Category Archives: Family

Dream Home

I’m not the type of person who has vivid, memorable dreams very often. If I suddenly wake up kind of scared (and relieved), I know that I probably had a bad dream – I just don’t remember what it was, and thankfully so. Other times I’ll wake up disappointed, realizing that whatever had just been happening was only a dream – I’ll usually spend my first ten waking minutes racking my brain, trying to remember what the hell it was I had been dreaming about, to no avail. I can count on one hand the times I’ve cried over the last ten years, and on two hands the times I’ve had memorable dreams. The vivid dreams tend to happen for me when something is weighing heavily upon my mind or when I’m going through a big change. However, I’d like to believe that, on two different occasions, a message was being sent to me through my dreams from a much greater place.

My siblings and I had a turbulent upbringing; our mother left our family at a very young age, we moved around frequently, and we were collateral damage of several divorces. Through it all, my father always tried to do the best by us while playing the cards he had been dealt (or sometimes, the cards he dealt himself). I commend him for the job he did, raising four children on his own while struggling at times to simply make ends meet. In my extended family, my grandparents were my rock, as they were for all of my cousins, aunts, gpasand uncles. They loved all of their grandchildren (seventeen in all) as if each were their own offspring (they had seven of their own). They would do anything for any of us, within reason of course. I was always welcome in their home, and was made to feel as if I were home when I was there. Through the years, their house would become the one place that truly felt like home to me; as a child, visiting Grandma and Grandpa was an escape from real life; as a teenager, their house literally became home to me when they took me in while I finished high school. My father had decided to move back to Florida before my senior year – I didn’t want to change schools again, and I didn’t have to, thanks to my grandparents. I moved out of their house after high school, but I visited often, even if it was just to watch a ballgame on TV or to have some of Grandma’s leftovers. Late in 1998, I moved to Florida and was reunited with my immediate family.

My grandma was the housewife, the homemaker, the caretaker – an amazing woman in every sense of the word. She was always there if you needed a hug or a talking-to, and both were invaluable. She filled my mother’s shoes beyond capacity, probably without even realizing it and most definitely without trying to do so. I love, respect, and miss her immensely. I saw her a few times after moving to Florida, but not nearly as often as I would have liked. Towards the end of her life, she was on quite a few medications for her various ailments. I remember receiving a phone call from my older sister Cheryl, informing me that Grandma had become gravely ill. I had a tough decision to make: I could leave work immediately to visit her in the hospital (which would have meant, if something happened, I’d have to miss the funeral because I wouldn’t be able to take two weeks off of work), or wait it out, hope for the best, and be able to attend the funeral should she take another turn for the worse. My aunt Melanie convinced me to stay home – I wouldn’t want to see Grandma in that condition, she said. I took Melanie’s advice, and Grandma passed away shortly thereafter. That was January of 2004, and was my first experience with death. It was very difficult for me. I hadn’t been up to visit for a couple of years prior to her death, and consequently, didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. I cried – boy, did I cry – basically from the moment I arrived in town for the funeral until I was on the road back to Florida. And she deserved every single one of my tears.

I tossed and turned for the next several weeks, simply unable to get a full-night’s sleep. I was riddled with guilt for not making time to visit my grandmother those last couple of years. One night, I had a rare and realistic dream. I was in my car, and I pulled into Grandma and Grandpa’s long driveway. Upon reaching the garage, I shut the car off and got out. I made my way to the back door, as I had done a hundred times before. As I knocked on the door, I peeked through the window, which was partially blocked by curtains. As I looked past the kitchen, I could see Grandpa sitting in his chair, but beginning to stir upon hearing the disturbance. Before he could get up, my view was cut off by my grandma’s face, who had already been in the kitchen doing housework. She opened the door and greeted me with a hug and the familiar “Hi Luke!” that I had been accustomed to, and then ushered me in and offered me a chair. That was followed by a “Hey Jumbo!” from Grandpa in the living room – “Jumbo” is a nickname we (the grandchildren) and Grandpa had called each other through the years. The comfortable smell of their house filled my nostrils. “Would you like something to eat?” she asked. I said yes, of course, and she apologized as she pulled out the rectangular, yellow, ceramic container with a glass lid from the refrigerator – “All I have is this leftover meatloaf.” She had no reason to be sorry, though, as her leftovers were better than anything I could get anywhere else. She popped it in the microwave, came over to me and put her arm around me, and said “It’s OK.” I woke up, and felt a wave of relief pour over me. I slept twelve hours the following night.

