Sick days do have a few perks

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By W.B. Evans

According to Momma (and the Esso Oil Co. calendar hanging on the back of our kitchen door), it was finally spring.

Goodbye, cold frosty mornings. A hearty hello to yellow bell (forsythia) bushes and jonquils, which were waking up in just about every yard along Chesterfield Avenue.

Trouble was, I had a real doozy of a cold, sniffles, coughing and a fever.

I felt terrible (except for the fact I was spending this Monday at home).

“No school for you today,” Momma said, before heading into the kitchen to rustle me up (that’s cowboy talk) some grub. 

I stayed in my pajamas and bathrobe to take it easy.

Momma fixed me a big stack of pancakes oozing with Log Cabin maple syrup and a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice.

You know, I’d enjoy this a whole lot more, if I just felt better.

From my upstairs kitchen perch, I looked down on the shrubbery, which was beginning to form buds and greenery.

Bless Pete, I was yearning to be outside to breathe in the crispness of the morning.

Then I began to cough and I knew my cold was far from ending.

The little Philco radio on the kitchen work table was tuned in to the Colossus of the South.

WBT Radio was reporting the very latest in war news from Europe and the Pacific Islands.

Momma knew so many of the men who had gone to war and she tried, like most folks, to keep track of their whereabouts.

Some were on the road to Rome. Thousands were in other faraway places that didn’t even show up on maps in our geography books.

Suddenly, I heard a strange noise outside, which got my full attention.

Glancing out the window, I spied an orange and black Duke Power truck with a picture of Reddy Kilowatt painted on the door. I’m glad old Reddy felt so “full of spark to light up the dark.” Boy, I sure didn’t.

Linemen were on a ladder leading up to the light in the middle of the street. Momma said it sure seemed darker than usual in front of the house, but she didn’t think much about it.

Before long, I would be playing out beneath that light on warm summer nights. You know, a bright light in the middle of the street, on a dark night, sure makes you feel safer.

The world radio newscast ended.

I knew what was coming next over the morning airwaves.

“Good Mornnnnnnning!” a voice boomed through the small Philco speaker.

It was Mr. Grady Cole, with his mid-morning farm news. Some folks say that Grady Cole could sell snow to an Eskimo. I think they’re ’bout right.

As usual, Mr. Grady’s show came and went without a hitch.

Given my circumstances, there wasn’t very much for me to do, except cough and blow my nose with one of Daddy’s old handkerchiefs.

As soon as Our Gal Sunday started, I knew what the announcer was going to say.

“Can this girl from the little mining town in the West find happiness as the wife of a wealthy and titled Englishman?”

Right now, I’d settle for a couple of Anacins, which sponsored the soap opera. I sure had a bad case of the “hammers in the head” they’re supposed to cure.

Oh well, I imagine, Sunday, Kevin Bromfield and Lord Henry would have a plate full of stuff to deal with all week long.  

Willie and Shuffle were busy down at the lumber yard while Ma Perkins was getting things in order.

The day just dragged by.

It was a long time till seven o’clock when the good shows started. I could hardly wait to hear Jack Packard and Doc Long share their adventures in the I Love a Mystery series.

I had a whole afternoon to myself. This staying home from school stuff ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

There was a little excitement, though. Uncle Harry came home early from his law office over Mackey Drug Store with a country ham. It seems one of his client’s couldn’t pay up and settled the debt with a cured country ham.

Christmas had come early for Aunt Bess. With the war in full swing, meat was in short supply. Fried ham and red-eye gravy would be on her breakfast menu for awhile.

I was glad to go to bed that night. A good night’s rest, accompanied with a good dose of Momma’s loving care, proved to be all the cure I needed.

The next morning, fueled by a hot ham biscuit for breakfast, I was soon dressed for school.

I stepped out into the fresh morning air, and joined the straggling line of schoolmates headed down to Chesterfield Avenue Grammar School.

Mr. Dave Belk of Lancaster’s finest gave us the once over as we passed over to school ground.

And he wasn’t the only one. Standing at the end door of the school building was the tall, slender figure of Mr. C. D. Williams.

I was his until 3 p.m., when I would become Momma’s again.

But that’s OK, I reckon. A day off with some pampering makes for a real boost, but getting back to normal is good.