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.

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