I was sitting in bed with one leg elevated, feeling immensely sorry for myself, when the phone rang.
“What happened to you?” Edna asked breathlessly.
“Oh, I’m okay,” I said softly with only a hint of sedation.
“I heard you took a tumble yesterday.”
“Actually, I took a twist. My foot just landed sideways when I stepped from the curb.”
“I’ll be right over,” she replied and hung up the phone hurriedly.
Not long afterward, Edna showed up at my bedside with her famed chicken soup. She claims the smell alone has recuperative powers.
“How did you make a pot of soup so quickly? I asked, knowing that hers was an old family recipe that calls for sixteen ingredients, half of which you never have on hand.
“You don’t have to start with a live chicken anymore,” she laughed. “Besides, I keep a batch or two in the freezer in case Harry comes down with the flu,” she said, as she began arranging the clutter on my night table.
“Now that you’re laid up for a few days, what are you doing to occupy your mind?” she asked.
“So far, I’ve balanced my check book, picked the fuzz balls off all my sweaters; and renewed correspondence with people who haven’t heard from me in twenty years.”
“Would you like for me to read you today’s newspaper?” she asked.
Edna ignored my request. “What about a glass of water?” she said, as she began fluffing my pillow.
“That would result in my having to get out of bed and go to the bathroom and that’s an adventure.”
Frustrated by my resistance, she assumed the medical air that friends reserve for such occasions. “Let Edna take a look at that ankle,” she said sweetly, placing her glasses on the end of her nose.
“Oh, come on, you’re beginning to remind me of Nurse Jane.”
“Was that the mean, old gal in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?” she said defensively.
“No, that was Nurse Ratched—a different species. Don’t you remember Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy, the muskrat lady, who was the housekeeper for Uncle Wiggly Longears?”
“Oh, yes, I always thought that was a weird relationship, him being an elderly rabbit and her a live-in muskrat. And, that Sammie and Susie Littletail seemed to be of uncertain parentage. But, we didn’t pick on those characters back then the way we do the Teletubbies today.”
“Edna, do you want to look at this foot, or not?” I chided impatiently.
As she leaned over the bed with the bewildered look of a first-year med student, I grimaced, “Be gentle, don’t touch anything that’s tecnicolored.”
Edna lifted the ice pack revealing my bruised and swollen foot. “Wow! You’ve got enough color here to be a model in a tattoo parlor.” Tracing her finger along one of the bruised areas, she said, “How cute! This looks like a little butterfly and in a few days this area on the top of your foot could be a lovely orchid blossom.”
“Very funny, Edna, “I have no desire to be the Foot Goddess of the Month for Miami Ink.”
The Sheet Sale
“I just want you to keep your injury in perspective. In any listing of bad things that can happen to you, this has got to be at the foot of the list, so to speak.”
“That’s easy for you to say, standing there on your two perfectly good feet, thinking about the once-a-year linen sale at Macy’s tomorrow.”
“Well, I was planning to go to the sale, but if it makes you feel any better, I’ll just skip it in deference to your condition.”
“Now you’re just trying to make me feel worse. I insist that you go to the sale.”
“No, no, I not going,” she said adamantly. “I’m just about out of sheets and towels, but I’ll just wait for the spring sales . . . they’re almost as good . . . I’ll get by,” she trailed off.
When I didn’t reply, she paused for a moment. I held my breath. When Edna takes time to think, she always comes up with a dumb idea. Sure enough, it happened.
“I’ve got it!” she said excitedly. “There’s a way we can both go.”
“Well, you remember when Harry broke his leg a few years back? The wheelchair he used is still in the basement. I could dust it off and . . . .”
“I don’t like this idea already,” I interrupted. “I’m not going to be pushed around the mall in a wheelchair.”
“Why not? It’s better than lying her in the bed gazing at your foot. We could prop your leg straight out and it would be a great ramrod for getting through the crowd.”
“Ouch! That hurts just thinking about it.”
Two bowls of soup later, I gave in. The only way Edna would go to the annual linen sale was for me to go with her—on wheels.
“Handicapped. You know those spaces near the door that you’ve been passing up all these years? Now it’s your turn to park there.”
“But I’m just temporarily injured,” I protested.
“No matter. This is going to work just fine.
As it happened, the disabled permit holders were out in force the next day, so we had to park at the far end of the lot. Harry came along to unfold the wheelchair and hoist me aboard. The icy patches underfoot only added to the drama. I was glad to be on wheels and Edna was glad to be clutching the chair handles as a “walker.”
By the time we got to the store, they were all out of white sheets and she had to get some gosh awful yellow ones that were 60% off. Upon our return to the park lot, the sun was shining and the ice was beginning to melt. Best of all, my foot was no longer throbbing.
“Getting out was good for me,” I said. “My foot feels much better.”
“It was the chicken soup,” Edna beamed.
Harry piped up with a twinkle in his eye, saying he felt a touch of flu coming on.
“Do you, sweet cakes?” Edna cooed affectionately. “When we get home, Momma will thaw a bowl of that yummy chicken soup and you’ll be better in no time.”
“Go for it, Harry,” I said. “She’s already cured one person this week and you could be the next.”
by Jean Carnahan