“Courage is not having the strength to go on;
it is going on when you don’t have the strength.”

Theodore Roosevelt

(Vivian Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, wearing her mother’s curtains)

Think Scarlet O’Hara, Julia Sugarbaker and Steel Magnolias all rolled into one.
Who else would think to turn their mother’s prized curtains into
a matter of getting what they need…but a Southerner.

That’s because we in the South understand the significance of
desperate times requiring drastic measures…

For we are a resourceful lot when we need be,
especially during the thick of battle..
We are kudzu and honey all rolled into one..
Barbed wire and sugar spun together…

Because that’s just what we are down here in the South,
tenacious as a bulldog when needed,
soft as a cotton ball when called for….

We are also sweet and charming.
We are cordial.
We are warm.
We are hospitable.
We are not dumb, deplorable or rednecks…contrary to what some would have you believe.
We are educated.
Well educated.
We have great schools, colleges and universities.
People like our weather, well, maybe not in August…
I don’t like our weather in August, or even now, but I digress…

People like our food..think fired this or that, as in chicken and okra.
People like our drinks…think bourbon.
We are mannerly…for if we are not, our grandmothers are obviously not watching.
We believe in morality, decorum and being polite.

But none of that should never lead you to believe that we are
or lazy.

We are a strong kind people.

And I keep finding that I have to continually remind myself of such…

I have seen more of my poor father than any daughter should ever see of her father
and it is enough to last me a life time.
Bless him.
He can’t help it.
And sadly I can’t avoid it.

We got the water balloon dad unclogged today.
Mr nonchalant doctor was his typical rude, arrogant and non southern self during our visit…
He didn’t want to initially believe, let alone admit,
that there was any scar tissue from August’s surgery…
Well guess what…
there was.

No wonder poor dad was becoming a human water balloon,
a toxic human water balloon.
But mr nonchalant doctor assumed it was the tumor growing; the one we had opted not,
against his suggestion, to spend 8 weeks radiating on a daily basis.

“Has he looked at dad in that wheelchair of his” I wonder…

Quickly and without fanfare or even words, Mr nonchalant doctor performs a little procedure
then quickly leaves the room with us eventually leaving
with now a new sort of water balloon,
a catheter.
And thankfully free-flowing once again!!
No spreading cancer as dad was fearing…
just a little scar tissue fouling up the works…

Dad was having to get up literally 18 times a day and 9 times throughout the night living
like a human water balloon…filling up, but not flowing out.

The doctor walked out with nary a word….
No words of kindness, no words of encouragement,
no words of care nor words of what we might need to do…

Kind of like a wham bam thank you mam sort of moment.

Leaving me with the young nurse to attach everything…
getting everything in, on, up and poor dad back into his chair.

Where I come from a gentleman assesses the situation and lends a hand where
he sees the need.
We call that being a man…patient, kind, gallant and thoughtful.

When we finally walked out, me walking, dad rolling…
Mr nonchalant doctor was sitting at his computer in his office, directly across from us,
as we exited the exam room.

I was sincere and gracious in my thanks and gratitude for helping dad.
As I was always taught to offer thanks for a service rendered and I was genuinely
grateful that dad would now be functioning and flowing.
Plus there I was wheeling my cancer ridden, feeble, 88 year old father
who has just bared everything to everyone…did he not deserve a word?

There was a very long pause of silence before acknowledging that I had spoken…
without glancing from the computer came an “ah huh”…
and with that, dad and I were on our way.

At the elevator dad leans his head back in my direction as I push the button for down…
“he doesn’t have much personality does he?”
“I think he’s a jerk dad.”
“I just think he doesn’t have a beside manner” dad counters…

And that my friends is the response of a gentleman.

A man who just bore his feeble sickly body for violation and he merely chalks up
being ignored to a lack of personality.
Where I see a sorry SOB…

Had I not been wheeling dad, who was now hurting and asked for something for pain,
as mr nonchalant non caring doctor quips over his shoulder, “take some tylenol'”…
I think I would have marched in that office of his, slaping my hands down on his desk,
asking or rather telling him to do the polite thing by
looking me in the face when I’m speaking
and to acknowledge my father as an elder as well as a hurting human being….

Because that’s what we do here in the South, we acknowledge our fellow human beings as
what they are, fellow human beings….

And don’t forget, we also came up with iced tea…..
thank you very much…

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Luke 6:27-28

18 comments on “tenacity

  1. Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging and commented:
    well done Julie, well done 😎💪

  2. ColorStorm says:

    I hope you are collecting these essays in order…………

    put these things in a book! 😉

  3. atimetoshare.me says:

    I’m with you! Specialists, at least those I’ve met, need a course in compassion for their patients. I’ve also told a few that very thing. Sorry you have to endure all of this. I’ll recommend you fit sainthood.

  4. Oh. If only they taught bedside manner in university. Or simply manners.

  5. Oooh you go Scarlet!!! I wouldn’t want to mess with you when you found reason for righteous indignation! That’s for sure! You’re right southern women may be genteel, but anyone who mistakes that for passivity is in for a rude awakening! My mother’s sister who moved in with us after my dad died got so angry one day with James’ nut case of a mother who had come to tell them awful things about her son, was stopped almost in mid sentence. Without saying a word, Aunt Johnnie got up and started walking to and opened the front door. His flabbergasted mother said are you throwing me out of your house and Aunt Johnnie sternly replied yes I am. We love your son and we refuse to listen to any more of this. So Opal huffed and puffed her way out the door muttering that she had never been treated like that before. Now that’s a sweet, cordial, charming, educated, hospitable southern woman for you for sure. 🙂 ❤

  6. Lynda says:

    What an horrific time your dad and you and your family have been through because one doctor didn’t have the humility to look into the diagnosis more carefully and wonder if he might be incorrect! Your dad is a great gentleman but I don’t know if I would have had your restraint! Blessings.

  7. Karen says:

    You and your dad reflect what is good about Southerners, you are both in my thoughts. Now the doctor on the other hand…well since I’m a Southerner as well, I’ll just remember what my mother taught me. If you can say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

  8. SLIMJIM says:

    I have the utmost respect for those from the South…when I was younger at age 14 I went to a boot camp in the South and was exposed to Southerners and Southern ways for the first time. I’m from California by the way. My time in the Marines and seminary made me appreciate those from the South and I think its unfortunate that some sector of America’s cultural elites like to sterotype and are prejudicial against Southerners…

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