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Don’t go in thar, Timber.

April 3, 2012

As I mentioned in my “Sex is out of the question” post, I don’t discuss carnal topics with my parents. Yet Daddy used to bark at Mother’s beehonkus in front of my friends and still praises other women’s physiques.

Now that Daddy has joined the gym Mother already attends, he can both exercise and scan the female patrons.

“How is the gym going, Daddy?” I asked during my last visit home.

“It’s goin’ great. There’s a good-lookin’ woman who comes in thar.”

“Really, who?” (Calhoun is a small town, so I figured I might know the lady to whom he was referring.)

“I don’t know her name.”

“Mother, who is he talking about?”

“I don’t know. Robert, is it the blond woman?”

“Daddy, does she have blond hair?” I probed.

“I didn’t get that far,” he said.

I’m happy Daddy appears to still have a healthy libido. When in fourth grade, I invited a friend from “the city school” over to play. In an attempt to impress her, I suggested we dig through Daddy’s closet. Beneath the mounds of clothing and Vietnam photo albums, we exhumed his copy of The Joy of Sex.

We stared giggling at an illustration of a penis for 30 minutes until Daddy waltzed through the door.

“Hurr. Hurr. Hur-hur-hur,” I snickered. “Daddy, why do you have a book called The Joy of Sex?”

“So I could learn about the joys of sex,” he answered even-keel. The next time I tried to find the book in Daddy’s closet, it had been moved.

I eventually wanted to purchase my own book about the joys of sex. Out of touch and having blossomed late, I realized I had a lot to catch up on when in college. I ordered a comprehensive literary achievement from Amazon.com called The Guide to Getting It On! (The Universe’s Coolest and Most Informative Book About Sex). Since I didn’t have a credit card, I had to charge the book on Mother’s Discover card and pay her back in cash; the Discover card was linked to Daddy’s Amazon account, which was set up to email him with payment and shipping details. When the order confirmation arrived in Daddy’s Inbox, he freaked.

“Good gawd!” he hollered. “Who ordered…the Guide to Gittin’ It On, the Universe’s Kewlest and Most Informative Book About Sex?”

“That was me,” I admitted. “I want to go ahead and read up on this stuff, so I’ll know what I’m doing when I get married one day.”

“Yeah…” he skeptically muttered.

Daddy always has shuddered at any hint of my sexuality. In one of my first memories of toddlerhood, I sat naked on the living room couch playing with myself. Intrigued and oblivious, I yanked on it violently during an episode of Hee-Haw.

“QUIT IT!!!” Daddy screamed when he entered the room, expecting to enjoy a performance by Loretta Lynn. I assumed what I was doing was wrong or bad.

Finally at age 18 I couldn’t stand it anymore. After watching a Mary-Kate and Ashley movie, I stomped to my bedroom determined to masturbate. I would like to think Mary-Kate and/or Ashley had nothing to do with it, and that the film and my decision happened to collide. After realizing what I had been missing, I touched myself every day. At one point I started taking longer baths, and I guess the sound of rhythmically sloshing water alarmed Mother.

“Honey? Are you OKAY?” she knocked on the door.

“Yeah, thanks…” I slurred.

Another afternoon I commenced a session in my desk chair. The wheels rolled loudly back and forth across the hardwood floor. Even though it sounded like a choo choo train, I kept going while Timber passed my room in the hall.

“Don’t go in thar, Timber,” I overheard Daddy warn her.

I came to a screeching halt and learned to exercise more discretion.

Daddy doesn’t want to hear about this aspect of my life – and I care not to imagine that part of his life either. However, I grew up knowing he is madly in love with and fiercely attracted to my mother: something many children cannot say. Daddy’s adoration of Mother’s beehonkus is a memory I always will adore.

They might use me as a world-class example!

April 2, 2012

In my obsessive Googling about mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease, I came across a press release about an ongoing study conducted by the Emory University School of Medicine and Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Researchers have been testing techniques to help people with MCI; this particular study focuses on remembering the location of household objects. I jumped at the researchers’ suggestion that this memory-building strategy might stimulate activity in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that plays a crucial role in the formulation of new memories. The press release listed a phone number for interested participants. I nearly fell out of my chair as I seized the phone.

After a series of preliminary interviews, both via telephone and in person, Daddy was selected for the study. Apparently being left-handed or sporting above-waist tattoos, along with other seemingly arbitrary criteria, disqualifies prospective candidates.

