My grandma was in the hospital, we had a houseful of company, and we didn’t go to Miss Laura Mae’s house for several days. I was happy to be sitting on her top step with a biscuit again.
“Well, I ain’t seen y’all in a month of Sundays,” she said “Where you been?”
“Right there at the house,” answered Mother. “I’m so tired I can hardly wiggle. Bill’s mama thought she was having a heart attack and they kept her in the hospital overnight. It turns out it was just a hernia. She was doing fine but they still kept her overnight for tests. They were supposed to let her out the next morning. You know how Dr. Hawkins is. You can’t go to see him without him wanting to keep you overnight for tests. Anyway, she was sleeping and the nurse came to check on her. She thought she was seeing a ghost and got all upset,
convinced she was dying. She had the nurse call Bill to call all the kids in. You know she has seven.
Anyway, all the kids and in-laws came flocking in to the house along with all their kids. There was no need to all pile in at the house and stay all that time. They all live within ten miles of us. I don’t know what good they thought they were doing, anyway. Next thing, her two brothers and their wives showed up. Somebody called her step-brother from way down in South Louisana and told him it might be his last chance to see her. They couldn’t have been close. They hadn’t seen each other in more than twenty years.
“Lordy, was she really that sick? That sounds like a mess.” Miss Laura Mae offered.
“No, nothing was really wrong. She’s just the superstitious type and was convinced it was a sign she was going to die. Anyway, the whole bunch hung around the rest of the night and visited the next day, like it was their last chance to see each other. They made a bunch of long distance phone calls, which I know they’ll never pay for, ate up my week’s supply of groceries, drank up all my coffee, and even used up all the toilet paper. Even after she got out of the hospital, they kept right on visiting. The kids were running in and out banging the doors and screaming and yelling like a bunch of heathens. I stayed behind them with the broom an mop, but it was hopeless. It was horrible. I thought they never would go home. I am so tired, I could sleep for a week. We are out groceries. I don’t even have any dry beans left. We’ll be eating biscuits till payday.” Mother sighed.
“You know, my mother had a stroke last summer. They didn’t know if she’d make it. She lives out in Texas. I wanted to go, but we talked about it and Bill decided we really didn’t have the money. I didn’t get to go for three months. It’s strange how when it’s the man, it is so different. It makes me mad all over we didn’t go when Mama was sick. I could have missed my last chance then. Why are men so selfish?”
“Honey, that’s why I never married agin after Floyd died. Most men think they own their women, an’ women don’t need to do nuthin’ but tend to them, the younguns, an’ the house an’ garden. I wasn’t much past forty and still had a couple of younguns to raise when Floyd died, but it was a lot easier for me to take in ironin’, sew for the public, babysit, or sit with the elderly or the sick than have to answer to another man. Now, don’t get me wrong. They’s a’plenty o’ good men out there, but they do that one bad thing. They just keep on a’breathing in an’ breathin’ out.”
They both laughed till tears were running down their faces.