Murphy’s Law again – since I was a Murphy, it is to be expected that situations arise and things happen that you had not planned on. Because if it can go wrong, it will.
Family matters and relationships can be funny or tragic depending on how seriously the listeners take it. My husband’s brother divorced and remarried.
Somehow, I slipped and called the second wife by the first wife’s name. That was bad enough but when this wife died and he remarried, I referred to his new wife by the dead wife’s name – as I said Bud and Alsie, when it was now Bud and Lucy. If that were today I could just say I’m 81 and perhaps I have “Old Timer’s Disease.”
I am glad that others make mistakes, too. When my daughter brought home her future husband for the first time to spend the night, he was perhaps a little rattled because he referred to our Suzanne as “Sandy,” the name of the girl he had previously given a promise ring. When he had spoken the name, he realized his mistake and turned red.
We all laughed it off, but it was not a laughing matter to him as he was so embarrassed. Another incident in the life of my daughter was at her wedding. Dr. Prince, who performed the ceremony, had listened to the soloist who was Roberta Kitchens, and his wife was named Roberta, too. When it came time to call Bob’s name, he called them Suzanne and Roberta.
There are other times that I could wish did not happen. I worked for the local Ford dealership, Andress Motors Company, for many years. During that time I learned many customers, and often they shared illnesses, family problems, and I was a sort of “Dear Abby” to many of them. On one occasion, I inquired about a sick relative and the woman sort of giggled and said, “She died.”
I worked for eight years at Andress before I married. About two years before I married I was waiting on a customer that was not exactly “right” in the head, but he was a good man, and a good customer. He announced that he had been sick and had an operation. I told him I was sorry and asked if the surgery was serious. Simple minded as he was, he proceeded to show me his hernia scar, and that included unbuckling his belt, unzipping his trousers and starting to pull down his underwear right there on the show room floor of the dealership. I left the office, running, and did not stop until I got to the back of the shop. One of the men finished taking care of the man’s business, and he was gone when I came back. I never again said more than I was sorry and quickly went on to the business. I was afraid someone might share too much with me.
I questioned our senior minister, Bill Ichter, about a lady’s upcoming surgery that had been announced. He quickly replied that she was having WMU surgery. (He used that term to cover all female surgery as the WMU, or Women’s Missionary Union, which is an organization in Southern Baptist Churches.) Pretty clever wasn’t he? Later, I found that he referred to men’s surgery as “Brotherhood Surgery” (the corresponding Baptist group for men is called the Brotherhood), and that covered a multitude of ailments, didn’t it? Recently our minister to senior adults, Bill Crider, had hernia surgery. When he told me about the upcoming surgery, I merely said that I was sorry. I remembered the occasion when I found out more than I wanted to know.
It’s a boy
While I worked at the First Baptist Church one of our cooks was a small black girl, single, very slender with a tiny waist. One day she became very ill and her fever went very high. The family rushed her to the LSU Medical Center. After a week she had not returned to work, and the staff of ladies that worked as maids and cooks were short-handed. Our minister of education, Ronnie Laughlin, asked me to call the girl’s brother-in-law who operated a small garage and was known to my husband and me. I did, and he told me that she could not leave the hospital till they got her fever down. It had been as much as 106 degrees. I was astonished and asked, “What do they call it – flu or pneumonia?” He replied, “No, Mrs. Agan, they call it a baby boy.” No one at the church, either the ministerial staff or the janitorial staff had any idea that she was expecting a baby and even her sister was stunned with the news. Remember I asked and he told me!!!!
Hoof and Mouth Disease
Nobody is perfect, but nobody needs to get in the situations that I get myself into. I suppose that you might say I have “Hoof and Mouth Disease” since often when I open my mouth I put my foot into it. Just remember “don’t ask,” because they may tell. Did you ever get in such messes as I have?
Juanita Agan submitted a weekly column to the Press-Herald for more than 15 years until her death in 2008. She was a resident of Minden since 1935. The Press-Herald is republishing select articles from Mrs. Agan’s Cameos column every Wednesday.