The study comprises five sessions. The first day includes an MRI; the second through fourth days involve actual memory training; and the fifth day wraps up with a final MRI to track any increased brain function.

The researcher I spoke with claimed that many participants have felt more confident after the conclusion of the study. The memory techniques are like exercise, though – Daddy can’t engage in training for a few days, experience benefits and stop practicing to expect long-term results. If Daddy sticks with it, he can greatly enhance the quality of his day-to-day routine. He says he’s willing to do anything to regain some memory.

“They might use me as a world-class example!” he said.

I clearly think the world of Daddy, which means I want him to receive the best medication, therapy, counseling and other resources available. Hopefully the study will help him remember where he put everything except the hot dogs, bologna and chocolate.

You havin’ a BM in thar?

March 28, 2012

I’ve always envied Timber’s and Daddy’s metabolisms. They can inhale exorbitant quantities of food with no physical consequences. Daddy’s stomach admittedly has expanded after his recent inhalation of hot dogs, bologna sandwiches and Snickers bars, but from behind he still looks slim. This past Saturday morning, I stumbled into the kitchen and poured a cup of coffee, hoping it would relieve some of my post-Birthday bloat. In the midst of Daddy’s and my conversation and caffeine sippage, I blurted, “Ooo, I feel like I’m gonna go. Just a minute!”

“That’s what we call a BM!!!” he hollered while I ran to the restroom.

Daddy started using that acronym my sophomore year of high school, when my laxative addiction had peaked. Even though a box of raisins or a peanut buttered rice cake comprised an entire day’s menu, I downed half a box of Correctol every night. My body not only had become immune to the suggested dosage of two pills but also eventually stopped responding every time I increased the amount. Plus, my body didn’t have much to purge in the first place. Every morning around 5:30 I woke up, sprinted to the toilet and sprayed liquid from my butt. Daddy sat in the computer room a couple doors down checking his stocks and could hear everything, from the screeching bifold bathroom door to the sound of a spewing firehose.

“You havin’ a BM in thar?!” he screamed.

“Yeah…” I blushed, by that point collapsed in the floor with cramps.

Daddy brought me a Fleet Enema one evening after he got home from work. “I gotchya an enema today. Here,” he said, dropping the box on the hardwood floor in my room. “That’ll getchya goin’.”

“What?” I asked, looking up from a half-written crappy poem.

“Just follow the instructions,” Daddy said while walking away. “Hello world!”

Once Daddy vanished, I turned over the package and read more about this product I amazingly never had heard of before. It looked like a Barbie bazooka.

“I’m gonna do it now!” I yelled to Daddy, across the hall in the computer room.

“All right!!!”

I closed the door and held the brass knob while removing my bottom half’s garments. I lowered myself against the foot of the bed, rolled onto all fours and pointed my butt skyward, forming a teepee with my body. Feeling around with caution, I finally inserted the enema.

“You get it in thar yet?” Daddy inquired.

“Yeah!” I struggled.

“Good luck holdin’ it in thar!”

“Thanks. Ugh, it already hurts!”

While I wallowed in the floor, my cat Lily pawed open the door; the latch didn’t catch when I thought I had closed it. Butt facing the hallway, I twisted in agony, empty enema rolling around my feet. Lily purred and slid against my shins.

Suddenly I felt like my butt would implode. Lunging through the doorjamb, I whipped my head left and right to assess any family foot traffic.

“Everybody watch out!” I screamed. “I don’t have any pants on!!!”

“Good. Gawd,” Daddy muttered from the computer chair.

“Yer so gross!” Timber shouted from her room.

I took two diagonal leaps to the toilet. The firehose sprayed full-blast before my cheeks even hit the seat.

“Didja go?!” Daddy hollered once the noise had ceased.

“Not really,” I sighed. “Just a little roughage.”

“Well thar ya go!”

As I already have mentioned, Daddy’s long-term memory remains for now. I’ll visit home again Easter weekend. While I’m there I guess I’ll celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and Daddy’s revival of the acronym BM.

