I may have to finish this column later. Jane is working in what was left of her flower garden after the fire, a fiasco which yours truly was allegedly involved in. That’s a story for another day if I don’t forget. Fortunately, the toasted azalea leaves will help remind me. After the leaves drop, I’ll rely on the charred, barren limbs of about 20 bushes.
My plant-loving wife is immersed in a salvage operation this morning, but apparently her breakfast ran out before our next major feeding period. She doesn’t usually eat much between meals. Today, however, for reasons unknown to me, she must be extremely hungry at 10 am. Her voice had a sense of urgency.
“Hurry! she said, “Snack! Bring the gum!” Then she hung up, although it’s perhaps incorrect to say “hung up” regarding a cell phone. Maybe I should say she ended the call or hit the red button. Either way, she stopped talking before telling me what kind of snack she wanted. If she doesn’t call back soon, I’ll probably take her a bowl of watermelon since it’s about to be too ripe.
It’s unlike her to be impatient about anything, and she’s never that way about food. I’m a bit puzzled by her frantic request for a snack and even more so about the gum. I don’t even remember the last time she chewed gum, but that’s what she said. I’m absolutely positive that’s what she said.
Sometimes, though, my hearing is not as reliable as it needs to be. At a recent worship service our youth minister mentioned the offerings from Vacation Bible School were going to Daybreak Pregnancy Care Center. It shocked me when he said if the goal of one thousand dollars was reached, he was getting high. When the congregation laughed, I wondered if I had misunderstood. It turned out he and our pastor had agreed to get “pied” to save lives.
Many in the Joiner lineage have some gradual hearing loss that begins around age 50. Our standard practice is to deny it’s a problem for a couple of decades. When hearing aids are eventually purchased, they are put beneath our wills in a safety deposit box in case we need them later.
One day I mentioned to a friend about the aggravation of living with poor hearing, but that the idea of wearing hearing aids was not appealing. “It seems very inconvenient,” I mused.
He told me he had needed hearing aids for fifteen years but hadn’t bought any. “I haven’t found anyone who doesn’t complain about wearing them,” he said, “so I decided to just act stupid.” I’ve been testing his system for several months and it’s working splendidly. That’s probably because I was already acting that way long before having any hearing loss. Preparation is an essential part of success.
Occasionally what I’m hearing is not what the other person is saying. That can be problematic in places such as hospitals. They say a man in California went in for an appendectomy and came out wearing lipstick. That’s not likely to happen in rural Georgia but in critical situations it’s best to have someone with you who has a good set of ears.
Most of the time I’ve found it’s not too risky to smile and nod if the other person is smiling. Or sometimes I just respond to what I think has been said. It’s like when my Cousin Joyce asked her husband, Ben, about the barn swallows who were building mud nests on their porch. He was standing at their kitchen counter when she walked by and noticed the annoying birds flying around. They had been there for weeks and were making an awful mess.
“Do you think those birds are ever going to leave our porch?” she asked.
Ben held up a dinner knife. “I’ve already put mayonnaise on my bread,” he replied.
I may have told that story before but I’m not certain. My memory isn’t as sharp as my hearing.
Jane just called again and sounded exasperated. “If you don’t come now, it will be too late!” Her volume was above average so she must be starving. I’m concerned about her odd behavior and hope to figure out what’s causing such strange requests.
Maybe she’ll feel better when she sees this nice bowl of cold watermelon and two sticks of Juicy Fruit gum. I don’t understand how a snack and some gum can be so urgent, but that’s what she said. I’m almost pretty sure that’s what she said.