Sassy and Self-Confident


Shortly before bedtime last night, I told the General, “I have never been more surprised or more pleased.” She agreed! What a difference a day can make if it occurs in the right venue. The General’s mother and her sister arrived in the greater Henly area (aka-my house) a week ago Wednesday. Little did I know that both planned to be here for a full week. Of course, I was fine with that and pleased that they were here.  It didn’t matter that I didn’t know the plans. The General operates on the notion that she only tells me what she thinks I have a need to know. Who knows, she says I don’t tell her anything. Perhaps it’s contagious or maybe even projection on her part. She doesn’t tell me much either.


Of course, during the week the General tossed several questions my direction. For starters: On the day after her mother arrived, she asked: “Would you like to go to Blanco and watch Mackenzie (the General’s nephew’s daughter) play softball this evening?” The General knew full well when she asked the question in front of her mother that the last thing I wanted to do was go watch anyone play softball. After all, we’ve been married forever and she knows my stance. Despite that knowledge, she asked anyway. What does that tell you? If you’ve got an answer, let me know. I still haven’t figured it out. But, I continue to ponder the question.


Common courtesy on my part would have dictated that my response would be “Sure”. After all, the General’s mother wanted to go and so did her sister. “Sure” would have been the polite response. But what would an answer of “sure” really mean? It would either mean one of two things. It could mean that I wasn’t secure enough in our relationship that I could be truthful. It could also mean that I knew full well that it didn’t matter how I responded, the die was cast: “I was going to the game”. If you’ve got a thought to the answer of this riddle, I’d really like to know.


As it turned out, I did go to the game. It was my idea.  Guilt is a great motivation. I could have stayed home out of selfishness or I could be hospitable and follow the extended family’s lead. Okay, so I don’t always get it right, but I went to the game.


Mackenzie’s grandfather (the General’s brother) saved for me what I immediately thought was the best parking place in the ballpark. It was directly behind home plate. After arriving, I went over the say hello to a friend from church and she asked: “Is that Treva’s car parked there?” I affirmed that it was and she suggested I move it. She said: “People get their windshields busted out from parking in that spot all of the time.” Wouldn’t you know it? The General’s brother was setting me up. How’s that for some level of paranoia on my part?


When I explained to the General’s brother that I was moving the car, he denied that a broken window was even a probability. I figured the lady from church who never misses a game probably had a better frame of reference than he did. I moved the car anyway.


What I most noticed about the game is that the General’s mother appeared absolutely worn out after it was over. She was moving very slowly and didn’t seem like herself. Actually, I had a similar thought when she came for Easter. She didn’t seem like herself then either. It was almost like she had aged overnight. Never before had I thought of her as old. Obviously the last several months had taken their toll.  I remember thinking: “Is this what’s it like to grow old? One day you are and the previous day you weren’t. Wasn’t aging supposed to be a gradual process?


I kept my eye on the General’s mother the rest of the week and I was genuinely concerned. When the entire family (myself excluded) opted to go to Johnson City to church on Mother’s Day so the General’s mother could be surrounded by her family, I thought it was a good idea. Frankly, I wasn’t sure how many more Mother’s Days she’d be here. I mean she looked worn out. It concerned me.  Slow motion doesn’t even begin to describe her demeanor.


When the crew returned from church in Johnson City, the General and her sister were very concerned. They both said that their mother had almost passed out during church. Had they not supported her, she probably would have fallen out of her pew. Frankly, I thought they were over-reacting. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard the General’s brother preach? Is it possible that she could have fallen asleep? I’m just throwing that out there as a possibility. It is not a value judgment on my part, but the possibility did exist.


The General and her sister make a great tag-team. They had questions for their mother and they wanted full disclosure and truthful responses. I almost felt sorry for her.  They were playing doctor and their only frame of reference was the Internet.  Maybe I was preoccupied laughing at my own joke about her bother’s preaching, but I didn’t follow the totality of their conversation. At some point, I tuned in enough to know that the General was recommending that they call her chiropractor because her mother said her back hurt.


Did her mother need to see a doctor? Probably is my best answer. However, I was thinking a gerontologist not a chiropractor. My word, had the General lost reason of her sanity? As frail as her mother was looking, the last thing she needed was someone poking and prodding and popping her back. The tag-team duo of the General and her sister continued to cross-examine their mother. Okay, so the General’s mom admitted to often being dizzy.


I know what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong. The General’s mother is about as close as you can get to a Carrie Nations look alike. If Carrie hadn’t led the temperance movement, Opal would have. Carrie took great delight in doing a hatchet job (literally) on taverns. She was noted for attacking alcohol-serving establishments with a hatchet.


No offense intended, but Carrie described herself as “a bulldog running at the feet of Jesus and barking at what he doesn’t like.” With all due respects, that sounds a little bit like my mother-in-law. Consequently, Carrie claimed a divine ordination to promote temperance by destroying bars. I wasn’t sure why the General’s mom has been dizzy, but it had nothing to do with strong drink. I’d bet my life on that one.


When I tuned back in, the General and her sister were thinking cardiologist. Why not? Her mother has a cardiologist. That might be a good place to start. They called the next day. Actually, they had their mother call the next day and they offered the doctor the benefit of their observations. Hands down, he had the answer. The General’s mom needed a pacemaker and she needed one soon.


He asked when the General’s mom would be back in Odessa. Unfortunately, her scheduled flight on Wednesday didn’t get her back in time. Wednesday is the one day each week that a colleague of her cardiologist comes to Odessa to implant pacemakers.


The cardiologist talked with the General. Trust me, she had lots of questions. At any rate, it was the doctor’s suggestion that the General’s mom get the pacemaker in Austin while she could be with us. He said, “I can make arrangements with a doctor in Austin to see her”. As it turned out, it was the same doctor that flies to Odessa from Austin every Wednesday to do surgery for the cardiologist. True to his word, the General’s mom went to the hospital yesterday mid-morning and was released to go home around 6:00 p.m. last night.


I am not making this up. It is as though the procedure restored fifteen years to her life. She no longer looks worn-out and old. Her countenance has been restored to sassy and self-confident. The old persona is back and she thankfully is her old self which really translates to her younger self.


Like I said earlier, “I have never been more surprised or more pleased.”


All My Best!



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