The Magic of Hydrogen Peroxide

March 26, 2012
cover of The Magic of Hydrogen Peroxide

I arrived at my parents’ house late on Friday night, and found Daddy in bed and Mother conked out on the couch. By that point I hadn’t showered in a couple days – despite having gone for two jogs, one of them in the rain. Mother’s Westie Obi lay across her torso, while Daddy’s Scottie Winston snoozed in his dog bed, sporting an emasculating pink- and brown-spotted diaper – Mother’s latest attempt to potty train him. The effort proved useless. When I sauntered to my childhood bedroom around midnight, I pulled back the purple comforter and discovered a huge wet circle saturating the sheets and mattress. The diaper doesn’t even cover Winston’s penis. With his wang hanging out, he had sprinted down the hall and peed on my bed. Not that it mattered. Urine only would have enhanced my array of bodily fragrances. I’m glad I helped Mother discover that she needs to purchase diapers in a larger size. I do what I can.

Before Mother and I stumbled to our respective rooms (clearly I slept in Timber’s bed that night), we engaged in incoherent conversation. At one point I curled up with her on the sofa and wept about how much Alzheimer’s sucks. In the midst of my diatribe, she pulled out The Magic of Hydrogen Peroxide, a low quality produced book by Emily Thacker. Hot pink Post-It notes protruded from the pages she had saved.

“Why do you have that?” I asked, rubbing my eyes.

“Because I wanted it. I ordered it.”

“That is the crappiest-looking book.”

“‘Rid yourself of unsightly yellow nail fungus by soaking fingernails or toenails in a pan of water and hydrogen peroxide,'” she read aloud. “I might do that before toenail-painting season starts!!!”

“It’s not fucking fair,” I wallowed in self-pity.

“‘Clean between toes to rid feet of athlete’s foot by blotting with a cottonball or soft cloth doused in hydrogen peroxide. Allow toes and feet to air dry completely before putting on shoes or socks.'”

“Wow. It’s like the author assumes you’re retarded. Do you want to see a picture of my wedding dress?” I opened my laptop and showed her images of the shift at varying angles and on different models, turning the screen like a steering wheel.

“Now that’s pretty,” she trailed off, flipping pages. “Ooo, you’ll like this one. ‘Rid the kitty litter box of that lingering smell by cleaning with hydrogen peroxide. Empty litter from box and spray bottom with hydrogen peroxide. Rinse out with garden hose and wipe clean. Be sure and clean your cat’s litter scoop by soaking in hydrogen peroxide as well!!!'”

“We need to send our Save the Date postcards soon.”

“Uh-huh. ‘Blotches left on the skin from self-tanning solution can be easily and quickly evened out and removed. Dip a cotton ball in hydrogen peroxide and wipe on the over-colored area. Leave on for 15-20 seconds and wipe clean with a second ball or tissue.'”

“I wasn’t aware of hydrogen peroxide’s multitudinous uses.”

“You’re making fun of me.”

Emily Thacker’s book makes it sound like hydrogen peroxide can alleviate many ailments. But until Daddy can douse his brain in a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide and be cured, I won’t call it magic. At least it will help me get ready for toenail-painting season.

Can I ride a scooter?

March 23, 2012
Daddy rides his new scooter. (August 10, 2008)
Daddy rides his new scooter. (August 10, 2008)

Mother recently broke the news of Daddy’s MRI results to me. She waited until yesterday so as not to soil my Birthday. The damage to the frontal lobe of Daddy’s brain is consistent with the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The doctor finally prescribed him two medications, Aricept and Namenda, which should slow the condition’s progression. Several people have assured me that their loved ones who have taken those drugs remained stable for years.

Daddy stopped driving around Christmas, when he apparently almost plowed through a Stop sign and thought he might have struck some pedestrians. Timber took him out to retrace his steps, making sure he didn’t kill anyone. In addition to experiencing a decline in judgment, Daddy now feels lost in familiar surroundings. He wouldn’t be able to find his destination even if he could drive. Almost ironically, Daddy enjoys riding around – a symptom typical of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Perhaps he finds the pastures along Highway 53 relaxing, or enjoys coasting past the cows that dot the grasses of Cash Road.

At Daddy’s appointment the doctor emphasized the urgency of taking away the car keys, which Mother clearly has done.

“Can I ride a scooter?” Daddy suggested.

“No,” Mother laughed, at least when she recounted the story to me.

Daddy sports his Georgia Tech helmet.
Daddy sports his Georgia Tech helmet.

Daddy’s question summoned memories of the bright yellow scooter he purchased in summer 2008, when he still worked close to home at the Mohawk campus in Calhoun. In an effort to save on exorbitant gas prices and lessen his carbon footprint, Daddy zoomed through the backroads to his office on Highway 41. In support of his good friend Billy Kidd’s alma mater, Daddy sported a Georgia Tech helmet. Daddy became known throughout town for his scooter, particularly since Calhoun’s infrastructure doesn’t support public transportation, or encourage biking or walking.

