Saturday, February 27, 2016

Whiskey slings to the rescue

Growing up I never understood how my mother could get irked by my father. To me, he was near perfect. He had a sense of humor. He never yelled at us. He always gave us whatever we asked for. Over summer vacation, I'd stay up and watch the late movie with him. My father most always fell asleep. When we were old enough he'd let us drive his old funeral van around the backfields. Once I had my license he let me take whatever car was in the driveway.

One week night when I was in my freshman year of high school, my mother had to go somewhere with one of her sisters. She left my father in charge. The only problem was he had a cold. I had a cold too but it didn't seem to matter. My father was the one sick. He was the one sneezing and blowing his nose. I was too but he retreated to his bed-covering himself up and telling me to turn the heat up because he was chilled. I told him I was too. My father didn't answer. Instead he asked for another blanket. After I got my younger sister and brother to bed I was going to go to bed as well. But that proved impossible. My father had a cold! Stop the world. He was sick!  When I brought him a second blanket I stepped on tissues he'd thrown on the floor. That was it for me. I'd had it. I was irked! I remembered something my grandmother told me after my grandfather had been sick.

Going to the kitchen, I took out a bottle of whiskey. After pouring a good amount of the stuff into a glass, I filled it the rest of the way with very hot water. I added a bit of lemon and nutmeg, stirred it and took it to my father. He loved it! The drink warmed him up. It even cleared the stuffiness in his nose and head. He wanted another. I made it in a flash. When I went back in the bedroom, my father was laughing. He'd thrown off the blankets and was sitting up. Once he drank his second whiskey sling, he started yawning and giggling at the same time. I told him it was time to go to sleep. I covered him up and turned the light out. I think my father was snoring before I reached the kitchen.

When my mother returned, she asked me if I'd had any problems getting my brother and sister to bed. I remember staring at her. She asked me what was wrong. I told her about the whiskey slings and what a pain my father had been.

"He's just a man," she explained. "And when a man is sick, he becomes a baby. Good idea giving him those drinks!"

After that night, I'd sometimes find myself more understanding of my mother when she'd get irked at my father. Especially when he was sick!

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