One thing that stood out from my visit for Grandma’s funeral was my grandfather; he was what he had always been to everyone in our family – an impenetrable support beam. I remember standing near my grandma’s coffin during the wake, uncontrollably quivering, and Grandpa came over and put his arm around me. With a smile, he reminded me of how proud they both were of me, and how much she loved me. His lifelong companion was gone and yet, there he was, providing his family with exactly what they needed at that moment – strength, compassion, support, and love. It’s his incredible strength that made him the man he was, that allowed him to survive being a P.O.W. in WWII, and that enabled him to create the amazing family that I am proudly a part of.

A couple of years later, I had the opportunity to visit Grandpa while on my way to a week-long vacation in St. Louis. I stayed a weekend at his house, sleeping in what had been Grandma’s room. We talked quite a bit,me and grandpa catching up on each other’s lives while also reminiscing a little bit about Grandma. Sunday morning, the day of my departure, my grandpa and I went to church together. Even though his church was just a hop, skip, and a jump away, he didn’t always attend mass due to his deteriorating physical condition. He was still as sharp as a tack, but arthritis and a couple of knee-replacement surgeries (among other things) had slowed him considerably. So, this was a special occasion for both of us. After mass, we drove to the cemetery to pay Grandma a visit. Grandpa stayed by the road, because the hill leading to her grave was too steep a trip for him to make. I stood at the foot of her resting place and read a little something that I had prepared for her the night before. Once finished, I lit the paper from which I had been reading on fire, and I held it above her until it was gone. Later that day at the house, it was time to say goodbye. Grandpa and I shared a long, emotional hug, and he once again reminded me how proud he was of me. Without speaking of it, we both knew that this was probably the last time we would ever see each other, and treated it as such.

Grandpa had a stroke towards the end of August last year, the last in a long line of health-related issues and ailments. He had just previously agreed to finally leave his home and move into a nursing home after trying to remain independent to some degree. All of my aunts and uncles who weren’t still living in Indiana made their way there to be by his side, including my dad. This time, my grandfather was terminal and he was unconscious for the most part, but there had been signs that maybe he could hear what was going on around him. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to get there until the funeral, I sent my dad the following email:

“I’m trying to figure out when I can come up… not easy, you know how busy I’ve been lately. I talked to Annie (my sister) though, and I’ve also talked to Matt and to Cheryl. I got your message about the checks…thanks. It’s hard to care about something like that right now, but you know we all appreciate it.

So… I know that you can’t really tell if Grandpa is awake or not, or if he can hear what you’re saying. Regardless of that, if you didn’t mind, I was hoping you could somehow read this to him? Thanks dad.

———-

Dear Grandpa,

Hey Jumbo! I’m going to come up there, but I’m not sure when that will be, so I thought I would write. I miss you!! But of course, you know that, just like I know you miss me, too. It’s that unspoken bond you’ve always shared with me, the same bond you share with everyone in our incredible family. That’s one of the things that was always so great about you, and about Grandma, too… you made every one of your kids and grandkids feel like they were your favorite. Well, you know what? You’re my favorite, too!!

I have so many great memories with you and Grandma both. Remember when you wanted to buy a new car, but you just had surgery on your neck? I had to load you and Grandma into my tiny Camaro, and I even had to remove the t-tops because the halo-thing attached to your head was too tall. I remember Grandma saying, “It feels like I’m sitting on the ground!” But she swore she was comfortable, she just didn’t like the wind messing up her hair. Then I test drove the cars for you while you sat in the backseats, and I told you what I thought…it was hilarious. When we finally decided on the Mercury, I remember you writing a check for the full amount, and with a smirk and a gleam in your eye, you said, “Well Luke, there goes your inheritance!” I had such a good time that day.

I’d like you to know that I’m doing well, and that I think you’d be proud of the man I’ve become. I have no problem telling you in the presence of my dad…I owe a lot of who I am to you. Just like Grandma was like a mother to me, you were always like a father to me. How could I have possibly have gone wrong with TWO dad’s as great as the two I have? You instilled a great sense of responsibility in me, and I’m eternally thankful for that. You are truly a grand father.

Well, I hope that when you are ready to leave us, that your transition is peaceful and painless. I’m sure Grandma is excited about seeing you again! I love her and miss her, let her know that for me when you do decide to make your way up there. I love you too, Grandpa…very, very much!!

