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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bob's Not Supposed to Drink Pop

And now, another story.

Mary has a soft spot for people.

The little weirdo really likes them.

Want to laugh until you fall over? She’s your gal. Lonely? Same person. Afraid that weird woman at the bar is going to come after you when you head for your car?

As she's fond of saying, “Is this a private fight, or can anyone join in?”

And I tell you that to tell you this: Mary’s been visiting an ex-coworker’s elderly mother.

Once a week, Mary takes the bus - and now, in the summer, her bike -- to the nursing home to check on Rose.

It is possible, on some days, that Rose believes Mary is a daughter. And isn’t she? Like a good girl, Mary brings her little treats: flowers, sugar cookies, stories, her full attention.

Rose is not the only person in the home, of course, and Mary knows most of them, brings them jokes and smiles, teases them.

She left her purse and a bag containing a gift – a two-liter bottle of root beer – in the common room the other day while she went to go get Rose. Rose likes a glass of root beer after lunch and dinner.

It aids in her digestion, she says.

When she came back, however, the root beer was out of the bag and in the hands of Bob.

Bob, an 84-year-old man no longer allowed pop due to his diabetes, is almost half-way through the bottle.

“Bob! Drop the pop!”

Bob may be 84, but he’s still taller than Mary; and having found the treat, he is not to be denied. He shakes his head “no” vigorously, droplets of root beer flying, his moustache holding shiny, fragrant beads of the forbidden treat.

“Mph mphh,” he mumbles, his cheeks full to the point of explosion. Bob looks like an elderly, trumpet-free, and guilty Dizzy Gillespie.

Luckily, Mary happens to be fluent in Mumble. “You are too!”

Bob lifts the bottle to his lips, chugs root beer as Mary jumps up and down, swats at his arms. “You know you’re not supposed to have pop, Bob!”

Root beer runs down his chin and onto the front of his shirt as he swallows.

“I’m not,” he challenges between swallows. “I’m not having pop.”

“Oh my God, Bob, you liar,” Mary teases him. “You’re not drinking pop? Right now? You’re not drinking pop?”

“Nope,” Bob says around a mouthful. “Not allowed pop.”

The nursing home authorities are called in, of course – “He looked so happy, but I knew he wasn’t supposed to have it” – and the mostly-finished bottle is wrested from his happy, sticky hands.

Mary reports that Bob harbors no ill will against her.

And he’s the first one at the door when she visits now.


Shelly said...

Give that Mary a big hug for me.

vanilla said...

I love this story; and I love Mary; I love Pearl. What a great start for my day.

fmcgmccllc said...

I wonder how long Bob has been plotting that move. Hilarious, "I'm not drinking pop"

Suldog said...

God, I love your stories. Always a treat to come here and get a little slice of (slightly surreal) life. Thanks for making my mornings brighter, Pearl!

Pearl said...

I'm so glad you guys like this. Granted, it's a repost -- and I feel guilty about that -- but the creation/editing/futzing with the book I've been working on just drained me. I want to sleeeeeep. Well, first I want something -- anything! -- covered in turkey gravy (beef would be acceptable), maybe a buttermilk biscuit, and a good movie.

I am going to Chicago for the weekend with my friend Sarah. No doubt I shall return from that trip completely relaxed and partially normal again.


Leenie said...

Great story even the second time around. Happy trails. I hear the weather is going to be weird in Mpls today. Good day to leave town.

Eva Gallant said...

I think I remember reading this a while ago; enjoyed it again, though.

bill lisleman said...

Reading it again was fun. I like the trumpet cheeks.
Have a great time in Chi town. You should check out Oz park if you have time.

Susan Williams said...

That Bob.
You can't trust him, either.
Old soda stealer.
Pop purloiner.
Root beer raider.

Mary, of course, is a gem of a supplier, with that trusting nature and generous heart of hers.
She'll be a wilier Mary after Bob.

Kana said...

Oh man, I love Guzzling Gillespie! Your anecdotes rock, Pearl!

TexWisGirl said...

oh my word. :)

i think i love mary. what a soul!

SparkleFarkle said...

I'm glad there is someone like Mary to answer the question, "What About Bob?" God bless you, Miss Mary.

Roshni AaMom said...

Mary's just awesome!!

esbboston said...

Its not pop, its beer!

Jacquelineand.... said...

Please don't come back normal! What fun would that be?

Hmmmm, mayhap Bob should be renamed Sneaky Snake since he steals all the root beer? And mayhap Mary deserves hugs and accolades?

Btw, have I mentioned I make a mean turkey pot pie with lots of gravy?

jeanie said...

Great story!

Over here, Root Beer is known as Sars (for Sarsparilla Root, one of the main ingredients) or, if you are truly old-fashioned, "Double Sars" - and it would be people of that generation who are particularly fond of guzzling the black stuff.

Ms Sparrow said...

That Mary is a real gem!

Linda O'Connell said...

Mary is a good gal.

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

Anyone who visits nursing homes, never mind people they are not related to, in nursing homes, deserves angel wings, halos, medals, gold ribbons and a gazillion dollars tax free. God Bless Mary and those like her, who bring a ray of sunshine to the forgotten people incarcerated in "homes".

jenny_o said...

Hey, how about some sugar-free root beer for Bob? Perhaps in a slightly smaller size as well :)

The Elephant's Child said...

Mary and her sister have more in common than you are admitting in this post. Love you both.

Chantel said...

I so dig your brain, and I hope your trip is smashed full of laughter and sleep. (I just wrote that "slepp" the first time...not that)


HermanTurnip said...

What I find strange is that people in different parts of the US have different names for soda pop.

If you're curious, here's a great map detailing what gets called where:



Rose L said...

She is lucky he did not abscond with her keys and drive to a fast food restaurant for more pop (McDonald's has large for $1).

Mitchell is Moving said...

She actually LIKES people? Very peculiar, but there's got to be one in every bunch I guess. As for Bob, good for him!

Candy's daily Dandy said...

I think they call people like Mary angels. Doing God's work, of course.

Diane Tolley said...

Sigh. I love you guys! Do I have to move to Minnesota to meet people like you?