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With thirty years in nursing, you can well imagine I have my share of strange stories. I worked in acute dialysis in the hospital, so knew my patients very well. We talked about their lives, familis, dogs, whatever was on their minds. One of my favorite patients was Curtis, a huge man, perfectly delightful, but developmentally challenged. His thinking was about on the level of a eight-year-old. Curtis had somehow gotten credit at a furniture store, bought a houseful of furniture, and not made a single payment. He was being hounded for payment, so decided the best course of action was to go in the hospital, where he wouldn’t be bothered. When he told the nurse at the outpatient dialysis clinic he needed to go to the hospital, she explained he couldn’t be admitted unless sick. He did some thinking and called her back to his chair telling her he had something for her. (I can’t imagine how she fell for that.). He dropped an impressive lump of excrement into her outstretched hand and was admitted into the psychiatric unit of the hospital in short order.
He was happily ensconced at the hospital, soon moved to the medical floor. One day he walked into my unit asking for a large patient gown. He went on his way. Curtis was not on my mind when I heard a lady out in the hall exclaim. “Oh my God! Take it!” It seems she had been bringing a pecan pie to her hospitalized friend from church when she encountered seven-foot-tall Curtis, walking naked down the hall, looking for hospital staff to help him with his gown. Curtis, hadn’t seen a pecan pie in way too long. He dropped the gown, grabbed the pie and raised a clumsy fist when the poor woman resisted. She gave up on the pie and fled shrieking. Eventually, the whole thing smoothed over. Curtis had his pie and his gown. The hospital gave the lady another pecan pie and an apology. By the time Curtis got home, his furniture had been repossessed, so he wasn’t harassed any more. They all lived happily ever after, except of course for the nurse who got a handful of doo-doo.
A New York City yuppie moved to the country and bought a piece of land. He went to the local feed and livestock store and talked to the proprietor and asked to buy one hundred chicks.
“That’s a lot of chicks,” commented the proprietor. “I mean business,” the city slicker replied.
A week later the yuppie was back again. “I need another hundred chicks,” he said. “Boy, you are serious about this chicken farming,” the man told him.
“Yeah,” the yuppie replied. “If I can iron out a few problems.” “Problems?” asked the proprietor. “Yeah,” replied the yuppie, “I think I planted that last batch too close together.”
Uncle Albert was the only person I ever knew who never attended school at all. He couldn’t write or read a word. I remember seeing him bring documents for Mothr to read and interpret and pen his replies. He was the first person I ever saw make an X mark for his signature. Mother wrote his name afterward and witnessed it. I was filled with awe that a person had never attended school. Mother filled out his income tax returns for him every year.
Uncle Albert was very shrewd in his accounts, despite his lack of education. He handled his business affairs skillfully, requiring no assistance. He was a skilled trader. I remember hearing him tell Daddy how he left the house one morning with a goat to barter and after several trades, came home with a shotgun and box of shells. I never knew him to hold public employment. He farmed forty acres more than fifty years, providing a living for him and his wife. He paid cash, bartered, or did without. The whole time I knew him, he drove a nineteen forty-eight Ford pickup truck. He and Aunt Jewel smoked Prince Albert Tobacco and rolled their own cigarettes when money was tight, and bought Raleigh cigarettes when they were flush. Aunt Jewel saved Raleigh Cigarette coupons for prizes. From time to time, she’d show off a fancy vase or pair of pillowcases. . I never knew of them being without cigarettes of some sort.
Daddy was always honored when Uncle Albert and Aunt Jewel came to visit. One evening, Mother cooked our favorite, fried chicken. We never got enough of her fried chicken, particularly the crisp scrambles of flour that dropped off during the frying. Knowing this, Mother scraped up every crisp bit and put it on the platter with the chicken. After the chicken was devoured, she divided those scrambles among the kids. They were delicious, a highly anticipated treat. That evening, the chicken platter passed from on end of the table to the other several times. Uncle Albert liked Mother’s chicken, too. As he forked the last piece, the unthinkable happened. He tipped the platter up and poured all those beautiful scrambled bits onto his plate. Our eyes were huge with horror. Surely he hadn’t just scooped up all the best all for himself! He had! Mother shushed us with a look as he noisily crunched and chomped through the pile. A more heartbreaking sound was never heard. In just a few seconds, he finished off our stolen treat, then burped his appreciation, wiped his mouth, leaned back his chair and remarked, “That’s the best part of the chicken. I ain’t never got enough.”
we knew just how he felt.