Grandpa's Pot of Gravy
Grandpa was not a kitchen guy. He was not in there cooking. He was not in there making sandwiches. He was just not that type of person.
My uncle Billy got the flu that was going around. He laid in his bed, sick as could be except for going to the bathroom. Dr. Phipps came out and examined him.
(Dr. Phipps had me convinced that he delivered Jesus because he was so old.)
"It's the flu, for sure, like half the people I am seeing." He sighed, washing his hands in the very bathroom sink that I washed in.
Grandma handed him a towel and waited for the news of what to do.
"Food and drink if he is hungry. Don't force it. If he gets an appetite, keep it light."
Dr. Phipps asked to see all of us while he was already there to avoid traveling the highway after dark. Grandma got him set up in her bedroom.
When it was my turn, I brought my doll with me, because she might be sick, too. We were both told that we had the flu. My poor ragdoll, Neva. I was told that she needed bedrest and I had to make sure that she was in bed by setting a good example. I protested, saying how fine I felt, but Dr. Phipps made me a promise. If I got hot and steamy baths when asked to, ate and drank what was asked of me, the next time he saw me, if I got well, we would draw a picture together. I could barely contain my excitement. I took off my day clothes and set me and Neva down with night clothes. Vicks was rubbed on my chest, and Neva got the Vicks on a cloth.
The next few days were misery and sleep. My poor grandparents with all of their children, and then my coming along, making them grandparents when they were still raising children. Poor them!
I woke up one morning to the smell of warm biscuits and gravy. Coffee was made. It smelled good. I fell back asleep to the smell, so comforting and wonderful. I pulled the heavy quilt back over me and my baby doll and drifted right off.
I woke up to my shoulder being shaken gently. "Wanna plate of biscuits?" Grandpa asked, holding them under my nose and waving them gently around.
"No. I wanna sleep." I said, not wanting food.
"Baby, Doc says you gotta eat something. You little lips are chapped. Your little eyes are sunk. Please eat a little for Grandpa. I even made the gravy you like."
Even Grandpa's gravy? Was I crazy? He made the best brown gravy for biscuits known to man.
I nodded my head and he broke off a piece of biscuit and put it in my mouth.
A glass of juice was brought to him, and in the hallway, I heard someone say "He got her to eat a little!" Apparently, I had been refusing food.
It took a while, but he got all of those 4 biscuits into me. Never pushing, never yelling, just gently loving me to eat. I drank the juice and he carried me to the bathroom and back, keeping my feet from touching the floor.
Every meal after that, Grandpa would bring in a food tray for he and I. He would take a bite, then offer me a bite until it was gone, then carry me to the bathroom. It was a lot of work, I am sure, but he never complained.
When Dr. Phipps came to see all of us a few days later, I was still in bed, too tired to do anything and still miserable.
Dr. Phipps told me that I had to eat, and I had to get better. He said that tomorrow, I was to eat at the table, and go outside and sit on the porch in the swing for a while.
The following day, I did as was asked, and fell asleep outside on the swing. Grandpa called Dr. Phipps and explained that I was not getting any better, in fact, everyone else was better, and now I seemed to be worse. Dr. Phipps told Grandpa that I better be taken to the hospital in case it was something serious.
We got to the hospital and I was put in a wheelchair. I fell asleep in the wheelchair. I was placed on a stretcher when the doctor examined me.
"Strep and Mono" is what came back from the tests. I was put in the hospital for a few days, and Dr. Phipps came to see me.
I don't remember this, but my Aunt said that I flew into hysterics when he entered the room, because I had not gotten well, so we could not draw a picture together.
"I tried, Dr. Phipps, I tried!" Is what I have been told I said over and over again.
By the time I was discharged, I had over 20 drawings by me and that country doctor, now gone on to his reward in heaven.
When the doctors came in to my room to talk to me and my family, they asked me if I knew what made me better, getting ready to tell me about the antibiotics that I still would take at home. I beamed a huge smile and said "Grandpa's Pot of Gravy!"