Thanks for asking.
As some of you know, I took Mama a few weeks ago to Mobile, where she had a couple of 90-plus-year-old teeth extracted, a procedure that would have set anyone back and, in her case, it did. Then she had a fall and cut her elbow. And when I took her to the emergency room, I learned the advantages of a small town with a good hospital and was thankful that Alabama Sen. Lister Hill co-authored the act back in 1946 that made such a facility possible.
Then I got her home and Mama came down with a cold.
Getting old ain’t for sissies.
And in comes Mrs. Fuller, Mama’s rock in a weary land, the woman whose care makes it possible for my mother to live at home, which is where she wants to be.
To get her well — teeth, elbow and cough — the doctor prescribed a series of antibiotics and, as Mama described it, “a shot in the butt.”
Mrs. Fuller prescribed lemon tea with a spoonful of whiskey.
Although my mother is not one to bare her butt or imbibe in strong spirits, she followed the orders of Mrs. Fuller and the doctor, and the result has been most satisfactory.
So we are ready for Christmas.
Actually, Christmas has already come upon us.
Last week, my son became the proud owner of his first dog — a blond lab puppy the boy named “Bo.” (As in Bo Jackson, get it?) Since my brother-in-law breeds labs, and since two Christmas litters arrived, it was pretty well ordained that a puppy would come our way. Unfortunately, the name “Bo” sounds much like “no,” which is a word puppies hear often, so we are going to have to train ourselves to say “stop” or we will have a conflicted dog in the days to come.
When we went over to Georgia to let the boy pick his puppy, we took our daughter along to enjoy the experience.
You can see where this is heading.
Sure enough, in the second Christmas litter was a chocolate female that our daughter immediately fell in love with, and in a couple of weeks we will drive back over and pick up “Willow.”
Libby the Lab, the puppy’s half-sister, has been our only house dog for the last three years. She is less than enthusiastic about Bo. Her reaction to Willow is predictable.
Fa, la, la, la, la.
It will take more than a spoonful of whiskey to get me through the holiday season.
Every year, Christmas seems to get just a little more bizarre.
Last weekend, my wife’s family gathered at my sister-in-law’s outside of Nashville, where the dogs cavorted, the cousins bonded and the adults ate enough to feed a small Third World nation for a week. Then we went to a nearby town to shop.
It was a lovely little historic village, festooned with Christmas banners that my son said reminded him of the cover of Guns N’ Roses’ “Appetite For Destruction” album. We found a place to park next to the Episcopal church, reasoning that if the congregation objected, I could plead our case since I was still an Episcopalian. Or, at least, I think I am. The bishop laid his hands on me some years ago in what I figure was a “one and done” ceremony. I was in and no one has thrown me out — yet.
Thus situated, we began, we band of merry wives and docile husbands, venturing out to explore antique shops selling rusty, dusty stuff at Christmas sale prices, craft shops selling crafty stuff that had been crafted for the seasonal market, and an establishment featuring brightly colored winged pigs, made out of tin and displayed in three different sizes. They were, the shopkeeper said, “flying off the shelves.”
La, la, la, la.
So I bought one. The smallest. One does not wish to be ostentatious, does one, especially in the selection of a flying pig?
Then we went back to the in-laws’ to see what damage the dogs had wrought, eat more food and let the children open gifts, for what would Christmas be without children and gifts?
Then we drove back to Alabama.
As I write this, Christmas is still a week away. At home, our halls are decked, our presents are planned and in some cases actually in hand, our “gay apparel” is selected to be donned and as you can tell, I am ’et up with the spirit of the season.
But most important of all, thanks to lemon tea, a spoonful of whiskey and a shot in the butt, Mama is on the mend.
’Tis the season to count our blessings.
And our dogs.
Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is Eminent Scholar in History at Jacksonville State University and a columnist and editorial writer for The Star. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.