I am sorry to say, my friends, that the hair post scheduled for this week has been unavoidably detained. I have been in bed most of the week, sick with a bad cold, sinus infection, sore throat, unceasing and annoying cough, and whatever icky winter illness you can think of… that’s not Covid. Thank goodness.
I’d been fighting a sinus infection before we left for South Carolina, and two days into our trip found I had a sore throat at the end of each day. “Must be the pollen,” our hosts said. “It’s a really bad year for pollen. Everyone’s complaining about it.” And indeed the pollen was pretty bad, coating everything, cars, outdoor furniture, even my iPad cover, in yellow powder. But by Friday I was pretty sure it wasn’t just the pollen. And I spent the last day and a half of our trip in bed. Then poor Hubby had to drive back with an invalid for company. Two long days of highway driving next to a whining, coughing, moaning, or sleeping wife. Road trip hell. Ha.
Since we’ve been back, I’ve been to the doctor, started on antibiotics, and an inhaler, slept mostly sitting up, coughed up a lung each night, and gargled with so much salt water that I’d probably have pickled my tonsils… if I had any tonsils.
Consequently, I have not done any prep for the hair post. And I do want it to be good. So I’m postponing it until next week. I also want to write about our trip. The non-coughing part. And talk about our changing priorities as travellers and how we are grappling with post-pandemic travel and what that might look like for us. But I need to think more about that one, and my thinking has not been good for the past few days. So that one will have to wait too.
You know, I was sick a lot with bad colds as a child. That is until I had my tonsils removed when I was two years old. My sisters used to tell me that I spoiled many planned family events by getting sick. As in “Oops, we can’t go now; Susie is sick again.”
The other night Hubby and I waxed lyrical about childhood illness memories. He shared stories of his mother’s dreaded home remedies when he was a kid. I tell you, that woman would try anything. And I told him about the year of the sore throat when I was in university.
I had a bad throat all one winter in university. I gargled with salt and warm water constantly, but it did not go away. Turns out that beer and cigarette smoke were not conducive to healing a sore throat. But I did NOT want to miss any social occasions, so I gargled and soldiered on. So to speak.
I told Hubby about New Year’s Eve that year when I stayed over at a friend’s house in town because we were going to a party. My friend’s father was a judge and they lived in a big house in the city, one of those beautiful historic homes that line the streets of the old part of Fredericton. I remember being impressed that I slept in a guest room furnished with antiques. I’d never slept in anyone’s guest room before. Up until then, when I stayed over at a friend’s house, I always bunked down in my friend’s room.
Anyway, both my friend and I had sore throats by the time we came home from our party. And since her parents were still out at a New Year’s Party of their own when we came home, we carried glasses of salt and water up to the bathroom and tried to gargle side by side at the basin. Great hilarity ensued and most of the salt and water was spat out as we tried not to choke. Gargling does sound pretty funny.
But what I remember most of that New Year’s stay was the conversation I had at breakfast the next morning with my friend’s mother who I had just met the night before. I remember she asked me if I was Ray Burpee’s daughter. I said that I was, and she said she knew he’d passed away the previous fall. Then she smiled and looked pensive: “I remember Bunny from school, you know. He was so handsome, and charming.” she said. “He was a few years older than me. And I had a huge crush on him when I was in grade nine or ten. All the girls in my class did.”
“What a kind woman she was,” I said to Hubby, a bit tearfully. “I don’t remember the rest of our conversation, but I have never forgotten that bit.” “Why, Suz?” he responded. And after I thought for a minute, I said, “You know, that was the first time I’d ever met someone outside my family who knew my father. Or who spoke to me of him. She was from Fredericton. She and her husband probably knew everyone in town. Thinking about it now, I’m sure she knew what had become of my father. His struggles with alcohol. His failures. But she didn’t say anything about all that. She just shared a lovely memory of him.”
And now her memory has provided me with a lovely memory. Of her kindness, mostly.
Okay. As my mum would say, “Enough about that.” Coughing makes me maudlin.
Time for my gargle. And then a nice cup of tea. And a treat. Hubby came home from the grocery store this morning with fresh hot cross buns. He does know the way to a sick girl’s heart after all.
See you next week, my friends. With a hair post… I promise.
P.S. If you want the back story to my gargling memory you can read some of it here. I do tend to witter on about family and memories.