or has a surgeon do it for him permanently. 

We chose the latter. Thus, a tonsillectomy was scheduled.

Of course, everybody we mentioned this to had a horror story. Not one person had a joyful experience, or knew of anyone who hadn’t answered the door to Death, and slammed it closed, just in time.

“I knew a girl that went riding her four wheeler, like a week after her surgery, and nearly bled to death out on the desert terrain.”

“I knew a guy who died a couple of days later. He just told his wife he didn’t feel well and had to lie down, and bam. Dead.”

Even I joined in, whispering ominously, “I remember a girl who had her tonsils out right before she got married. And then the night before her wedding, she started to hemorrhage with the beat of her heart.” Followed by a thumb drag across my neck and cryptic nod.

But in the end, we dismissed all of the warnings with a wave of our hand and a mocking eyeball roll, because we knew we were different. 

Day 1—FANTASTIC! Hardly even noticed he’d had surgery.

Day 2—Even better than day one! Keepin’ up on the pain killers and life is a bowl of ice cream.

Day 3—Whoa. Ouch. Little bit of blood.


As we sat there in the emergency room, watching the surgeon pull chunks of coagulated blood out of our son’s throat, we had to face the reality: Seems we are not different. As much as we’d like to think we’re the exception, about 99% of the time, we’re the rule.

This made me think of some other times I’ve thought I was immune. 

“I’m pretty sure I can eat a five pound bag of Hot Tamales (every day of my life) and look good in a swimming suit.”

“I do my best work under pressure.”

“If I ignore the problem, it will solve itself.”

Turns out the actual real world application of eating Hot Tamales is your gut gets fat. And so does your back and your bum and your chins and your earlobes. Then you become a liability to that lycra, and the swimsuit would rather not be seen with you.

Also, let’s be honest—NOBODY does their best work under pressure...except for mothers giving birth and coal. And coal is not a person.

Then that last one about ignoring the problem, expecting it to go away? Yeah, no. It doesn’t. Like a blemish turns to a boil, it gets bigger and more devastating. Recently, I had an impression that my child, who had just arrived home, had been out doing something he was warned not to do. So I laid in bed and argued with myself. 

“Stupid kid. I’m not going to talk to him. He knows it’s wrong. And he’s grown. And he’s stupid. Stupid kid.” 

“Sorry, but you have to. You’re his mom. Moms have to save stupid kids from themselves until they can find a wife to pawn him off on. Just save us the trouble and get up.”

Back and forth we went, until finally, I dragged my weary head out of bed and confronted the stupid kid. And just like I thought, he WAS doing something wrong, but he was convinced he was the exception, not the rule, so no harm would come to him. Sound familiar? Fortunately, his father and I popped that zit before it got out of hand, and I just know he’ll thank us...later on.

Well, anyway, I guess we’d all rather make the rules than follow them, bless our hearts. And sure, maybe 99% of the time we are the rule, but there’s always that elusive 1% roaming around out there...and I think it has my name on it.  

Monday, April 8, 2013


I credit my svelte childhood figure to a steady diet of Cheesies (belly buttons). You could probably say the same thing—


I decided to get some exercise the other day. Pulled on my pink hoodie, threw on a pair of ugly tennis shoes and opened my heart and nostrils along with the front door to embrace the sweet spirit of spring.

About three houses down, I threw out my hip. But because I’d fortified myself with a couple sleeves of Thin Mint cookies, I shook it off and kept on keeping on. Why? Because a spring day such as this called for some ditch sniffing. Which is how I discovered a terrible tragedy, you guys: The ditches are gone.

Seriously. They’re gone. The ditches are gone. The six foot wide, six foot deep, open mouthed, running water, spider infested attractive nuisances that used to line every country road (and have been mentioned before in my column) are...gone.

Now I don’t know why for sure, but I suspect they killed one child too many, as every one of us, from the beginning of time, were known to be found in them often, either walking or floating or wading through the brown sludge to pick up and carry home a diseased carcass of some sort or another.

So okay, yes. Maybe in covering them up a few lives were saved, which some people might call progress, and that’s fine, I guess—if you like that sort of thing. But as I walked along, missing the ditches, I couldn’t help but recall when sidewalks were scarce, cheesies were food, and every stretch of road was a pathway for cattails and irrigation.

Which leads me to ask: How in the WORLD does every child born have an innate knowledge that cheesie weeds are edible? I’m pretty sure I heard the siren song of the cheesie in my crib. Then when I was old enough to grab my own Cool Whip bowl, I went foraging. To find a sizable clump meant a feast would be held, and I screamed and yelled for my friends to, “COME HELP PEEL THE CHEESIES!” Somebody could always be counted on to supply the Otter Pops, and after the meal, we all returned home, coughing on Otter Pop syrup, with a belly full of weed buttons.

Back then, very few of us qualified to ride the bus, so we spent eternity walking to and from school. One thing that made it bearable was coming upon somebody’s flooded yard. We didn't know this phenomenon was connected to farming or water turns. We just knew we got to stop, splash and jump until the grass turned to mud. I would imagine there were many lawns completely destroyed by the pitter patter STOMP of little feet.

We loved collecting pods, especially those most noxious, and pulling them apart to let the innards explode in a giant puff of seedlings. We had no idea until we were grown ups that we were responsible for the fields of dandelions that colored the landscape and tormented our parents.

Well, anyway, as I said, the ditches are gone. Which means a fair amount of my childhood was buried in the dirt with the pipes. But as long as there are cheesies to peel and dandelions to curse, we can rest our blessed hearts, knowing that the things that matter are still okay.

        Now excuse me while I get my Cool Whip bowl, cuz I see a really nice patch over there...