Sunday, February 26, 2006


(This is another in the random series about my childhood memories.)
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My mother was a wise old owl when it came to checking bowels. I know she meant well, because my chronic childhood constipation caused her endless consternation.

I wake early. She hears the toilet flush. She rushes to my room. "Did you go? Was it Number One or Number Two?" For Number One I stand. For Number Two I sit. You know what I mean. There's time before the school bus comes. She points to the toilet. "Sit down and try," I comply. She's obsessed with "our bowels." Howls of protest never put the dispute to rest.

This was the situation during my years of constipation. Here's how it went. "Did you?" "No, not yet!" "Sit until you do." "I can't." "Do you remember when..." "I was in kindergarten then." "What if it happens again? And I have to come to school and clean up the mess?"

But when "we" made she'd look at the ceiling and with great feeling intone: "Thank you God. We couldn't do it all alone." Then to me: "Let us see what we've done." She'd nod her head and say. "Not enough. Squeeze some more." I tried. Eventually, she was satisfied. She'd wipe my backside with glowing pride. We did good, my son. We're all done. Go! Here comes the bus. God is very proud of us."

Of course this recreation of my mother's war on my constipation went on endlessly. She'd always get her way. Sometimes she'd pray. And I would sit and wait for her to say: "We're all done."

Then I was in my teens. The machines of war were on the scene. My greetings came in the mail. My mother laughed. "Don't worry, son. We'll be be deferred." She claimed chronic constipation required an enema every day. "Laxatives won't do the trick. My son's bowels make us sick."

The draft board heard what she had to say. I received my orders without delay. I joined the Navy and, miraculously, my constipation went away. I told her. This is what she had to say: "God heard me pray and found a way. He unblocked our bowels. Let us pray."


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