Just in case I wake up dead

May 18, 2018


I haven’t hit a lick at a snake in weeks. Recuperating from a heart procedure sounded like it was going to be an excuse to sprawl on the davenport while reading, doodling, and watching reruns of Designing Women. Life would be good with my doctor-ordered sabbatical.


Who knew I’d really feel like a bus hit me and I’d be in a deep sleep for the better part of a month and couldn’t concentrate on more than three pages of a book, or listen to Suzanne Sugarbaker without dozing off?


My friends were sweethearts and brought delicious food that packed more weight on me than I’ve accumulated in years. Those sneaky women were just waiting for the chance to ladle creamy casseroles, homemade cookies, buttery breads and muffins on to my bohunkus. “Well, it looks like you’re putting on some weight” the doctor cheerfully noticed. “I’ll get those do-gooder friends of mine yet!” I thought.


But in all seriousness, where would we be without friends who truly care when times are hard? I’m sure they meant it in the nicest of ways and instead of thinking about calories, were only thinking about how they could help.

The famous “carb delight” breakfast I was served. Toast, bread and toast.


I had a few days warning before going into the hospital, so I ran around the house cleaning like a mad woman — you know, just in case I didn’t make it. I didn’t want my husband’s new replacement wife to show up and see anything out of order. You know the kind — she shows up on the grieving man’s porch with a casserole, then runs her finger along the sideboard and says, “oh, you poor thing, this place is a dusty wreck, let me help.” Yeah . . . right. Don’t act shocked. Every other woman thinks the same thing. Myrtle Fay Fields once predicted, “Honey, I’ll still be warm in the ground when women come after my Flanders. They’ll bat their old wrinkly eyes and feed him snickerdoodles.” Myrtle Fay was right. Within a year, my darling friend was gone, and by-jiminy, if her own cousin twice-removed, Varnetta, didn’t pop in to “help” around the house, and well . . . you know the rest.


Similarly, in the event of my untimely demise, women would swarm my house like the Moonlight Madness Sale at Gayfers.  I’ve instructed Bob, amongst other things, not to remarry anyone who wants to throw out my stack of Mary Engelbreit magazines (they’re valuable, you know).


Just in case I woke up dead, I spent the preceding days before the hospital visit doing laundry, mopping floors and stocking the freezer with a few dishes. Just before the anesthesiologist gave me the final knock-out, I panicked to remember I hadn’t had time to organize the messy laundry room.


Once home and very alive, it calmed me to know I had made a list of precise instructions on how to reheat the things in the freezer. Surely with this guide, Bob would be able to fix our meals. “How do I defrost — in the microwave or in the oven?” I heard the voice of my dearest as I drifted in and out of a deep dream involving Harry Connick Jr.  (his musical skills). “Should I cover the pot pie with plastic or foil?” “Cookie sheet or baking sheet?” The questions wouldn’t stop, and I couldn’t focus enough to tell him broil is not a faster way to bake.


I discovered my Superman’s kryptonite. Although the genius holds technology and mechanical patents and can do just about anything, the man can’t cook. He can’t reheat, defrost, stir, simmer or boil.


This is from the Pioneer Woman. My friend’s cooking put her to shame.

That’s when my precious friends jumped into action and brought us the most delightful meals, and in true Southern hospitality, kept us nourished and allowed us to avoid half-frozen pot pies. The weight gain was my fault, since it was all so delicious, and I could taste the love in every bite.


I’m on the mend, feeling like a shiny new penny, and getting ready to shed a few pounds by tackling that laundry room. You know —  just in case.

This story will appear in the Mobile Press-Register, Birmingham News, Huntsville Times and Mississippi Presss. You can see it online and share it from HERE.

  • Bless your heart! No really, I mean Bless you and your heart. I have been remiss in catching up on your posts. But, am I feeling great now (see smile one my face here). I see you are feeling great by now too. Floating in the pool and wearing your pearls out and about. Leslie Anne is BAAAACCCK!!!

    • Thank you so much Lori. Glad you are doing well now. Come join me in the pool sometime! It’s good for what ails you.

  • I’m so glad that you are doing well. I will continue to bless your heart and you but I will refrain from sending you a Chicago deep dish pizza since your neighbors have you suitably carbed up!

