So, it's late in the early morning and I'm figuring bed sounds like a good idea, then that little voice in my head said no, read the paper instead.
So I did.
Then the voice said to figure out bills. So I did. And then it was 7 a.m., and nobody goes to bed at 7 a.m. So I didn't. I waited until 8 a.m. and called my friend Loree to see if she wanted to go to lunch in Duncombe with my aunt Doris. She did.
So I called Doris to see if we could come, and lo and behold, her daughter Cathy was visiting from western Nebraska. This was working out well. Doris said she'd like to have us come. So I called Jeanette Dencklau to see if she wanted to go, too, and she did. We had a party going, so I called my sister Cindy.
Since I was fixing the lunch, there was no problem with more than a few people because I've never learned the fine art of cooking for one. Everything went well, if slower than I'd figured, but it wasn't much later than expected we were filling our plates in Doris's kitchen.
It's hard holding a plate without using the ends of your fingers, but that's what I had to do. In fixing the dinner, I used both the microwave and the oven. I took a dish from the micro and set it on a hot pad, then pulled another dish from the oven and put it next to the first. Both had lids on to keep the heat in, but I wanted to wrap them in a thick towel to keep more of the heat in. Wrapped the towel around a cookie sheet, then picked up the microwaved bowl and set it on the towel. Without engaging my whole brain, I picked up the bowl just out of the oven. Burn, baby, burn. The three middle fingers on each hand throbbed, sprouting immediate blisters. No time for anything but the whining, so whine I did and wrapped my food, forgetting the hurt.
Nothing tales the hurt away like good company will. And for the first time going out there, I took my camera. I got pictures of Cathy and Doris together, of Doris, Loree and Jeanette and of all sorts of pairings. I was on a roll.
The three ladies have been friends for longer than I can remember, longer than I've been alive, and I love to hear them talk about their lives back then.
But what may have been the best information came from Cathy, who said if you put a burn into cider vinegar, it will take the sting away. Doris had a bottle of cider vinegar, so Cathy poured a little into a cup and I stuck my fingertips in the vinegar. Go figure. It worked.
Those four hours were the best four hours I've spent in a long, long time. A happy mixture of family and friends. And lots of hugs.
Two days later Cathy called. Doris had died.
Thank God for the hugs.
So long friends, until the next time when we're together.
Sandy Mickelson, retired lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.