I have been care-taking others my entire life:
My own children…
My school children…
Neighbors, friends, strays, and of course… “Olds.”
If you would have told me in high school… that my destiny was to be a caretaker… I wouldn’t have believed you.
I was sure that I would be the first of my friends to leave the country, and never to return, unless under extreme pressure to do so.
But it seems it is my lot in life, and like Jimmy Stewart’s iconic character, George Bailey… I guess it is my destiny, to leave my nomadic dream of independent traveling behind, and accept my fate: to take care of all the numerous jackasses that reside in my own personal “Bedford Falls.”
Don’t get me wrong… I love my people… my jackasses… but two inappropriate panty incidents with the “Olds” in one week was a bit too much for anyone.
It started with Ernie.
Ernie is one of my father’s Navy friends, circa World War II, who comes to visit us every year from New Zealand where he now lives.
I love Ernie for numerous reasons:
One, he tells me stories about my father, that make me feel like I really know the man that kept so much of his own wild life hidden from his children, as he raised us.
Two, he likes to drink a lot of beer and go out dancing and believe it or not, even at 85… he still seems to have the moves that make the ladies adore him.
Three, Since my father passed away, my mom likes to lay all of her demands on me, but when Ernie is here to stay, she spends her time bossing him around which means… she isn’t bossing me about: it really takes the pressure off.
Ernie is a skinny guy, very tan, white hair, a pretty healthy old man, and he tends to favor those weird fashions of the “Oceania Region” where they are prone to wearing Birkenstock sandals and of course, you guessed it…. sassy black speedos, teeny-tiny little things, as he lays on the chaise, in the backyard by the pool reading one of his many Clive Cussler novels.
I have grown accustom to this sight, over the years, but it is still a bit unnerving at times to know that he’s out there… lurking… in his little panties.
Now, Ernie had just arrived at our house about three weeks before the incident occurred.
Everything had been going as smoothly as possible, considering I live in a house where not one, but now two, advanced elderly people lived.
I spent most of my time… making sure each morning… that they were still alive… and listening for loud thumps… each evening… hoping that it was one of the kids bouncing down the stairs and not an “Old” in the process of breaking a hip or having a stroke.
Basically, it’s like being on 24-hour alert “high watch.”
So when someone began banging heavily on the hall door at 11:30 pm on Thursday night, waking me from a “dead” sleep, chihuahuas barking, big dogs howling, pig squealing (yes we have a pig) I woke as if I were already in the early stages of a massive heart attack: dazed… confused…. unsettled…. my mind and heart racing at an alarming pace.
I jumped from my bed, sure that someone must be seriously injured or dead, ran into the hallway, and found Ernie, in his tight black speedo underwear, blood dripping down his arm, yelling my name.
I was about to totally freak out when he said, “You don’t have a band-aid do ya? I fell out of bed having a dream, about pulling my brother out of a porthole from a sinking ship, and pulled some of the skin off my arm.”
I swear, I almost throttled him to death right then and there.
I couldn’t believe that he had woke me up, by banging repeatedly on the hall door, at 11:30 at night, as if it were a LIFE OR DEATH situation for a fucking band-aid.”
But I held it together and in my kindest voice said, “Hang on Ernie, let me find you one.” And then I directed him to wait for me at the kitchen bar, because if I don’t give him specific directions, he follows me about which, is actually how he accidentally saw me completely naked the previous week, by following me into the bathroom before I realized he was doing so.
I closed the hall door and gathered my composure.
I called Dylan, my son on the phone and said, “Are you upstairs?”
“Yeah,” he replied.
“Well can you come down here please. Ernie just woke me up for a band aid.”
“Why did he wake you up for a band aid? I was awake and up here. What was he thinking?” He asked.
“I don’t know!” I screamed; unfortunately verbally kicking Dylan since I was unable to take my wrath out on Ernie. “I don’t know why OLDS do what they fucking do. Just come down and bandage the old man so I can go back to bed. I’ve got work in the morning.”
Two seconds later, Dylan was downstairs bandaging the old man and I was back in my bed, trying to calm down enough to hopefully get a few hours sleep.
But I tossed and turned until my alarm went off at 6 am and so, still twisted and tired from my “late night fiasco,” grumpy and bitter, jumped up from the bed, put on my slippers and rushed to let the pig out into the yard for the morning and let my chicken out of her coop (yes, we also have a chicken) before I would have to get to school on time. But… as I opened the front door, I was assaulted, yes once again, by an OLD.
There… out in the bright morning light for all the neighbors to see was my 85-year-old mother, bra-less in a tank top, barefoot and leaning on her cane, bent WAY over low, in her GIANT silky grandma panties, butt crack CLEARLY visible through the silky fabric as she struggled to let my chicken out of her cage.
I tell you it was a once in a lifetime sight that no one should ever have to view.
I actually backed up and gasped.
“Jesus Christ!” I screeched. “What the hell are you doing?”
She didn’t even stand up. She just looked at me from between her legs.
“Letting the chicken out.”
“Mom!” I shouted. “Do you realize that you are out in public, basically naked. The neighbors are going to call Adult Protective Services and take me away!”
“Well, now wouldn’t that be funny!” she said.
I felt myself fuming.
I wanted to grab that cane, topple that old woman, and pop her in the coop.
Now, now, now… I thought to myself… wouldn’t THAT be funny old woman?
But instead, I backed away from the scene and turned around to find Ernie waving at me from the reclining chair. Looking chipper and perky with his morning coffee and his Clive Cussler novel and his little arm all bandaged up with our spiffy pop-culture red band-aid that said “KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON.”
“Mother Fucker,” I whispered to myself. “Sweet Jesus for the love of God somebody help me please.”
But no help arrived.
No one there to listen.
Just a pig.
Just a chicken.
Just an old skinny man.
Just an old woman.
Sweet Jesus, obviously smart enough to stay miles away from this scenario, enjoying the view from above.