Whenever I see or hear anything having to do with The Price is Right game show, I have an immediate image in my head. And I mean, every time. Lying on a comfortable old couch, drinking the original flavored Gatorade, and watching The Price is Right with Bob and his beauties.
I was in 3rd grade and attending the city’s private Lutheran elementary school. The school day had just begun with the daily Bible lesson. Since the 3rd grade teacher, Mr. Frese, was well learned in piano, we would also sing a few hymns. We were just about halfway through the second verse of the second hymn (I no longer recall the exact hymn now, gettin’ too old!), and that’s when it happened. I tried, oh how I tried to keep that strawberry pop-tart down. I knew how inappropriate it would be, not to mention how mortified I would be, if I let it go, but there was no stopping my stomach from up-chucking my entire pink breakfast from my stomach, all onto the hymnal I held in my hands. Oh, and it didn’t stop there, oh no, I made a mad dash for the girls’ restroom out of the room and down the hall. I still feel bad that the school’s janitor, Mr. Jenkins, had to clean up my puke in the hallway.
It just so happened that my parents were out of town at some sort of conference or something that day. The closest family, or any close family friends for that matter, were a good eight hours away. We were still fairly new in the city and I’m certain my parents hadn’t given much thought on whom to put down for an emergency contact in case they were not available. I’m not even sure if they provided notice to the individuals entered on the forms.
Somehow, someway, the school got hold of Alice Hegwer. She was an older woman, well, older to me and my eight year old self. She was employed at the church as the Education Director, I believe. Her kids were already grown and moved out of the house. Her husband, I suppose not yet retired, must have been at work that day. Mrs. Hegwer came to the school and brought me back to her home. She set me up on the couch with Gatorade and a few crackers, and tuned the TV to The Price is Right.
Even though I was sick as a dog–I remember how my stomach cramped all day–it still turned out to be a pretty good day. I mean, how can you beat having all you can drink, all you can sleep, and all the TV you could ever want? That woman couldn’t have been a bigger saint that day. I bet she had no idea the fond memories I had of that day with her. Yeah, I still saw her at church and all, but she was totally cool about it, she didn’t bring it up or make mention of it at all. I bet she saw it as simply doing a kind deed, a nice thing. She didn’t have to help out, she didn’t have to risk me blowing chunks in her car or in her home. But she did. And I didn’t blow chunks in her car or home by the way. Bonus.
I suppose what I can garner from this whole experience is that I hope I can exhibit the same selflessness, the same concern and care, when someone happens to call on me for a similar emergency someday. You know, for someone who isn’t my own flesh and blood. I’ll just be sure to cross my fingers that there will be no chunk blowing.