I’m on my way home, well not exactly home. I have to go check on Pearl and Grace and walk Pearl the dog first. I’m not there yet, but I almost am.
Grace got better. Her son, Tim, said he knew she would if he threatened to take her to the hospital in Pierre. Doc Brown said she has to go on a diet now and lose at least ten pounds. The preacher’s wife told her about a weird kind of diet that makes the fat fall right off. I think I know why, too. The stuff she eats smells up the whole upstairs. If it seeps into the store below, they won’t like it. It takes your appetite right away.
“I’m here Pearl…are you?”
“Yes I’m here. Pearl the dog has been very anxious to get out. She probably want’s to get away from all that cabbage Grace is cooking for her diet. We only have to smell it. Grace has to eat it. You know…she has inspired me. Her commitment to her health has me thinking of getting rid of my worst vice.”
“What’s that Pearl..gossiping?”
“I do not gossip, Essie. I only tell things to those who can keep a secret. I’ve decided to quit smoking. That is a huge step for me!”
“But Pearl, you only smoke air cigarettes. How is it going to help you to quit sucking and blowing plain old air?”
I thought that was a good question and I guess Pearl did too, because she had to think awhile before she answered me.’
“It’s all about self-discipline, Essie. I use my air cigarette smoking as a coping mechanism…a crutch, so to speak.”
Pearl barely got the words out of her mouth before she started blowing air. I didn’t say anything, but she could probably see my eyebrows go up.
“I’m going to start tomorrow. It’s unheard of to start breaking a bad habit in the middle of the day.”
Peal the dog and I went for a long walk. When we got back, she did not want to go back up the stairs to Pearl’s rooms. When I finally got her inside, I felt sorry for her. I wonder how long it will take Grace to lose ten pounds.
Three days later:
“Hi Pearl, I’m here…are you?”
“Of course I’m here where else would I be? Pearl the dog is lying by the back door. She’s been there all day. Are you late? It feels like you’re late!”
when I went into the living room and saw Pearl, I didn’t know what to think. She was still in her bathrobe and she was chewing a big wad of gum. She must have had two packs of empty gum wrappers in the ashtray next to her.
Before Pearl the dog and I could get out of there, Grace knocked on the door to Pearl’s kitchen. When Pearl yelled at her to come in, she did. I didn’t even have to ask what was in the pot she was carrying. By this time, I was very familiar with the odor of cabbage soup.
Grace looked at me, and said, “Will you please tell Pearl that I brought her some cabbage soup? I can’t eat another bite of it. Do you hear me? Not one more BITE!”
Pearl looked at me and said, “Would you please tell Grace that I’ll starve to death before I’ll take a bite of it. Do you hear me? Not one BITE!”
I think they must have waited all day for me to get there so they could yell at each other. I could feel a lot of pent-up feelings floating around in the air right along with the smell of cabbage soup.
“On second thought,” Pearl said. “Put that poison in the ice box. I’ve gained six pounds in three days.”
Grace put the soup in the refrigerator and then, fell into a chair.
“I’m so weak, I could hardly brush my dentures this morning,” Grace said as she reached for a stick of gum.
I could feel my ‘Power of Splendiferous’ come over me. “You are both mean and you look bad,” I said. “Pearl and I are going for a walk and when we get back, I want to see some serious air smoking going on, and Grace, go fix yourself a minced ham sandwich.”
“She’s right,” Pearl said. “Who wants to live forever anyway?”