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Reflections

Selected Writings & Artwork by Harriett Copeland Lillard

Diary 1978-1981 The Big

Diary 1978-1981 The Big Blues February 1981 I am not a gracious sick person. I look, feel, and act awful, and I’ve done just that for the last two weeks – can’t seem to get over this damned flu! When depressed physically, I become depressed mentally, so I have been sorely smitten from all sides by 'The Big Blues'. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA For father to be sick is a disaster; for mother to be sick is an inconvenience, to be tolerated, barely. The amount of sympathy you receive is in direct proportion to your obligation to the person who wants something from you at that very moment. If they need something, believe me, you’re not sick. Later on, in some quiet hour when all their needs have been met, they might, might, pat your hand and say, “Gee Mom, sorry you feel bad.” Thoughts, raging thoughts, raced through my head in an unmotherly fashion when one of my little Princesses demanded haughtily this morning, “Well, you are going to do my braids, aren’t you?” Another, this time the Prince, “What? Scrambled eggs again? We had these last night, YUCK!” I wanted to shriek that the reason they were having scrambled eggs again was that their father couldn’t and/or wouldn’t cook anything else last night, and furthermore, was too tight to take them out to eat. Later in the day after school while I am in the midst of a feverish sleep, the Prince again re-enters, “Mom! Mom! I’ve got to have my track shoes today – this is the last day! Everybody has theirs! Tomorrow he’s going to assign places on the relay team.” Slowly, arduously, my befogged brain begins the crawl back through sleep, aspirin, amoxicillin capsules, Sinutab, and whatever else I’ve taken to relieve this fulminating volcano in my head – crawling back to the edge of consciousness and to the realization that here indeed was a real problem. While mentally cursing the coach, my mind began an instantaneous word association game - track shoes (those are the kind with “needles” on the bottom!) = sporting goods store; sporting goods store = Wichita Falls; Wichita Falls = 60 miles away; 60 miles away = 1 hour; 1 hour = time now 4 pm; time now 4 pm = IMPOSSIBLE! I was wide awake by now although still horizontal, pretending to be only semi-conscious so I could put off facing the impossible. I thought, “My God! Track season only started two days ago, and they already had to have all their equipment?” I had mental pictures of a mass evacuation yesterday afternoon of all 7th grade mothers and their screaming brats to Wichita Falls, Fort Worth, and all points north, south, east, and west, racing to find just that perfect pair of track shoes – the ones with two extra sets of spikes and a special screwdriver to put them in with. And here I had been sick in bed! 61

Diary 1978-1981 Woe is me! A failed mother again! Everybody else’s mother had had the decency and foresight to buy their track shoes weeks ago. Suddenly I thought of Chester – the one boy in Jason’s class whose parents were not upwardly mobile, whose mother’s car was in worse shape than mine, but Chester could run like hell, “Jace, where did Chester get his shoes?” A pause…. then, “But I want the kind with two sets of spikes and the little screwdriver to change’m and they have to be Nikes or they’re rippy…just plain RIPPY!” Knowing that I had won, that Chester had indeed bought them in Jacksboro, I closed in for the kill, “Where did Chester buy his?”, I said in my not-to-be-trifled-with voice. “At B&H. But I don’t want those kind. I want Nikes!” “Jason, I am sick in bed. Even if I were well, we couldn’t make it to Wichita Falls today. Here is a signed blank check. Go to B&H, buy the shoes, and SHUT UP!” ˜ 62