    • I don’t know, I’ve had Chicago pizza before and it’s worth a carb overload!

  • Well, it sounds like you are back to your sassy lovable self! Pssst…even when you finally get all your energy back, don’t let on, keep people helping you as much as you can! Seriously, Leslie Anne, please go slowly, and try to slow down a little {not your style, I know!}
    ❤️ Jenna

  • Ms.Leslie, God bless you’re little heart, your not so”little” heart!
    You servived, the really hard part, the frightening part, only someone who has experienced what you have been through, can really know the fear attached, with a much needed operation. You will be whizzing around FHope, and those added few lbs will be gone in no time!
    Will be watching for you, by the way, was that your handsome son at the Rick Bragg signing at the Venue? I think I recognized him?? So see, you were out and about, even when you weren’t!!!!

    • Thanks Arlene. Don’t think my son was at the rick Bragg event. wonder who it was? glad you got to go an I hope to see you around town soon.

  • So glad you are feeling better and better! My church Meal Train literally saved us last summer when I broke my arm AND leg. But every time they came over I panicked not knowing what kind of mess my husband had left in the kitchen … and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. If someone had wanted to design the perfect torture for this clean freak, that was it!

    • Oh no! your arm and leg? How terrible! I know the feeling of being out of control when others dare to go into your . . . kitchen!!! What a bunch of sweeties your meal train has riding along. Good for them, and I’m sure since you feel better, you’ve jumped on the train to help a few times!

      • Oh yes! I’m paying it forward for sure. Making lots of healing ooey- gooey cheesey casseroles and chocolate brownies!

  • Savan Wilson says:

    You always look fabulous sick or well. So glad you are on the mend. As always, you write with honesty and wonderful humor!


  • Margaret Neely says:

    I saw you at White Linen Night (I was volunteering and didn’t get a chance to speak to you) and thought you looked fabulous! Love the humor in your writing!

    • Thanks Margaret. I saw you and you looked lovely and busy! Thanks for volunteering. It was a great party!

  • Now that you have most assuredly survived your heart procedure and “prepared for the worst,” can we get back to living large? (Says the woman who rewrites her will on a regular basis.) SO glad you are feeling fiesty again!

  • I am so glad you are feeling better and your wit is as keen as ever! When someone is sick or dies, we Southern ladies start the casserole brigade!

    • Thank goodness for that endearing tradition. We’d starve otherwise. Thanks Pam.

  • I am so glad to hear you are feeling better. I know you will have those extra pounds off in no time IF you even need to lose them.
    Glad to see friends took care of you.

    • Thank you Sandy. Friends are the best! I had so much food and the visits were my favorite part. Although tired, I was bored and didn’t like being alone, so it was fun to have friends over to entertain me. Someone brought me a rubber dart gun, so that kept me entertained!

  • Oh Leslie, for you to infuse humor in this situation means you are a girl after my own heart (Hope that is not too close to home). Whenever a life event is about to occur with me, I start cleaning the house because I am fearful that someone is going to come in after I’m gone and judge, judge, judge while they claim my belongings. I have my fingers crossed and my prayers in line that waking up dead is not in either of our futures.

    • So happy you understand. Always keep your cast iron in good condition, or you’ll be discussed . . . just in case.

  • Ellen Shook says:

    The docs clearly enhanced your already formidable sense of humor! I am so glad you are doing well.

  • Sharon Calvert says:

    Hey … those Mary Engelbreit magazines ARE indeed valuable! Gotta stack of ’em myself 🙂 If you should ever need to unload them for quick cash – you know, exorbitant medical bills, etc. – check out the Facebook sites; no doubt there’ll be a bidding war. Seriously, so glad you’re definitely on the mend. Hugs from down the road …

    • Happy you recognize the value of the ME magazines. I can’t get Bob to understand.

  • So glad you are feeling better! We lived out of the South for four years and I had a baby via c- section during that time. We were active in our church and older child’s school, (i.e., we had lots of friends and co workers etc), but only one person brought us a meal after the new baby was born! Such a stark difference to when our first child was born here in Texas!

    I took a meal to someone after their baby was born in that same community and several people asked me why I was doing that? I realized how much I had taken Southern hospitality for granted. So bless those folks for helping you!

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