Saturday, September 12, 2009

Southern Comfort - Part II




A light rain was falling Saturday morning when I crawled out of my tent. The forecast had called for rain so we were not surprised. I spied Baby across the grass and nodded to him. None of us are morning people, so the fewer the words, the better.

After showering in a really clean facility (I highly recommend Indian Creek Campground in Gold Beach, OR), we went to breakfast. GC wanted to abandon our camp and stay in a hotel for the duration of our stay. Since I had paid for the campsite, I figured we should stick it out. I munched my eggs Benedict, trying to block the very loud waitress who apparently knows everyone in town.

GC pointed to the window and said, "Still want to camp?"

It was raining sideways.

Nope, I no longer have the desire to rough it!

The restaurant was crowded and loud, something none of us like, but the food was good. GC informed us that he was going to convince our mother to talk to our Omi.

Side history: ya'll know my Mother doesn't speak to me. She also doesn't speak to my Omi. It's just crazy that way. Can you say, "Dysfunctional?".

I snicker and tell GC, "Good luck with that," and continue eating my breakfast, watching the rain form a river down the middle of the street. Baby goes outside to smoke, having inhaled his bacon, eggs, and coffee.

At the campsite we find our tents have water in them, even though we tarpped them well. We pack up in the downpour and I am tempted to snap a few pictures, but can tell by the look on my brothers faces that they don't find this the least bit amusing.

Stopping at the crappiest, cheapest motel in town, GC goes in and doesn't return. What is this? The Bates Motel? I run inside, water still cascading down my face and find him preparing to pay for the room. He is broke, I know he is, or at least he shouldn't be spending money he doesn't have on a room. I flip out my card as the man with a shiny dome and a few missing teeth asks, "How many?"

"Three," I reply and GC rolls his eyes at me.

Outside I learn that he was getting a room for ONE, not three. He was trying to con the toothless motel troll. Unbelievable.

We spend the better part of the morning with Omi. When we arrive she is sitting in her wheelchair, dressed (including hose), and smiling. She looks so much better than the night before. She takes us on a tour of the rehab center and introduces us around.

She excitedly introduces us to "Angela" who in reality use to be "Angelo". There is no mistaking him/her, and I can't help but chuckle at the look on Baby's face when he notices that Omi's favorite nurse is a he/she. Funny stuff. The three of us discussed it later and decided that Omi has no idea that Angela use to be someone completely different.

As we prepare to leave, she was so tired having been up since six am, she tries to give us money. Baby ducks out the door the minute he realizes what's going on. GC tries to sooth her and tell her to put her wallet away. I look at her, put my hands over hers and tell her that her money isn't any good here.

She's mad.

She glares at us and I see that feisty German I've known all my life. It makes my heart sing.

Then she begins to dig through her drawer and she pulls out a string of shiny beads. As she hands them to me I ask her if she's been down to Mardi Gras. She very honestly tells me she won them at Bingo. I chastise her for her wicked gambling ways and she smiles at me.

I wore those beads all weekend long.

Later, at the seediest bar I've ever been in, we discuss the dinner invitation that a friend of my family has extended to us. I had phoned this gentleman after learning of Omi's cancer diagnosis. He works in hospice and having known him for years, I knew he'd keep a close eye on our sweetheart.

GC was not convinced. Baby didn't want to go; he doesn't like meeting new people.

No problem.

But GC is in a mood. He drills me about this man, demanding details, as he downs his second Bloody Mary. GC eyes me and says, "I'm uncomfortable with this".

It's then that we finally get to the heart of the matter and I learn what's really bothering him.

He thinks that the Chaplain and I are going to gang bang him and force him to confess Christ over dinner.

I had promised myself that no matter what happened during the weekend that I wouldn't lose my temper. I wouldn't be judgemental. I wouldn't take any ones head off.


I leaned forward and looked deep into GC's eyes, that are exact color of mine, and said, "You really think that? First of all, GC, I don't hire other people to do my dirty work. If anyone is going to beat you up with the Bible, it will be me! And second, I hate to tell you this, but this isn't about YOU! This is about having eyes and ears down here because people are not telling us stuff. Remember? No one told us she had cancer, no one called us to tell us she wasn't eating, and no one told us that she refused the biopsy! I need to know what's going on and if my friend is willing to keep on eye on her, than that's what's going to happen!"

Baby sips his drink and stares at the television.


GC informs me that I do beat him up with the Bible.

Massive eye roll.

I laughed and said that isn't true. I haven't said word one to either of them for years because it isn't their thing.

Baby nods and keeps watching the television.

More silence...

GC smiles and tells me I just don't understand what has been going on in his life. He's dramatic and sighs. I look at my brothers and wonder how they get out of bed each day. I realize that the booze is their security blanket and I wonder how three people, who are so completely different, could have come from the same family.

Weird. Then I realize they probably think the same thing about me.

Back at the hotel, having downed a fair amount of liquor, GC is in a mood. He rants and raves about the crummy hotel. He makes us change rooms because the one we are in is such a dump. GC discovers after we change rooms that the second one isn't much better. Baby smokes. I look at GC and shake my head.

"Dude! It's a crappy hotel in a crappy town. What did you expect? I don't know why you are so angry. Just let it go."

His face is red and I'm waiting for the verbal barrage that is heading my way. He says quietly, "We need to talk".

I wasn't blessed with sisters. I grew up surrounded by brothers, one older and two younger. GC is the closest I've ever gotten to a sister with more drama than a daytime soap opera.

GC doesn't want Baby to hear our conversation, so we climb into the van. I turn and look at him. He stares out the window.

Finally he says, "I have cancer".


Mike T. said...

Wow! May God bless and comfort you, GC, Baby, and Omi!

A.Marie said...

Oh Wow! I wasn't expecting that at all!! Didn't see that one coming..

I can't wait to read what happened next!

Roo said...

Oh my word! How long did it take to get up off the floor? I'm with A.Marie... can't wait to read what happened next.

Patti said...

holy smokes. i don't have words. blessing to all and prayers sent.