“I am the single mother of four absolutely beautiful little girls. They are 9, 5, 2, and 6 weeks. And things have been particularly rough since my ex left. My truck had a flat I constantly had to air up. The driver side window motor died. And I needed a new alternator belt. The truck was a mess. And we didn’t drive anywhere unless we had to. Well the other day we desperately needed to go to the store. So we loaded up and drove to the Winn Dixie about 9 blocks away. When we got out of the store it was far after dark. And POURING rain. I loaded my kids and groceries into the truck. Tried to crank it…… Nothing. No click. Nothing. One of my girls had accidentally left a light on. My battery was dead. My phone was also disconnected. I have no family to speak of and was on my own. I got out and opened my hood to be sure my battery hadn’t come loose. Nope. I must have asked more than twenty people in the course of two hours for a jump. They all ignored me. Not even a no. Just acted like i didn’t exist. My 5 Year old was melting down. My newborn SCREAMING, my two year old crying she was hungry, and my oldest desperately trying to help. I was bawling and felt like the worst Mom ever. Then I got a knock on the passenger window. An older gentleman (he was 74) with a cane and a bad limp was on the other side of that knock. I opened the door. He handed me a plate of chicken strips and biscuits from the deli and bottles of water. ‘Feed those babies and yourself young lady. I have a tow truck on the way and my wife will be here shortly to take y’all home. ‘Sure enough she arrived followed by the tow truck. Us and our truck were taken home. The next morning the gentleman returned to my house with a mechanic who replaced my battery and alternator and fixed my window. The elderly gentleman then left and did not return. When I asked what I owed the mechanic and if I could make payments he smiled telling me the older man had paid for all of it. He said that the only payment the older man wanted was for me to never give up and keep being an amazing mom. I’ve never cried so hard in my life. Things had been absolutely awful. More so than I care to explain. And without knowing us or our situation this kind man helped us in ways he will never know. What he did revived my faith when I was falling apart. But he wouldn’t even take a hug. I’ll never be able to thank him. But I certainly hope one day I can do what he did for me for someone else.”
Author Archives: mzsunflower
A baby kangaroo was spotted on the side of the road. When he saw the human, he hopped up and held out his arms to be picked up. His rescuer gave him a Teddy bear to hold onto and then took him to an animal rescue center. Weeks later, the orphaned baby, now named “Doodlebug,” still keeps a tight hold on his bear for comfort.
The fault lies at the feet of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum.
I’ve been living in a fool’s paradise. My entire life, I assumed, my breath was fairly benign. Thanks to face masks, I now know my breath resembles a hot cup of coffee dumped into garbage.
I was on my weekly Whole Foods run when it happened. I slipped on my mask, and before doing so, slipped in a piece of Juicy Fruit. Who still chews Juicy Fruit gum? you might be wondering. Apparently, my parents. The last time we visited, I rummaged through their fridge and cupboards like a teenager. I found one of those small 5 packs and put it in my purse while munching on the last slice of my mom’s deli ham.
I’m not sure you remember, because I think we all stopped chewing Juicy Fruit after the age of eight, but Juicy Fruit is so juicy, it’s ridiculous. It’s almost alarming how much saliva it generates.
And herein lies the problem.
I can’t tell you what I was doing when it happened, but I remember where I was – near the sad, out of season strawberries.
Smacking away like an idiot, my Juicy fruit juice did the unthinkable—it went down the wrong pipe.
I remember reading a tweet at the beginning of lockdown that said, “I used to cough to hide my farts, now I fart to hide my cough.” And I must admit, it nearly came down to this. Sadly, I was way too panicked to strategically fart. Honestly, I think farting on cue as if you’ve been holding it all day for such an occasion is a guy thing. As you all know by now, mine typically take me by surprise.
Juicy fruit juice going down the wrong pipe is serious business. It put me into a full body cough convulsion. These days, one cough in public will make a gentle librarian murder you with eye darts. So what happens to people who let out a cough that sounds like choking, drowning and vomiting all the same time? I wasn’t about to find out.
I sprinted. Like a wild-eyed contestant on Super Market Sweep, I held my precious cough while desperately searching for an empty aisle. Food or drink going down the wrong pipe in public before 2020 was humiliating enough. The scene one makes is truly astounding. The whole room stops while the person coughs and convulses and clears their throat and gasps for air. And it gets worse as the cougher tries to tamp it down. The more they resist, the more they burst. Crying and snotting and coughing making pukey sounds, waving people off, while losing all their eye makeup. It’s horrendous! It’s as if your life is in danger, except you’re totally fine. Your friend pounds your back. If you’re at a restaurant, the woman at the table next to you asks if she should call 911. The server comes running and looks like she might cry because no one trained her for this!!! Choking, yes! Wrong pipe? NO!
Finally, FINALLY, things start to calm down, and as you blow your nose and sip your water and assure everyone you’re fine, there’s an awkward silence because your friends forgot what they were talking about. Then you cough a little bit more for good measure.
“Seriously, I’m good,” you say, straining. “Just gotta, AHEM, get this out, AHEM AHEM GAG GAG COUGH AHEM. Anyway … what were you saying?”
But in 2020, shopping alone, at a grocery store? My wrong pipe fiasco was my worst case scenario. Juicy Fruit spittle might as well have been a huge piece of steak, the way my body was (over)reacting. A woman turned into my aisle, froze, then decided she really didn’t need tea that bad. Then someone else turned in who really did need tea and wouldn’t quit easily. She just stopped and stared at me with mild disgust. But there was nothing I could do! I coughed and yacked in my mask, with my head ducked into the neck of my shirt, like a turtle. More people turned in the aisle, then turned out. And I just kept hacking and hacking and hacking, so loud! So indiscreet! I needed a new aisle, mine was getting too congested and judgmental, so I went searching for others. Part of me wanted to just whip my arm out and clear off shelves as a distraction. Why can’t I fart on purpose LIKE A MAN!?
I eventually made my way into a bathroom where I really let loose. A woman sat in a stall, let’s face it, processing both concern for my well-being and judgement that I dared to be in public in the first place. She never left the stall, just waited me out, until I finally, FINALLY, stopped cough/heave/convulsing.
As I emerged from the bathroom both red faced and now make-up free, I noticed one of the Amazon shoppers eyeing me down.
“The wrong pipe,” I said, coarsely. “I swear, the Juicy Fruit juice went down the wrong pipe.”
“They still make that gum?” she asked.
“They do,” I said with a warning. “It’s delicious, but dangerous.”
She nodded. I cleared my throat. Then someone sneezed. We both froze and looked around.
A man was off to the side of us, perusing the fresh bread, letting off a couple sneezes into his mask. The Amazon shopper and I glanced at each other and rolled our eyes.
Some people can be so rude.