Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ed...Tough As Nails

Do you ever wonder what makes us different? The same? The human essences that we share, and yet the distance between us all? 
I just did some proofreading and I must say I’m pretty damn ashamed of my judgmental attitude.  Sometimes I feel like Sybil.  Yet, it is what it is; simply the world as I see it.   Perhaps you hold hidden prejudices, and as much as we try to hide them, sweep them under a rug or cover them up with politically correct comments and donations once a year to fantastic non-profits, they’re still there.  
For me…it’s rednecks.

September 5, 2011
Dear Lord,
Please forgive me for I have sinned. 
Please know that in my heart of hearts I intend rednecks no harm.
I need your help and guidance, Lord, so that I might live a life free of this horrible judgment.
Pardon me for one brief moment, Lord, as I just spilled Kalamata olive juice between my ‘L’ key and my semicolon key…
I appreciate the fact that I can come to you, anytime day or night, and I thank you for the wisdom you have bestowed upon me, Father:  to never ever live in Redding, California.
Your most trusted disciple,
~Trailer Park Girl

…Sitting in the main lobby of Shasta Regional is like sitting at the national premiere of Deliverance.  It’s 1972 and it’s a sold out crowd.  Outside, an old mountain man, wearing coveralls and a gray beard down to his navel, sits in his pickup truck, smoking a stogie.  He is attached to an oxygen tank.  Even though his windows are closed, Sweet Home Alabama is blaring out of the cab and out into the hospital parking lot.  It’s too early to be amused. 
Inside, to my right, is a family of 6; 2 men, both missing lots of teeth and reeking of cigarettes, and 4 women all unduly eating. The family’s weight totals approximately 1,800 pounds.  One woman, who weighs about 1/3 of the total, began eating around 8:10 a.m.   What began with Hot Cheetos and a 16 oz Pepsi, which she crammed in at record speed while intermittently licking her flaming red fingertips between gulps, continued with complimentary graham crackers, which she dipped in complimentary hot chocolate, yogurt, a large chicken salad with three dressing packets, more Pepsi and a cheese Danish. 
While taking it all in, I decided to Google both the calories and the ingredients of a super size bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos, which in turn, led me to the Frito Lay website where I found a complete guide to all our nutritional needs.  Hey, did you know that Flaming Hot Cheetos are gluten free and that all Frito Lay products are made from “natural” ingredients?

Mother of God!  Next thing you know some Republican President will reclassify Hot Cheetos as an accepted vegetable on hot lunch programs in our public schools. (Do you recall the ketchup as a vegetable proposal by an unnamed president?  Thank you again, Mother of God, for it was never was implemented due to outrage by nutritionists and the Democratic Party.)

I don’t mind the backwoods hic sounds coming out of the toothless mouths of the multitudes here, but it’s the “Amen’s” and the “Praise the Lord’s” vocalized each time someone in the room agrees with the commentator on FOX News (which blares from the TV. in the waiting room 24/7) that really gives me a rash.

I have seen more McCain bumper stickers on more Chevy trucks in this parking lot than are probably found in the entire state of Arizona.   More tattoos too.  And more people who remove their oxygen tubing to smoke a cigarette.   I am now very aware of a woman across the way, clinching her jaw and grinding her teeth, as she stocks up on “food” at the waiting room counter…shoving packets and packets of hot chocolate, stir sticks, non-dairy creamer, saltines and beef broth in her purse, she yells across the room to the candy stripe volunteer,
 “How do these crackers taste in this soup?” In a saintly voice, the volunteer answers and offers a polite smile.
After 'Ms. Lady Snow' leaves, I say to the volunteer, “Looks like she cleaned you out this morning.”
“Ah, yes it does, but that’s why we are also an outreach here at Shasta Regional.  It’s the Christian thing to do.”

I swear I don’t know if I’ll make it through this, but Ed will because he’s as tough as nails. I’m certain of that.  This is his fourth time here in four weeks and he cracks me up everyday.  I told him we’re taking his act on the road when he gets the hell out of here.    During his better moments, here’s some direct Edweirdo Quotes, most while under mild sedation:

To the attendant that brought the gurney to transport him for a variety of scans…

“I’m not going to hold it against you or anything but if this test doesn’t go right; I mean if I don’t pass, nothing against you or anything, but I want you to know I’ve got a 45 Magnum here next to my bed.”

