DY: In Just a Few Words (#39)
Just another Saturday night...
About 30 blogs ago, I posted a story about my father and his love for the United States Military Academy. That probably inspired more reaction than any other blog. Today, I want you to meet my mother.
She was by any definition a solid citizen. But, she was also a real character and she had a tremendous sense of humor. She loved to laugh. She was always happy to laugh at herself. And she delighted in the reaction of others to what came out of her mouth.
I knew her well up to my 18th birthday, and then again starting in 1985 - when she moved to Cleveland and was a huge part of my life until she passed in 2001 at age 94. In the intervening years she had continued to live in her nice home in New Jersey while I was two states away in Ohio.
There are many anecdotes about my mother. Here is one. Others will follow in future blogs.
Have you ever been in an emergency room on Saturday night? It’s like medical rush hour. Gunshot wounds. Stabbings. Car accidents fueled by alcohol. Injuries from fights. Lots of noise. And, into the midst of that one Saturday night arrived my mother, then well into her 80s.
Taking a medical history is standard procedure in any emergency room. She proudly gave her history. But since the only thing that separates you from other patients and their concerned family members are thin sheets of cloth, everyone hears everything. If you have a medical secret or otherwise crave privacy, Saturday night at your local emergency room is not the place for you. There are no secrets in the ER.
Good patient that she was, my mother answered every question truthfully. I had my appendix taken out when I was about 11. My tonsils were next a few years later. I broke a finger in 1956. And then most recently, I got AIDS.
That entire emergency room came to a grinding halt. Total silence reigned. As her son, I was mortified. You can just imagine the shock value of an elderly woman saying that. Nobody said a word until she spoke again. No, no. That was a mistake. I meant to say Shingles.
The night she went public (albeit briefly) by disclosing her AIDS diagnosis remains one of the most telling examples ever of my unpredictable and interesting mother. I will never, ever forget that moment. Neither will the others who were in the ER with us that night.
It has been said that words matter and we should choose them wisely. Last I checked, there was a difference between AIDS and Shingles. If your mother fesses up she has AIDS, it’s likely it was just a slip of the tongue. Chances are she has Shingles.
DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.
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