Celeste, Rita, Betty, Dot, Shirley and me got together for our girls night out last week, per usual. Betty was hostin’ and she whipped up a batch of her Marvelous Marcel Bars. Oh, to die for! I mean, what’s not to like about something that’s made with not only an entire bag of chocolate chips, but a bag of peanut butter chips, too.
After wolfin’ down one with a white wine chaser, Shirley goes, “Thanks, Betty. I needed that.”
“Tough day?” I ask.
“Not one of Mini’s better ones.”
Mini is Shirley’s mom. Lives in the mother-in-law apartment Junior attached to he and Shirley’s house. Shirley’s one of five and the only girl, so you know how that goes: caretakin’ always falls to the daughter. Mini’s her nickname, though she’s had it so long I can’t remember, if I ever knew, what her given name is. ‘Course, Mini’s called Mini ‘cause she’s over six feet tall.
Betty asks, “Did she leave the stove on again?”
“Nope, we disconnected it. Thinkin’ of getting her an easy bake oven.”
“Poor dear,” Rita adds. “What a good cook she was. I still remember her butterscotch cream pie.”
“Oh boy, that homemade butterscotch was a slice of heaven, huh?”
“Nothing like it!”
“How long has she been livin’ with you now, Shirley?” I ask.
“Been what? Two years? That’s the kicker. Just when I’m thinkin’ she’s all settled in, she’ll have a day like this where she keeps asking to go home. Over and over. Can you pass me another one of them chocolate peanut butter thingy’s, will ya? What do you call ‘em?”
“Marvelous Marcel Bars.”
“That they are. Thanks, dear. Anyways, twice this morning, I put her in the car, drove ‘round the block and then announced we were home. That usually works.”
“It’s all new, all the time,” Celeste says.
“Not today. She still wouldn’t settle down.”
“Geez,” Dot asked. “What’d you do?”
“Well, I asked her to find me a purple cantaloupe in the fridge. That kept her busy for awhile. Then, just like that, she was fine.”
“You’re a good daughter, Shirley!” I says.
“Pe shaw, enough about me. What’s up with the rest of you?”
“I got a funny one,” Celeste says, “along the same lines. Happened to my dad, day before yesterday. You know he’s got that Lifeline, right?”
For the uninitiated, Lifeline is the thingy your senior wears on their wrist or around there neck, so if they fall, all they have to do is press the button and help is on the way.
Rita goes, “My mom’s having none of it. How’d you ever talk him into getting one?”
“Well, with Lifeline, it’s a two talk deal. First, you have talk ‘em into getting one. Then you have to talk ‘em into actually wearin’ the darn thing!”
“Ain’t that the truth.”
“Took some talkin’, but Dad’s pretty good about wearing it, now. He’s got the one that goes around your neck. Now, you know my dad’s a good sleeper, right? That he can doze off morning, noon or night after two cups of high test coffee.”
“God,” says, Betty. I wish I could sleep like that”
“Anyhoo, he’s kicked back in his recliner, watchin’ the tube (napping, really) when all of sudden, there’s this commotion. He wakes up to find the EMT’s with a stretcher right there in his den.”
“What? Did he set the Lifeline off by mistake or something?”
“Bet that woke him up quick,” I say.
“Don’t know who was more surprised, Dad or the EMT’s.”
“Classic,” Betty muses. “It’s always something, isn’t it?”
“How about getting ‘em to admit they need hearin’ aids?”
“That’s another two talk deal. Getting ‘em, then getting ‘em to wear ‘em.”
“Or how ‘about usin’ their cane?”
“I’ve given up on that one. Mom’s just too proud. ‘Makes me look old.’ she says.”
“It helps to go to their doctors appointments with ‘em,” I says. “That way you can ask the question, like about the cane, and someone else gets to be the bad guy.”
“Still,” Rita says, “we’re lucky to still have ‘em with us.”
“That we are.”
Dot sighs, “I hate being an orphan,” and Rita pats her hand.
Shirley adds, “As hard as it is with Mini sometimes, I’m glad to do it. We have some laughs, too, I gotta tell you.”
“It’s a gift, really. They were always there for us.”
Shirley goes, “Certainly gives us somethin’ to yak about! Now top off my glass, will ya? And pass ‘round those Marvelous whatevers.”
“We may have to shut you off, Shirley,” I says.
“Heck, I’ve only had a glass and a half of wine.”
“No, I was talkin’ about them Marcel Bars.”
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
Upcoming Shows and Book Events
April 16: Filming The View From He’ah, with guest Lucie Therrien, 7:00p.m., PPMtv, Portsmouth, NH
April 17: The Moose in Me, The Moose in You, The Firehouse Center for the Arts, 8:00 p.m., Newburyport, MA
May 26: Book Reading Finding Your Inner Moose, Old Town Public Library, 11:00 a.m., Old Town, ME
May 26: Book Reading Finding Your Inner Moose, Pittsfield Public Library, 6:00 p.m., Pittsfield, ME