Bowen: Fallin’ apart, one part at a time!

Published 6:23 pm Thursday, September 21, 2017

“Well,” I said to the amazin’ blonde the minute I walked in the door, “this could be it.”

“What do you mean ‘it’?” she said.

“You know, ‘it,’” I said, “’it’ as in the all she wrote, the last train at midnight, see-ya-later, good-knowin’-ya, hasta la vista, baby. This really could be it this time.”

The blonde looked at me a little sideways, thinking — I could tell — that the true “it” was that I was losing it, which you and I know is very far from the truth.

But she indulged me just the same, and said, “All right, Stevie Wonder, tell me what happened this time,” kind of the way you’d say, “Do I really have to hear this?”

You understand.

“Oh,” I said, enthusiastically, ignoring her aloofness, “you know I went to the Oklahoma City Fair with Ron, Valinda and Faye. Well, it didn’t turn out good. Faye — and you know she’ll be 91 on the 22nd — got around a little better than I did overall. That, by itself, was a bit of a discouragement.”

“Well, she is in good shape for ninety-one,” Marilyn said.

“Oh, thanks,” I said, employing a little sarcasm of my own, “but it wasn’t just that. One of the first booths we came to was a hearin’ doctor from the city. His sweet little assistant grabbed me as soon as I walked by.”

I noticed that little detail brought a roll of the eyes from the amazin’ blonde.

“… and she and the doctor,” I continued undeterred, “did a hearing test on me. Sure enough, I have trouble hearing certain consonant sounds at the beginning of words from a woman’s voice …”

I paused and pretended to think:

“Well,” I said, “that might not be so bad, depending on what consonant sounds you’re talkin’ about and what vowels somebody like you might scatter in there with ‘em.”,

She shook her head, and said, “Ugh!” and I said, “Sorry, I didn’t get that. You’ll have to repeat it over in this ear, with much more emphasis on the consonant sounds, please.”

“Just tell your story,” she said.

“So I go down to another booth a little further down, and another sweet young lady grabbed me and said, “Sir, do you want a spine test? But I thought she said, ‘You look mighty fine today’ — you know, this trouble I’m havin’ with consonants …”

“Right, right.”

“It didn’t take me long to figure out that she was jus’ tryin’ to butter me up with that ‘lookin’ fine’ comment; and before I knew it, she had me back against a wall, and another lady was wavin’ some kind of a wand down my back. When she was finished, the lady shook her head and said, ‘Let me show you how bad your spine is.’”

“How bad was it?” asked the blonde, with interest.

“Oh, it was plenty bad,” I said. “The muscles in the upper back and the lower back are not engagin’ well at all. It’s a miracle I’m even able to stand up straight. In fact, after I left, I had to have Faye help me through the complex for the rest of the day.”

“Stevie,” she said, “she’s 91!”

“I know, but, still, I’m feelin’ about 91 myself.  I wonder if I laid over here on the couch if you would rub my spine down really good and see if after half an hour or so you can get those muscles to engage?”

“You’re dreamin’,” she said, nicely.

“Oh,” I said, “I always beam when you’re about to rub my back.”

Steven Ray Bowen is a former Granger who lives and writes in Red Oak, Texas.