To his fav, Linda, the best damn ICU nurse this side of the Mississippi…

“I’m taking you to dinner at Jack’s when this is over…Order anything you want…money’s no object…steak…whatever you like.”

To the night nurse that rarely cracked a smile or checked on him…

“Hey… How much you think one of these rooms goes for a night?   There’s boo coo bucks in this place.  Probably ain’t cheap.”

While Ed and I were enjoying the follies at Shasta Regional, the women of the family were out doing what they love and what comes naturally: yard saling.  This is a national pastime for a huge number of Americans and my mother-in-law, and her fearless flyer of a sister, are no exception.   Today was a bonus day as my aunt-in-law could hardly wait to show me a certain treasure that she obtained at a sale held by two elderly women on the north side of Redding.  There, a paperback laid waiting, priced at fifty cents, though she did try to get it for a quarter, but the crones held their ground.  The book, written by Dr. Richard Jacob and Reverend Owen Thomas, is entitled How To Live With A Huge Penis.  No joke. 

So basically it’s 8 chapters, plus a glossary, an About the Authors section and Acknowledgements and it’s filled with advice, meditations, and wisdom for men who have too much.  They state, and I would imagine it to be true, that bigger is not in fact really better and that men with huge genitalia experience issues such as discrimination, shame and even pain.

 I'm sure Emily Dickinson would be thrilled to see her quote on this page.
Frankly, I think 50 cents was a good buy for the book, as it is in excellent condition, and I intend to read it.  Not because I’m hiding something from all of you, so don’t get any ideas, but just so that I feel well informed.  Oh and btw, Dr Richard Jacob is kind of like Dr Phil; his credentials are questionable to say the least, but hey, this open minded, redneck hating girl from a park is going to give them a chance.  We all deserve being given a chance; and some of us require more than one please…
You, Edweirdo, me, strangers on this strange planet, the woman in the lobby of Shasta Regional…
I remained by Ed’s side all night last night and we had these incredibly real and telling conversations; he high on meds and me delirious from lack of sleep. 
He said to me at 3:00 a.m., “ Val, You gotta get me out of here. You gotta spring me.   I wanna go home so let’s give it a chance…  Let’s roll the dice.”
I want that for him.  I want him to be given his dignity and the choice to roll the dice and hope the gamble pays off.   I want him to go home to his porch, to his kitties, to his routines.
His words hold meaning for all of us.
Yesindeedee, let’s all roll the dice!


  1. I love TPG!!!!! great read today. and every time i take the time to read, i say.... I LOVE TPG! and I'm so glad I read these words. I am inspired to share your blog with others and also to say: Even though our current administration (clears throat) is a sore disappointment on so many levels. It is important for us to stick with him, as to turn against (which is what I have been doing) would be just what those McCain slappin' rednecks would really want. Just sayin'. Love always. ~delphine

  2. Delphine,
    In total agreement with you! Thanks so much for your most appreciated comment. And thanks for sharing the blog with your pals! Loving you!

  3. Wow, once again Val shines thru. Trailer Park Girl definitely has new material just waiting for her off of Highway 5 in the North. But then that means you would actually have to be there. Let's think that one thru.........
    Loved it Val and love you,

  4. you keep outdoing yourself! each time i think- "this one is better than the last"! i am sure that Wendy and her family find your humorous perspective, and ability to creatively swirl this hard time into something light, an amazing relief and blessing. you are extremely talented Val, keep it up and we'll keep reading! much much love to you and Wen, and Ed! xoxox- nina
    ps- love the photo of you reading the book!

  5. Must be dice rolling time, you know how some people have their little gestures they do before they let those dice roll/ fly. I'm glad wants to roll the dice and get out of there. I'm happy that you're there with him when he is there. great writing yet I find it hard to accept the insults to hot cheetos gluten free is something, what did you eat as a kid??? Kids love hot cheetos like you luv gin and tonics, gotta have stuff for the 7yr olds set.

  6. So true Anonymous! We all have our vices now don't we? When I was a wee lass, mine was Vanilla Wafers! Thanks for reading!