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Paddle Your Own Canoe
Chapter 21


The incident with the woman in church rested on her mind like indigestion.  There was nothing there to make one spiritually sick but just enough of being disagreeable to make one uncomfortable. No question about it.  The woman was unstable.  This wasn't a problem with Dee during these times.  It  was almost a given, as the expression goes.  So many people confessed to needing and having  psychiatric care especially after the twin towers attack.  However,  before that too,  she was personally acquainted from a distance with numbers of folk who were plagued with a very mild mental distress.

The outstanding strength of the people in her tribe too was lost in the generations.  Alcoholism, drug addiction, and many other forms of ill health were visited upon them.  Diabetes, the most difficult of illness, had become a  plague.  Even so much as to having a special day at the clinic  reserved every  week for this malady. The tribe also kept on payroll, full time, a psychologist.

Getting back to the thought of the woman approaching her in particular when there were numbers of other people at the Bible study was what was now bothering Dee.

Why did this woman deliberately go out of her way to walk all the way from the front of the very large room, directly to her in order to become acquainted?  What was involved with the whole scenario?  What would the events to transpire with an old friend do to tie in with this happening at her Bible study?  It was a mystery and Dee was intrigued with questions as to the little towns secrets and schemes.

It was early morning and the phone was ringing.  Dee knew it was family or someone who knew her well enough to know she was up early. Before the activities of the day there was a few minutes to chat.

“Mildred!”   Dee recognized a friend from more than forty years.  “Is everything okay?”

“Oh yeah.”  Mildred  almost   sighed and this told Dee all was not well with her.

Mildred and Dee had been friends at a distance since they were girls. But now, in the last part of their life Dee did not feel comfortable with the friendship.  Still, there was such a thing in her mind as to loyalty.  Dee knew the woman  was essentially good, but like the other woman she had encountered at Bible study the fight through the years had left her friend a shadow of  her  former  self.

So,  Dee politely listened to all the misery the woman related. There were no solutions and no comment was really necessary. Except, the last part of  her conversation which was another layer added to the saga with the woman who kept repeating her name and vital statistics at the Bible study.

“Nate and his new live-in are expecting.”  Mildred giggled.

“Oh no!  Well, is the divorce final between Nate and your daughter?” All at once Dee was interested.

“No!  We haven't even   been to court yet.”  Mildred was like Dee appalled at the loose slipping away from the sane life.

“And, guess what else?”  Mildred was bursting with the need to tell someone.

“Nate's girlfriend has long, beautiful,  naturally,  curly blond hair and she has bugs!”

“Whoa!”  Dee was shocked.  For all the world this was like someone took hold of the legs on her chair and jerked it out from under her.  I mean.  We are not  talking about run of the mill people here. Mildred's husband was rumored to be a millionaire and their son-in-law was hot on his heels in this direction.

“Are you serious?”   Dee was close to being speechless.

“I'm serious.  I sat on the porch swing for two hours working on my granddaughter's hair.”

“Oh my!  Where did they get them?”

“Probably, at church!”  Mildred stated, matter of fact.

“At Church?  Oh no!”  All at once Dee's mind went back to the Bible study.  Was it possible she was not imagining the episode with her scratchy, itchy scalp after the encounter at the Bible study?

She wasn't going to give her friend another something to weigh her down even more,  so she kept quiet.  Dee felt a little dishonest at not being as open and frank with her friend as the woman was with her.  But more than feeling guilty about that she was trying to see the connection here.  Was it just a coincidence this was happening to her within just days apart?  Dee had read that these little parasites were becoming epidemic, but as her Indian ancestors always did she kept sage leaves she grew in the back yard poked down into their shampoo. Evidently, this kept their children free of the menace.  If for some reason sage as she grew it was not available then she made tiny pillows of the sage she bought at the store to poke down into the shampoo bottle.  This was not as potent as hers though so certainly every effort was made to save hers.

After Dee hung up the phone she put her head down on her desk and laughed for a solid five minutes. What else was going to come up? Certainly, kids were subjected to the chance of catching anything at school, but not at church, certainly not, if this was, indeed the case. Did Mildred's granddaughter catch them and give them to the live-in or vise versa, and where did the live-in catch them?  This is why she was laughing.  She felt like she was on a merry go round of questions.

Sam,  now awake,  peeked into where she was.  “What's so funny?”  He wanted to know.

“It is such a beautiful day. I have so many wonderful projects in mind. Things of the earth, my spearmint to gather,  peppermint is ready,  and the catnip is begging to go into mice pillows.  A friend said her cat was literally rolling in the catnip I gave her and growled at her when she tried to shoo him out.”

“Is that what you are laughing about?”  Sam persisted with his question.

"No dear, but at this point in time, I think it is a safer conversation than the one I just had with Mildred.”

Sam wasn't that interested anyway and answered her simply.   “Oh.”


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