Love always,
Luke”

My dad did read it to him, and he thinks that Grandpa heard it. My grandfather passed away two days later, on August 31st, 2007. I made it back to town for the wake and funeral, and I held myself together rather well, for the most part; all I could think about was how strong and supportive Grandpa was to everyone when Grandma passed away. I tried to emulate him, and be that during his passing to anyone in the family who might need it. I think he would have wanted it that way, and it made me feel good to draw that kind of courage from his memory.

In addition to a nice inheritance that he worked his entire life to attain, my grandfather left his house to my aunts and uncles. Grandpa had bought the house in 1954 and lived there until last year. This house was the site of countless holiday and family gatherings. It also played host to many backyard whiffle ball games and driveway basketball games, and many of us in the family had become adults while living in this house. To me, it was a symbol of the foundation and strength that my grandparents were to my family. The time had come to decide what to do with the house; there wasn’t anyone living there, and the upkeep had become a strain on everyone involved, especially my aunt Melanie.

During this time, I had been unhappily continuing to live in Florida. There had been talk between Girlfriend and I about moving away somewhere – at least for me, the cliché had proven true: Florida was a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there. At the same time that our “moving” talks had become more serious in nature, the decision had been made by my family to put “Grandpa’s house” on the market. My mind wrestled with the possibility of moving back home, and whether or not I was prepared to make such a decision. Suddenly, another dream.

I was in the neighbor’s back yard; the house next door that was still referred to as “Jason’s house,” a childhood neighbor/friend, even though he and his family no longer lived there. I was facing Grandpa’s house and driveway. I was obviously participating in a game of whiffle ball, as I was facing the area in the driveway that had always been designated “home plate;” I looked down and saw the ball in my hand… I was pitching. Folding lawn chairs were at each of the bases, which were used as substitutes for actual human beings; you could throw at a chair and get a force out if you were lucky enough to hit it. Home plate was a seat cushion, with a tri-folding beach chair standing up on its side just behind the cushion, serving as a catcher. There was a bit of a drop-off from the edge of the driveway to the grass of Jason’s yard, so you had to be careful not to trip when running down to first base. Standing at home plate, waiting for me to throw a pitch, was Grandpa. He had on plaid golf shorts, socks, and penny loafers, along with a collared shirt and golf hat. He was older, but not as old as he was when I had last seen him alive. I asked him what he thought he was doing out here. He grinned and said, “Just throw me a pitch.” I obediently did as I was told, and he hit a line drive to the part of the yard that was left field. He began to slowly jog toward first. I ran towards him and yelled for him to watch out, as he was nearing the drop-off at the edge of the driveway. I knew that his knees probably wouldn’t be able to take it, and he definitely wouldn’t be able to withstand a fall. His step from the driveway to the grass became slow motion, and as his foot touched down and he continued on unscathed, he looked at me, still smiling, and said, “I never felt better in my entire life than I do right now.” He stopped at the lawn chair that was first base. There was a pause, then he suddenly asked me, “What are you waiting for, Jumbo?” and somehow, I knew this question had nothing to do with whiffle ball. I woke up immediately afterward.

Are dreams conjured up only from our own subconscious thoughts? Or, is it possible that outside forces, higher forces that we don’t have the awareness to even begin to understand, have the ability to influence what we see and hear while we are sleeping? Who knows? The human mind is an amazing thing, but I suppose anything is possible. I know what I want to believe, and I can tell you this much: today, Girlfriend and I closed on the loan for “Grandpa’s house,” a day that would have been Grandpa’s 84th birthday.

Happy birthday, Grandpa.

grandpa

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under Family, Life, Love, Personal, Relationships

Feel My World Shake

My family moved around a lot throughout my childhood – Nebraska, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Florida – but if I’m ever asked where I grew up, my answer will always be Indiana – in particular, Evansville. I still have a good amount of family living there, and in a few short months I will be moving back there after having lived in Florida for the last ten years (no, I’m not crazy). So, when an 5.2 magnitude earthquake rattled the midwest on April 18th, 2008, I was especially interested. After all, this wasn’t the first time I had ever been concerned about seismic activity in my hometown…