Soon after Daddy’s exciting purchase, Mohawk transferred him to its plant in Lyerly, Georgia. He faced an hour commute one-way. He sold the scooter, worked 12-hour days and became too exhausted to walk the Hill of Life. Sometimes I wonder if the stress Daddy encountered at the end of his career contributed to his development of mild cognitive impairment.

I’m heading to Calhoun tonight to celebrate Mother’s Birthday. I plan to ask her if she has stored Timber’s and my Fraggle Rock and Cabbage Patch Kids Big Wheels somewhere. Maybe she’ll let Daddy and me ride them to the end of the driveway and back.

Sex is out of the question. O-U-T, out!!!

March 22, 2012

I thought my parents wouldn’t be happy about my cohabitation with Ryan prior to marriage. Getting engaged before moving in together probably helped appease them; plus, the whole memory loss situation exploded the weekend I became betrothed. I don’t know how they would’ve reacted under normal circumstances, and I don’t want to guess. Sex never has topped our nuclear family’s list of conversation topics. Mother and I like to keep it light with gossip about my gross imprisoned cousins, new Southern Living recipes and clothes. I dreaded Mother’s discovering that I am sexually impure until it had to come out a couple years ago.

“Well I know you have…urges,” she sighed.

That went way better than I thought…

Mother hails from a different era and stays true to her Methodist ideals. Once I asked my parents if they had sex before marriage.

“I tried to get her to have sex with me, but she wouldn’t do it,” Daddy said.

Now I wonder what my grandfather meant when he responded to Daddy’s request for Mother’s hand in marriage.

“I know you’ve been rushing her,” Granddaddy noted.

I attended a Southern Baptist church for 18 years, so my sexuality blossomed later than my peers. This became particularly apparent my senior year of high school, when a duo of rancid freshmen started harassing me every day during lunch. (Because of a combination of depression, laxative abuse and general misanthropy, I had lost all my friends by that time.)

To round out my more difficult AP courses, I signed up for a freshman PE class. One day all the fourth block PE teachers took their classes on a “field trip” to the bowling alley about a quarter-mile up the hill that went past the Board of Education trailers. Once herded inside, we could bowl with whomever we wanted. I sat down in a random empty lane and began to tie the laces on my rental shoes when two pairs of pimp-white Adidas sneakers scooted into the bench across from me.

“I really like your shirt,” a male voice said. With my torso folded over my thighs, I looked up to find my aforementioned foes, who I was bummed to discover also had a fourth block PE class. I believed they had matured overnight and truly were complimenting my sheer bell-sleeve top with red and orange swirls in the center and turquoise floral designs on the sleeves.

“Thanks!” I nodded, returning my gaze to my shoelaces, stopping midway to realize they could see down my shirt—and bra. “Ugh,” I mumbled.

“You know what my friend told me the other day?” one of them asked.

Wutt,” I spit.

“You gave him head the other night.”

“Phuffh,” I stomped away, flopping down with the special education group on the other side of the building.

The incident made me so mad that I brought it up to Mother and Daddy that night.

“There are these jerks at school who have been torturing me. Today, all the PE classes went bowling, and they were there. They’re the nastiest skanks.”

“Well we don’t want any skanks messin’ around hurr,” Daddy commented.

“Anyway…when I was tying my bowling shoes, they were looking down my shirt, and then the really ugly one said, ‘Bobbin, I heard you gave my friend head,’ or something like that. Isn’t that rude?”

“You shoulda told that skank that if you had given him head, it woulda been the best damn head he woulda ever gotten,” Daddy remarked.

“What’s head?” Mother asked.

“A blow job,” Daddy explained.

My mouth fell to the floor in shock, as Daddy and I never discussed anything of a remotely sexual nature. Plus, I hadn’t touched let alone seen a penis before. Daddy probably knew I was a prude at the time, but became more serious about the preservation of my purity when I decided to take a road trip to Maine with my college boyfriend Buckley*. Before our departure, Daddy called a family meeting including Buckley in the living room.

“Now you listen to me,” Daddy leaned toward Buckley, eyes firing like Vietnam. Buckley cowered, hiding in the floral pattern of the upholstered rocker. “You will NOT. Have SEX. With my DAUGHTER.”

“N-no sir!” Buckley nodded.

