Bits & Pieces: “Learning, Laughter, & Life!”

By Beverly Gadson-Birch

Now that Thanksgiving festivities are over, we find ourselves dead smack into Christmas parades, shopping and more shopping. It’s time to leave the blighted past behind and lighten up a bit this week. My head is full of euphemisms from summers spent with grandma Lula. She would say “you pay for your learning.” Comprender? I didn’t quite understand what it meant, but now I do. At least, I think I know after having a roof installed last week on a rental property. Well, roofers know most ladies aren’t going to climb up on a roof to verify the work, so you are pretty much at their mercy. It is sort of like an air conditioning duct installer. How many ladies are going to crawl under a house to check to be sure all new ducts are installed?

This is where “paying for your learning” comes in. I have absolutely no “learning” when it comes to roofing installation, but my son does. I was fortunate to have him home for the holiday. He walked the entire roof, took pictures and pointed out discrepancies. Now, I don’t know who paid for my “learning” but I paid for that boy’s “learning”; so, it was payback time. Because of his “learning” he was able to point out discrepancies and demand the contractor corrects the deficiencies. And, since my “learning” did not include roofing, I would have had to pay more for less than quality work. It really doesn’t matter how much less.  What matters is if I had the “learning,” I could have saved myself time and money. The moral of this euphemism is if you have “learning” you pay less; no learning, you pay more. At least that’s my interpretation!

Moving right along, let’s talk about “getting old.” I am always amazed at the direction of my conversation while in the company of senior folks, especially my siblings. My mind often takes me back to the days of hopscotch, marbles, jump rope and dodgeball. Those were definitely the days of “wine and roses!” We partied, danced and made it home before our curfew. We talked about how mom and dad would sit up until our date left at night and he had better be out the door, hat and all, before 10:00 PM., not to mention the paper thin walls their ears were glued to. Say what  Now to fast forward! Will someone please tell me why all old folks talk about when they get together are medications and ailments. The conversation centers around hips, knees, back and hypertension.

Here is a typical old folk road trip conversation. The names have been changed to protect, not so much the innocence, but my siblings. Granny, sciatica nerve is acting up. Honey, did you bring my pillow? Now, yours truly asks, “did you take something before leaving home?” Now, everyone chimes in with a cure. Did you try apple cider vinegar? What about a shot? Did you get a shot or rub with some weed? I am thinking what ‘da heck. They must be talking about CBD (Cannabis) cream of some sort. Moving right along… Tillie, the front seat “maestro,” who thinks she can sing but we dare not say anything because her husband is the driver and we rather sit back, relax and leave the driving to him, asks “did y’all remember your meds?” After checking our bags, I said, “looks life I left mine.” We were too far to turn around. When you become a senior, your memory comes and goes. Where it goes, nobody knows. While my memory was gone, it must have remembered that I put it in my travel bag and not my purse. I always put my meds in my purse in the event I get separated from my luggage—so what ‘da heck was I thinking? Well, most old folks don’t think clearly anymore. And, therein lies the problem. Thank God my memory returned in time to take my scheduled meds.

Next, front seat Tillie asks Nurse Barb what kind of meds are you on? Thank goodness we generally travel with a family nurse on board. After Tillie yelled out a few meds over Sam and Dave “When Something is Wrong with My Baby,” Nurse Barb responds, “oh, I used to take that, but it didn’t help” while snapping her fingers. Evidently, something helped! By this time, DJ Mack fires off another oldie by Wilson Pickett, “I Found A Love.” The van is rocking by this time. Then, Bargain Granny chimes in, “my doctor helps me out with samples.” I am thinking to myself, there can’t possibly be enough samples for those big hams. We pulled into a gas station while getting down with Wilson Pickett (well not all the way down), and Tillie says, “let’s change the subject.” Everyone agreed, but no one wants to get out because they know it’s going to take a while  Everyone except yours truly; so, if it’s a dry stop and not a restroom stop, guess who gets out for snacks. If it’s a restroom stop, be prepared to subtract one hour from the trip each time. What started out as a 14-hour trip turns into a 17-hour trip. Our road trips are hilarious. I love spending time with my family. It’s an opportunity to discuss current affairs–politics, education, etc.

Finally, there are posts making the rounds on Facebook defining the origin of “Black Friday”. If you were to look up “Black Friday”, there is a “Black” designation for everyday of the week. I wouldn’t get bent out of shape over the designation. If you believe slaves were sold at a discount on that day—hold off until Cyber Monday. Why isn’t that White Monday? Y’all already know!! I know no one “asked me” but I would like to see Black Friday renamed “Green” Friday?  On Black Friday, merchants rake in tons of greenbacks. I think I will petition Congress to make “Black Friday, Green Friday” and Cyber Monday, “White” Monday. Do, I hear a second?

Holidays can be very depressing for some. Let’s brighten someone’s day by lightening up a bit!

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