earthquake

In 1990, I was a senior in high school, living in Evansville with my grandparents. The calendar had just turned to December, and the local news was saturated with the name Iben Browning, a man who claimed to have predicted the 1989 earthquake in California (remembered by me as the World Series earthquake). He also professed to be a climatologist, scientist, inventor, and holder of a doctorate in physiology. He had predicted that conditions were right for a major earthquake to occur along the New Madrid fault line on December 3rd, 1990, a fault line that Evansville lies along. I remember a lot of people being really freaked out (me being one of them), many of them planning to stay home from work or school that day. There was no way I was going to go school and end up in a pile of rubble, but convincing my grandparents that I should stay home was another story. I finally get out of attending when I explained that since so many students were going to be absent, we probably wouldn’t be doing any work anyway. Luckily, my claim of the probable high absenteeism was corroborated by a local news broadcast the evening before E-day. It’s important to note that it was my grandmother that I won over, and she was the one who took care of getting my grandfather to allow me to stay home – my grandpa was much too practical to believe in such nonsense or ever take part in such hysteria. My brother David lived on the other side of town with a family friend (he was a freshman at another high school), but he wasn’t going to go to school either. So, he came over and the earthquake party was on! We brought a full-sized mattress into the living room and camped out in front of the television, anxiously watching the news and waiting for the world to shake. The plan was that once it started, we would get underneath the mattress, a place that would surely protect us from the house caving in on top of us (genius, I know). The night came and went without incident of course, as did the next day – December 3rd, Earthquake Day. My grandpa didn’t let us off the hook that easily, however. Our day off from school was filled with chores and yard work. I believe it was my grandfather’s way of telling us “I told you so” without saying anything. It was later learned that Mr. Browning was not a geologist nor a seismologist, he had no formal training in climatology, his doctorate was in zoology not physiology, he had not predicted the World Series earthquake, and his projection had been based on a widely discredited theory. Oh well, thanks for the day off, Iben!

Getting back to present day; CNN was reporting that there was virtually no damage, and no reports of any casualties. Once I had heard from my family that everyone was OK, I did some more online reading about the earthquake on the website of Evansville’s local newspaper, The Evansville Courier. At the bottom of any of their online articles, readers can leave comments for the world to see. There were over three hundred comments discussing the initial earthquake article, and I found several of them to be pretty amusing. Assuming that most people in the world don’t read articles on the Evansville Courier website, I thought I would share some of the comments that gave me a good laugh. Enjoy!

“Earth Fart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“10 sec.?? Not here. I thought I was experiencing the Excorist only there wasn’t a priest! And I haven’t had any pea soup.”

“Wow, glad I confirmed what that was. I just woke up at 4:30 and was getting in the shower. I thought maybe I just drank too much last night.”

“Got my son up in the basement, I can’t but this did.”

“10 seconds my foot! I’d say it lasted a good 30 seconds. It woke my husband up about 4:37 this morning and of course he likes to share things with me so he yells babe, wake up, we’re having an earthquake!!”

“An earthquake of this magnitude obviously is the result of man-made global warming.”

“Best one in my lifetime I think. Bed was shaking for all the wrong reasons.”

“We are having riots down here on Haynie’s Corner. I am out of food & water and I’m down to 30 rounds of ammo. I heard there was a few killings at Roberts Stadium. Are we gonna get FEMA cards?”

“Why aren’t the bridges being inspected? Why are tall buildings in downtown not being inspected? I heard on the news this morning that the Henderson bridges are fine. How do they know that? This is what 8 years of Bush in the White House has gotten us. Just look at the aftermath of hurricate Katrina. We need Obama in the White House and get rid of these non-caring republicans who want to tell us that everything is fine.”

“The earthquake this morning was NOT Bush’s fault; in fact, the earthquake was in no way political, so go back to sleep!”

“They say that dogs and animals feel these things worse than humans…..I sat straight up in bed….my stupid dog slept through it.”

“My name is SGT_SHLITZ. I am a survivor living in Evansville, Indiana. I am broadcasting on all AM frequencies. I will be at the Yankeetown Boat ramp everyday at mid-day, when the sun is highest in the sky. If you are out there… if anyone is out there… I can provide food, I can provide shelter, I can provide security. If there’s anybody out there… anybody… please. You are not alone.”

“That wasn’t an earthquake, that was Bill Clinton leaving Boonville…”

“That really rocked my world.”

“They last time I felt anything like that I had a vibrating strap around my booty trying to get rid of some fat.”

“I don’t need this. I’m gonna move to L.A.”

“Folks, get used to it. This is just more of God’s wrath, like the storms and flooding, for the way Evansville people are living. If we don’t turn this thing around and start loving each other, stop voting for only those candidates the Democrat party tells you to and do all we can to close down the nudey bars that are ruining our city, we can expect this to be a weekly occurrance.”