“Look at me, son,” Daddy continued, leaning toward him more. “Sex is out of the question.”

“I know, sir. We don’t do that…”

“OUT of the QUESTION. O-U-T, out!!!” Daddy waved, spelling each letter with his hand.

“Yessir,” Buckley slurred.

Time progressed, along with my parents’ acceptance of my urges, I guess. A prayer altar sits at the foot of their bed. I wonder what Daddy prays about. At one point I would say he knelt and fretted over my morality and righteousness. But now Daddy has more important things to discuss with God.

*Name has been changed.

Did I tell you I got a note in the mail from Pudge?

March 20, 2012

My parents spent a recent weekend in Hartwell, Georgia – Daddy’s hometown. His childhood next-door neighbor Carolyn (whose playhouse he used to tinkle on) arranged a group dinner with a bunch of their high school classmates. Amazingly, Daddy’s relationship to Carolyn evolved from antagonistic urinator to honorary brother. Perhaps even more amazingly, Daddy and many of his high school classmates remain close friends. The supper party convened at a Greek restaurant, but despite the menu’s Mediterranean selection, a couple of Daddy’s male buddies ordered hamburger steak. Because of peer pressure, a recent increase in beef consumption or both, Daddy decided he, too, wanted a hamburger steak. But after Mother requested a Greek salad, he became confused and ordered a salad as well.

However, when the waiter delivered the hamburger steaks, Daddy insisted one of them belonged to him.

“No, you ordered a salad,” Mother reminded him.

“Oh.”

With Daddy’s excessive inhalation of hot dogs, bologna and chocolate, a salad served him well.

At another point during the trip, Mother and Daddy stopped by Bailes Cobb, a family-owned clothing store. Daddy’s old friend “Pudge” works there but was off that day, much to his disappointment. Throughout the remainder of the excursion and all the way home, Daddy continued lamenting not seeing Pudge. A couple days later Daddy received a card in the mail from Pudge, expressing her disappointment over missing him at Bailes Cobb and high hopes for his health.

“Did I tell you I got a note in the mail from Pudge?” he asked Mother the next day.

“Yes Robert.” He made the same inquiry throughout the next couple evenings.

“Did I tell you I got a note in the mail from Pudge?” he asked me last night.

“Yes, that’s really exciting.” (He had informed me several times.) “Why is her nickname Pudge? Is she fat or something?”

“She’s not fat at all. She’s a good-lookin’ woman. I think it has something to do with her nose,” he recalled.

“What’s her real name?”

“Beats me. Her last name used to be Seawright.”

Daddy’s long-term memory remains in-tact. For the record, he never knew her first name. To the Hart County High School class of ’65, she always has been and will be Pudge.

The Hill of Life

March 16, 2012

My parents’ counselor keeps stressing the importance of exercise. Medical resources cite physical activity as a means to manage mild cognitive impairment and even prevent its development in the first place. Before Daddy’s job became so demanding, he arose every morning at 5 to walk. Despite the farmland that rolls out flatly like a map around my parents’ house, a road that nearly intersects with their driveway begins with a butt-busting hill (hence the name Erwin Hill Church Road). Five mornings a week, Daddy scaled and descended it for 30 minutes with his friend Jimmy Fox. He called it the Hill of Life.

Daddy faithfully hiked the Hill the Life no matter the weather. One morning I got up early for some reason and was banging around the kitchen when Daddy returned from his a.m. expedition.

“Your butt looks good, Daddy,” I said. (Because Daddy always compliments Mother’s beehonkus, I went through a phase of praising Daddy’s as well, to be fair.)

“I know, women are always starin’ at it,” Daddy answered.

“It’s so small!”

“It got even smaller after I had that cyst removed.”

“What cyst?!?!”

“Back when I was at North Georgia my cheek started leakin’, and I found out I had a cyst to the side of my tailbone. I stayed in the hospital for three days. That’s why half my ass is gone.”

Daddy mooned me and revealed a huge indention in his butt. The image is firmly branded in my brain. He apparently had no problem taking his track pants off.

“THE HILL OF LIFE!!!” he hollered another winter morning, pumped up from the early adrenaline rush.

“I can’t believe you walked this morning,” I shook my head. “It’s freezing out there.”

“I was so bundled up I barely could tell,” Daddy said. “I thought to myself, ‘I wonder if it’s cold out here.’ So I pulled my pants down and said to myself, ‘Yep, it’s cold out here.'”

