Thursday evening, I miss Helen’s call, but return it in less than two minutes.
“Are you screening your calls? You never answer when I call. We’re going to Lou’s to play euchre Saturday at 2:00. She wants you to come,” demands Helen.
“I’ll be there if my daughter is not in the hospital having a baby.”
“How will I know if you’re not coming? We need four players.”
I promise to call.
Saturday morning Helen calls, “I hope this doesn’t hurt your feelings, but to relieve your stress could you stay home? Jan might have the baby.”
“Relieve my stress? I’m fine,” Helen doesn’t worry about my stress.
“Well, Becky wants to go. I don’t want to tell her she can’t go. We only need 4 players for euchre. You can both go. Maybe the place has a library. I’ll sit in the library.”
“No, Helen, you aren’t sitting in a library. I’ll stop by to see Lou. I don’t need to play euchre. It’s okay,” Nothing is simple with this group.
I find Helen, Becky, and Sherry in the rehab parking lot. Sherry hugs me then looks at Helen. I know she’s doing a mental count.
Lou is waiting in the reception area with a walker. “This thing is my savior right now. The doctor told me to not go forward, or sideways, or backward. What are you supposed to do? Stand and not move?” Lou pivots and we follow. “I don’t know. The doctor is 10 years old. Everyone looks young when you’re 85, even you Debi. Let’s go play.”
In the dining room, staff is getting Lou’s table ready. They’ve got lemonade, tea, and coffee. Lou says we aren’t going to drink their coffee because it’s no good. Sherry’s made coffee and cookies.
We pull over a 5th chair. Sherry puts cookies on the table. Everyone except Lou takes a cookie. Then Lou tells me to put the cookies on the floor. She doesn’t like them. She likes cookies from McDonalds. She buys them 3 times a week. “That’s nine cookies a week,” she tells us.
“We can multiply,” Helen says.
“Who wants a tattoo?” Becky asks.
What? Do you want one?
“Yes. Who wants one? Most people secretly want a tattoo.”
“Where would you suggest I put a tattoo?” Lou wants to know.
Helen holds up her arm and flips her flabby wing. She’d get an American flag and let it wave in the wind.
“Can we go Monday?” Becky asks.
“We’re dealing with walkers and oxygen and canes. Who’s going to tattoo this group? Let’s play cards. Becky and Debi pretend you’re one player, so we have 4.” Lou’s shuffling the cards. “Helen, I’m glad you don’t have that flat hair today.”
“Thanks. I guess that means my hair is okay today.”
“Well, there aren’t holes in it. When it’s flat you have holes in the back.”
“So, who wants to get a tattoo on Monday?” Becky asks.
Lou deals the cards, “What’s wrong with you, Becky? You can’t get a tattoo Monday…you could get infected. Some of those places are dirty. Do you want AIDS? Sherry, hearts are up.”
“Debi, why don’t you check and see where we can get tattoos?” Becky asks. “Want to do it on Monday?”
“Becky, seriously, I don’t have time. Lou, why don’t you check? You sit around a lot.”
“Speaking of sitting around, are you outside trying to run again?” Lou asks. “Has anyone seen Debi try to run? It’s not easy to watch. Scares me. Hearts are up. Who wants hearts? Anyone? It’s down.”
“Debi, what would you get tattooed on you?” Becky asks. “I want a frog jumping off a Lilly pad.”
I don’t want one, but if I did, I guess I’d get a ladybug.
“What’s trump?” Helen asks.
“There’s no trump yet,” Lou answers. “I liked your hair short. It looked good. No holes. It’s getting long again.” Lou continues as she pulls her hair down on her forehead with a little wink. “Keep the bangs off your forehead. Doesn’t look good. What’s trump?”
I’m not getting a tattoo on Monday, but if I did it would be a big fat ladybug with the words “I Love Crazy Women.”