“If this was Gods wrath on Evansville why did it start in Illinois.”

“Damn Bush….this is all his “fault”.”

“It was really the shock of people seeing gas prices for the first time this morning”

“Maybe the big one will come and knock down all the eyesore houses around town.”

“These after shocks have wrecked my nerves. Hope it’s safe to be in a car, I think I am going to have to go to the liquor store soon.”

“I’m concerned that all of this may trigger a tsunami on the Ohio River…”

“I wonder if this will loosen my dirt and make it easier to work on a garden.”

“Well…..my sister called me this morning and said, WOW, even the earth shakes for you on your birthday! Happy Birthday!”

“The Earth is not your mother, she is not dying, and she is not mad at us. We didn’t cause this, Bush didn’t cause it, and Clinton/Obama wouldn’t have stopped it from occuring (even though I’m sure one of them will make this claim).”

“If anyone would like to challenge me in map folding…just say when and where…”

“Mother Earth needs to lay off the beans (or get some Beano!)…”

“04/18/2008 … never forget.”

6 Comments

Filed under Family, Funny, humor, Life, Nature, Politics

(P)Oops, I Did It Again

I’ve done plenty of embarrassing and/or stupid things in my life, especially when I was younger.

OK, mostly when I was younger.

(Who am I kidding?)

Anyway, here is one such story; a story that, twenty-one years later, my brother David will not let me forget. He loves telling people this story. I might as well share it, because chances are good you’ll eventually hear about it from him anyway. Did I mention that he loves reminding me of this story? Everything you are about to read is, of course, true.

the_forest

The year was 1987, and I was living in Baltimore, Maryland with my siblings and my dad. It had been a warm spring, and it just so happened to be the year of the locusts (everyone called them locusts, when in actuality, they were cicadas). The locusts swarmed in and covered everything from trees to telephone poles. If you were outside, you could hear the constant hum of their buzzing. Luckily, they weren’t dangerous; they didn’t bite or sting. The locusts only lived a few days, maybe a week. I remember them being nothing more than a nuisance. Their shells remained attached to everything long after they were dead. When I say that these shells were everywhere, I mean e v e r y w h e r e. The constant buzzing of the locusts had been replaced by the constant crunch-crunch-crunching of their shells under my feet, as I ran through the park that I had spent many an afternoon in, eagerly trying to catch up to the Nerf football that had been thrown ahead of me. There was nothing like a good game of crunch football.

Locust season passed; spring turned to summer. When school let out, I traveled to Evansville, Indiana to spend the time off with my grandparents and one of my uncles. When I returned to Maryland, the fall season was quickly approaching with cooling temperatures and color-changing leaves. It was a perfect time of year to be thirteen, to have a bicycle, and access to that nearby park containing trails through it’s vast surrounding woods. I wasted no time in contacting my friend Stevie who lived down the block, anxious to get outdoors.

Stevie lived on the same side of the street as me, just down the block. His parents were very nice – they had me over for dinner on more than one occasion. His family always had more than we had (they had both VHS and Beta), but they were not-at-all snobby or selfish. They had told my father how impressed they were with me a few different times, mainly because I always addressed them as “sir” and “ma’am,” which surely filled my father with pride.

Stevie was a fun friend to have. He was the guy who was willing to do anything to win your approval and be your friend, and I was the guy willing to make him do stuff just to see if he would do it. Like the time we started a club, and we held our “meetings’ in the basement of his house (which was a playroom). These meetings consisted of video games, wrestling, or most commonly, a starting place for our outdoor adventures throughout the day. When the coast was clear, I confiscated a large empty canning jar from his mother’s kitchen. We then invited the neighborhood boys to join our club, under one condition – they had to pee in the jar and keep it a secret. Stevie’s responsibility as vice president was to keep the pee jar hidden there, in his basement. For two weeks, in the bottom drawer of a dresser at our club’s headquarters sat a big, warm, mason jar containing the urine of five or six little boys. His parents weren’t as impressed with me when his mom found it one morning.

We rode down to the park, and it is exactly what one would imagine upon hearing the word “park”: trees, a playground (monkey bars, merry-go-round, swings – all of the necessities), a sidewalk path throughout, benches for grown-ups so they could watch their little ones play, and pooper-scooper stations for owners whose dogs had decided that the park looked like a giant dog toilet. It was a big park; it could easily accommodate several large groups of people at once. If you ventured towards the middle of the park, there was a downward hill leading to a rather large grass field that saw many a crunch-football game take place. Continuing past this field was the forest, which is what you call any wooded area when you’re thirteen years old. This was my favorite part of the park.

