Thursday, December 26, 2013

"Wait, Wait, Let Me!"

You're not going to believe this. Really, you're not. I can hear your thoughts now even before you think them. Zane Hodge tells lies. Or, Hodge stretches the truth, but at least he tells a good story. However, this one, . . . well, . . . uh, . . . just let me tell you about it, but remember: I tell you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. You can't make this stuff up.

As you may know by now, I have managed to stress fracture my right tibia. If you want to know how I accomplished such a noble feat, read my last blog post. The result of having this fracture is I have to wear a clunky prosthetic boot and hobble around on crutches. My family knows this.

Christmas morning, my wife and I were on our way to Carroll County. Our children come to our house and we open presents; then we all go to my wife's mom's in Carroll County where we open presents; and after that we go to Mom's where we eat, fuss, and open presents. We were a little ways out of town when I received a text message from my older sister, Helen. She lives in Florida, but each major holiday she and my other siblings, their children, pets, and grandchildren, luggage, and cars invade Mom's for a week or two. Great. We eat, visit, and love each other between bouts of violent argumentation and fighting. My sister's text went like this (only slightly modified for clarity's sake):

Helen: Where are you? We got everything we need but coffee!! and oil to bake the cornbread? Will you bring!

Zane: (after a long irritated pause) On way to Carroll County.

As I thought about my sister's request, my reaction went from irritation to incredulity to anger. Are you kidding me? They have a house full of people over there with numerous late model vehicles out front and nobody is on crutches. I simmered awhile but then I got over it, or at least forced it out of my mind for a bit. After all, 'tis the season to be jolly.'

About the time we were leaving the in-laws' over two hours later, however, I received another text from my sweet sister.

Helen: Need you to bring me oil from your house or wherever before you come over here- K?

Zane: Is not the hand of Daniel in this?

My response may need some clarification. First, this is a vague biblical allusion to "Is not the hand of Joab in this?" Second, Daniel is Helen's son and hence my nephew. Third, he and his girl friend, Janice, had driven me to the doctor when I stress fractured my leg, and Daniel was present when I pranked my younger sister, Carol, with a series of text messages after my doctor visit. We got a big laugh out of it and I thought, Daniel is coaching his mom on giving me a dose of my own medicine. Or maybe he has her phone himself and he's writing this. I mean, this is crazy. I can't carry anything and walk on crutches. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this was stupid enough to be true. Then came another text.

Helen: Zane, no coffee but 10+ yr old expresso- can you bring some? Daniel left for Florida Monday.

By this time, I was pretty well pissed. If this is a joke, they got me. They're sitting over there on their butts waiting on me to come from out of county and save the day on my crutches. Someone needs to be smitten about the head and shoulders! But I took a deep breath and prayed. Then we, my wife and I, pulled up at 422 West Harding and found a parking space in the front yard behind several of my siblings' cars. Did I mention the house was full of able bodied relatives who were waiting on me to bring oil and coffee?

I hobbled up the steps and into the living room where my son-in-law, Paul Turner, who is a better man than I, met me and placed a bag of coffee and oil in my hand. He, privy to my frustration, had stopped at a store on the way back from the country and purchased the indispensable items that no one at Mom's had the wherewithall to secure. I hobbled into the den with my left had clutching the sack and my crutch and handed the items to my sister. Then I sat down in the sole remaining chair and surveyed to room.

My fully clothed baby brother, Quinton, was asleep in the recliner just across from me. He owns a late-model pickup truck that was parked out front. Behind him was his delightful wife, Rebecca, also fully clothed. Her late-model SUV was also out front (yes, they come from South Mississippi in two vehicles). To my right were two of my nephews, Quinton's teenage boys, either of whom would have paid money just to get the chance to drive to the store to pick up oil and coffee. To my left was another nephew and wife. They own a late-model vehicle which was also in front of Mom's house. Somewhere inside Mom's was my other sister and her husband. They had a vehicle out front. My older sister was in the room and she had a car parked out front that was able to make it here all the way from Florida. Also, in the driveway sat my late dad's truck and Mom's car both of which are in excellent shape. I think that adds up to nine able-bodied drivers and seven well conditioned automobiles. With of all these resources, you would think someone could get coffee and oil. Not only that, but I found out after I got there that they had THREE GALLONS of oil in the house but they were afraid that might not be enough. Certainly you think I exaggerate, but God and my wife both can tell you they had three full gallons of cooking oil in the house,  !!!    and all nine of them had waited over THREE HOURS for me to bring oil and coffee while scarcely four tenths of a mile from Mom's was an open store. My brain was about to short circuit at the insanity of all this.

I sat there and and fumed and waited, waited for someone to spring the trap, for someone to say, "We got ya!" But it didn't happen. Instead, my sweet sister, Helen, while sitting on her amply padded posterior said, "Someone needs to work on the fire." So I loudly said, "Wait, wait, let me!" and began to rise to my foot and get my crutches under me when my son-in-law beat me to it. Did I mention that he's a better man than I?

I sat back down and wondered if anyone would get it. While I looked around the room at my clueless family, my granddaughter walked over to me and said, "I love you so much, Poppie." She hugged me and added, "I'm sorry your leg is hurt." And with that, all was well. I no longer wanted to smite, strike, and injure. I no longer marvelled at the absurdity of the situation. I no longer wondered why they didn't get it, but instead I melted inside and thanked God for His loving touch.