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Paddle Your Own Canoe
Chapter 20

As a rule Dee lived quietly enjoying simple pleasures. Over the years she had disciplined her mind to look away from the harsh, the ugly, the miserable.  This was only the way she could cope with the realities of her daughter's disability.  In the beginning years she had done mortal battle with dark, deep, black depression.

Her Christian faith was the only thing to sustain and hold her away from some of the things others in her like situation did.  Always, there was an oasis in the study of the scriptures. It was partially a love for history and partly an interest in law stemming from working in a lawyer's office for a while when she was very young. And, of course, the love for associating with people with the same goals.

Time, health, and her daughter's more frailties did not allow her to indulge in spiritual food as she once did.  However,  there were times when realities settled down on her as to her daughter's condition and this was when she would   reach out again for Bible study. The strength of her daughter's spirit she appreciated. But, there were times when grief   could  roll over Dee as complete and sudden as waves in the ocean.  When she had to watch the struggle of her daughter having to work so hard  to do the most simple tasks was the time for this immense sadness to grip her.

When this claimed her there was no breaking through to the top like after  a deep dive in order to gasp deep breaths of life giving air. She learned over the years it was a wrong thing to cry on the shoulder of a friend.  Mostly, because they were not closely involved they did not understand.  And, it could even put too much of a weight on them, depending on how mentally strong they were.

Her old friends of her faith always welcomed her back with warm sincere friendship.  She was the kind of person who appreciated her privacy and they always respected that, but when she was with a group it was as if her old friends  picked up just where they had left off.

On this particular evening as she was leaving a woman stopped her. Dee did not know her and had never met her.  Once years ago a chemistry teacher spoke of a reaction one could have for a person in that they were immediately disliked.  He said he felt it was a chemical reaction with body chemistry.

“My name is Lana. I was born May 21, 1942. I am from Brazil. I lived in Texas, but I have lived here for eighteen years.”

The quick summary of the woman's life was summed up in short sentences which were all run together. Dee could do nothing more than smile. “Oh?  Well.”

Again the woman said, “My name is Lana. I was born May 21, 1942. I am from Brazil. I lived in Texas, but I have lived here for eighteen years.”

This time Dee had a moment to think.  “Oh?  Brazil?  Well.”

“My name is Lana. I was born May 21, 1942. I am from Brazil. I lived in Texas, but I have lived here for eighteen years.”  After this last repetitive statement the woman walked up to Dee, put her arms around her, and gave her a hug.”

By this time Dee was sidling closer and closer to the exit.  “How nice! So nice to meet you! Getting late.  Must run.  Bye bye.”  Like a shot she was out of the building and into the parking lot.  On the drive home she kept running her hands through her hair as if she was feeling something crawling on her scalp.

The moment she arrived home Dee said nothing to Sam but was instantly in the shower.  She was thinking about how she had done the same thing on occasion when she was working as a beautician. Dee lathered down her hair with a tea tree oil shampoo with a vengeance. Upon leaving the shower she doused her hair with a hot oil treatment and more tea tree oil and wrapped her hair in a turban.

Sam was altogether long suffering but finally had to make mention of her hair in the turban.  “I haven't seen you do this in  forty years.”

“You remember when I styled hair?”  Dee never thought he had noticed.

“Well, pretty hard not to notice that particular fragrance?”

“Hmmm.  You never mentioned that you noticed when I did this then.”  Dee ducked her head and smiled.

“Oh well!  Young love, and all. You know.”  Sam smiled as well.

To explain her actions Dee said, “There was this weird woman at the Bible study.  I have never seen her before. She kept repeating the same thing over and over and then she hugged me.  I do not know her.”

Dee went on with her explanation.  “Do you remember our Chemistry teacher?  Remember what he said about chemical reactions between people.”

“No Dee, I must tell you. I do not remember that.”

Dee laughed out loud. “What?  You don't remember a chemistry class forty years ago?  Oh my!”

“And so?”  Sam was interested only mildly but was a bit curious by now.

“Oh, I don't know.  I just felt creepy, crawly,  like when I worked on someone's hair who wasn't just too clean.  Rarely did this ever happen, but occasionally....when I was in beauty school it did.”

I think it was psychological because my mind was going back to  wondering what it was to make me feel so silly about someone I didn't even know, in the house of God yet.  Too, I was remembering professor Perkering and his statement about body chemistry.  It was all so weird with her repeating facts over and over of the same things. Dee waited for Sam to respond but whatever his thoughts were he said nothing.

“You know, Sam?”


“I can tell you I'm no longer depressed.  In fact I'm so distracted it is almost  sinful.  And, all from going to a Bible study. I'm telling you.  I'm easily entertained.”  And at that last statement they both had a laugh together.

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