Last week, the little boy came down with some type virus. My grandmother would have called it the stomach flu. No matter what the ailment, if it involved the stomach, she'd say, "You must have the stomach flu."
Then she would rub your stomach with Vapor Rub and pronounce things better.
If I came in the house with a hatchet buried in my gut, complaining of pain, she'd say, "You must have the stomach flu" and then rub my stomach with Vapor Rub.
Safe to say, call it what you will, it is most unpleasant and I'll spare you the details. The problem with having little kids is that it travels through the family. Soon my little girl had it. As she was recovering, she complained about how pale she looked. Finally she said, "Daddy, I feel great but I still don't look very good."
I said, "Baby, that's my life story."
She was still scratching her head when I left the room.
The little boy, while sick, had climbed in the bed with me. He then proceeded to roll all over me like a dog rolling on a dead animal. The little girl insisted I hold her in her bed. My fate was sealed.
So, I write this 10 pounds lighter and reminiscing about the days when I had no children.
The stomach flu knocks you down, so in the bed I stay. Beside me is my faithful rat terrier, Levi. He cares not that I'm near death's door and occasionally he rolls on me like I'm a dead animal. Lying in bed beside this loyal companion made my mind drift off to all my faithful companions of years past.
I had Frisky, a 30-pound, solid white bundle of fur that mainly looked like he was red because of all the red dirt fields around the house. I was going to a Braves game with my dad when I saw him at the county line store sitting amongst the old men who sat there and talked each day.
The county line store sat on the Webster County/Terrell County line and had the cheapest gas in nine counties -- 32 cents a gallon. My mother would drive 38 miles to save 20 cents because it was the cheapest gas around. I cried and wanted to pick up Frisky because the store was 11 miles from the house and I was sure he would never return. My father simply said quit acting like a damn fool. I'd hear that quote a few more times in my life. When we got home that night, Frisky was sound asleep in the yard.
I once had a German shepard that, when asked would you rather be a Florida Gator or a dead dog, would drop dead on the ground. I ordered an autographed picture of Bob Saget, host of "America's Funniest Home Videos," and filmed the dog as I showed him the photo.
I asked, "Would you rather be Bob Saget or a dead dog" and he fell to the ground perfectly dead.
I was certain this film would make me $10,000 and he'd be famous. Instead, he up and disappeared and I didn't see the point in sending in the film if he wasn't there anymore to enjoy it.
I had a cat named Sweetie-Sweet. It would walk around the entire house on her hind legs, following as you walked away from her, rubbing her head on your legs all the way. She died 17 years ago, but left me Hobby, a now 16-year-old yellow tabby who sits on the top of my chair and licks my bald head.
Maybe I'll send that in to "America's Funniest Home Videos."
I had a dog years ago name Brown Hair. It's safe to say I didn't spend much time in coming up with a name for the dog, but then again, he wasn't much of a dog. He was a rather mangy looking mutt that was, as you might expect, brown.
His claim to fame was that he didn't chase cars but rather raced them. He would wait for someone to leave the house and then get on the side of the road and run as fast as he could until the car passed by him. Once the car had outrun him, he would immediately stop, figuring there was no point anymore.
One of my buddies sped out of the driveway and somehow managed to run off the road and run over Brown Hair all at the same time. Before I could get to the road to see the damage, Brown Hair had already popped up and headed back to the front porch. You just can't kill a dog like Brown Hair.
Oh, well, gotta go. Levi's rolling on me again and I need some more Vapor Rub.
Contact columnist T. Gamble at firstname.lastname@example.org.