The forest contained several man-made paths for walking and biking. If you wanted to, you could wander off of the beaten path, as this area was not overly dense. I was rather skilled with my Huffy and not-at-all afraid, so of course, Stevie and I had gone exploring several times already. On one of our very first trips, we discovered a creek. On weekends we would build a fort in a secluded area, but I guess our hideaway was never very structurally sound – upon our return, we’d only find a pile of branches, sticks, and twigs, as if some other kids actually discovered our land and knocked it over. Nah… it must have been the wind.

One Saturday morning, Stevie and I decided that we were going to try to venture further into the forest than we ever had before. I loaded up on necessities from the corner store (12 oz. can of Coke and a pack of Rain-Blo bubble gum stuffed into, and sticking out of, my crumpled up tube sock), and headed into the unknown.

We rode for almost two hours, stopping whenever we saw anything interesting. We always stopped at anything that could be a used as a bike ramp. We built another fort, our biggest to date, and it felt like we were so deep into the forest that it would never be found. It had been a very good day so far. Well, up until I was consumed by the overwhelming need to relieve myself.

There are a couple things you need to understand at this point. Number one, I had to go number two. Number two, I wished I only had to go number one. If I only had to go number one, all I would have had to do is stand behind a tree and do what all men have done at some point in their lives. But this was far more complex. I could have made the return trip home to a bathroom, but I knew that such a decision would end our expedition. I wasn’t ready to go home – we were having too much fun. However, I really didn’t want Stevie (or anyone, ever) to see me crapping, and I had nothing with which to wipe.

As quickly as these thoughts came and went, the urge to “drop the kids off at the pool” had rapidly increased. I realized that there was no way I would have been able to make it back home. I wouldn’t last that long, and holding it in was becoming a bit painful. It was “go” time. I jumped off my bike, and made Stevie promise not to look while I simultaneously scanned the area for the spot that would supply the most privacy. There’s no need to go into detail about what happened next. Once relieved, I briefly considered cleaning up with my shirt or my underwear and then just leaving them out there in the forest. I decided it wasn’t worth the risk to sacrifice any article of clothing – I didn’t have a lot of clothes to begin with. If Dad were to find out what I had done, he’d surely beat the shit out of me (pun intended).

Instead, I grabbed the biggest leaf I could find, and did the best I could. Three leaves seemed to do the trick. As I gathered myself, I was suddenly filled with pride. I had conquered nature. I was a man.

I pooped in the forest.

Back at home later that night, I couldn’t help but notice how itchy my backside was becoming. I needed to shower – it’s probably not possible to properly clean yourself in the previous conditions. I went to bed after I showered, but I wasn’t going to get much sleep that night. I tossed and turned, scratched my butt, scratched my hands (why were they itching?), scratched my butt some more… I finally slept.

I woke up still itching and scared to death – I had a rash on both hands, and on two of the fingers on my left hand there were pus-filled bubbles hanging off that were each the size of a dime. To my horror, my backside was also wet for some reason, a reason that was quickly becoming quite obvious. I ran to the bathroom. Now, have you ever had to bend over slightly and look behind yourself into a mirror at yourself? I don’t ever, ever recommend it, even under normal conditions. I discourage it even more if you had just previously used poison oak leaves as toilet paper.

I showed, and told, my father what happened to me. He was trying to yell at me to stop scratching through his laughter. I’m pretty sure this was not one of those moments that my behavior filled him with pride, and I’m still not sure which was the most embarrassing: being dumb enough to wipe my behind with poison oak leaves? Or, to be bent over the edge of the bed, pants pulled down, having calamine lotion applied to the affected area by my father? You decide.

A couple of interesting notes:
•Super Target sells travel-sized Charmin
•If you want to miss a week of school, try poison oak. It worked for me.
•I didn’t use my underwear to “clean up” because I didn’t want to destroy an article of clothing. In the following week of my recovery, I ruined eight pair.
•My brother David, to this day, routinely refers to me as “poison oak boy.” A couple of years ago, for my birthday, he drew me this cartoon. It’s hanging on my fridge.

13 Comments

Filed under Family, Friends, Funny, humor, Life, Nature