Only now as I type this, I wonder if Jimmy Fox witnessed this. Either way, I can attest with confidence that Daddy has a good-looking beehonkus.

Hola. Buenos días. ¿Cómo está usted?

March 15, 2012

At one point Mother considered hiding the phone from Daddy. Before the diagnosis Daddy called his financial advisor, Social Security, and his secretary over and over without realizing it. He apparently left the doctor six voicemails, too, fueled not by harassment but purely not remembering the five preceding messages.

Taking the phone away from Daddy would have broken my heart, not only because it signifies the seriousness of his condition but also because his humorous phone salutations have entertained me since childhood. Most often he answers with “Hola. Buenos días. ¿Cómo está usted?” in a heavy Southern accent.

Because Daddy worked in the carpet industry and so many Hispanics joined his staff, learning Spanish became critical. In order to better communicate with those employees, Daddy took Spanish classes provided by the company. However, Daddy talked some of his Hispanic employees into completing his homework and didn’t retain many phrases past the basics.

Per his field of carpet, learning “earplug” ranked high on the list of daily terminology. Daddy educated us on this topic after Timber’s undergraduate commencement ceremony at a Mexican restaurant surrounded by her closest friends.

“You gotta be real careful how you say ‘earplug’ in Spanish. It’s ‘tapón,’ which sounds a lot like ‘tampon.’ So when you’re tellin’ people to put in their tapóns, watch out.”

A Hispanic waiter emerged to take his drink order.

“Hola,” Daddy said, chip crumbs falling from his lips.

Daddy’s rich Spanish education explains his most frequent phone salutation. “Hola. Buenos días. ¿Cómo está usted?” he asks. Usually the person on the other end remains silent. “HOLA. BUENOS DÍAS. ¿¿¿CÓMO ESTÁ USTED???” he repeats with furrowed brows. The caller, we assume a telemarketer, often hangs up, and I wallow guffawing on the floor. (After all, the people who really know Daddy would respond with “Hey Robert…”)

Daddy inspired Timber and me to record unique voicemail messages on the phone in our shared college dorm room. In my favorite one, we played “Meltdown” from the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack in the background, violent violin strums providing the perfect backdrop.

“Hi, you have reached Hell,” Timber announces. *Then I scream loudly.* “Please leave a message,” she continues.

Daddy hated that voicemail greeting and would leave us this message until we changed it: “This is Heaven. CALL HEAVEN.”

Soon after Timber graduated, she modeled in a runway show for a friend who opened a lingerie store in Dalton, Georgia. The show took place at a bar, so Timber naturally donned a camouflage sequined bra and panty set. Somehow Daddy found out about it and left this voicemail on her cellphone: “Victoria’s Secret called. They said to go get yoself an education.” (I guess he wanted Timber to go to graduate school, which she has done…twice.)

The last time I visited home, the telephone rang and Daddy answered, “Hola. Buenos días. ¿Cómo está usted?”

The caller could never fathom how happy I felt to hear that.

I’m going to get arrested.

March 14, 2012

Paranoia understandably often accompanies cognitive impairment. And because Daddy already has an obsessive compulsive personality, his anxiety further heightens the symptoms of his condition.

Several weeks ago Mother and Daddy stopped by Kroger on the way back from Rome, where many of Daddy’s doctor appointments take place. The cashier set their package of toilet paper in the middle of the spinning bag holder, and in a rush they grabbed all the bags but left the toilet paper.

After driving home to the outskirts of Gordon County, Mother realized the trunk was devoid of Quilted Northern. With a sigh, she made the 9-mile trek back to Kroger and sent Daddy inside to grab the toilet paper. He apparently notified a staff member who told him it was fine to take another pack of toilet paper off the shelf and leave.

“Can we go back to Kroger? I left without saying anything,” Daddy worried in the car.

“But didn’t one of the little guys working there tell you it was fine?” Mother asked.

“Yeah, but someone else probably saw me leave without paying for the toilet paper.”

“They know you in there. And the guy said it was fine.”

“I know, but someone else mighta saw me, and it mighta looked like I didn’t pay. They probably got me on the surveillance camera. Let’s go back and make sure.”

“No! We are NOT going back to Kroger.”

“I’m going to get arrested. There’s video footage.”

Daddy obsessed over getting arrested for the rest of the night.

Life resumed to its now-normal state the next day. In this case, I hope Daddy forgot about going to Kroger.