A few weeks ago, I got a note from the school nurse, the scariest note of all. Lice. Live. In. Your. Child’s. Hair. Heebie-jeebies. I read all about the cleaning I would have to do. Number one-wash bedding. I couldn’t figure out how to get the bedding into the laundry room without having to touch it. Ask husband. Thank you. Then I was informed that everything had to be washed in HOT water. I put twice the amount of soap & no fabric softener (just in case I missed one, I didn’t want IT to be comfortable) I pushed the HOT button. And then I say, “DIE, YOU @#^* BUGS”
My head still itches. I followed all the instructions on the box. I combed & combed & gagged & retched. We were lice free, life could return to our quirky normal.
We live in Birmingham, a beautiful city. The country songs you hear on the radio take place outside the city limits. Most people I speak with have a slight southern accent like my husband. I have heard the country accent & I’ve lived here long enough to be able to decipher 95% of it. I do have a point, I will get there. We are slow movin’ down here. Everything takes a little more time then up north. I am a yankee, my husband was born & raised here. He reminds me that I’ve lived more of my life in Alabama then in Vermont. I admit he is right. I hardly notice anyone with a southern accent anymore. I have to ask my twin brother, who moved to California when he was 18, if my children sound southern. He told me…sometimes. grrr.
I got another note from the school nurse. LICE!!! I drove to the drugstore as quickly as I could, mad as hell & scratching my head infested with the heebie-jeebies. My husband had bought the last box, so I didn’t know where to look. I wander up & down the medicine isle. I am looking down when I hear a very, very slow & thick country accent ask me if I needed help. I look up to see a boy, he looks about 16, he has pale white/blue skin of a vampire. He hasn’t shaved, ever. I know this because he has several long, black hairs sticking out of his face. His hair has the sheen of the great unwashed. But his smile reached his eyes & he looked honest & sweet. I tell him that yes, I do need help & I tell him embarrassedly (go figure) where I would find the lice shampoo. He proceeds to led me to the shampoo isle. I told him, that no, it would not be here. It’s a medical shampoo for lice. He laughs & says that he thought I said, ‘like’. (?) I said, no LICE. He was laughing because he couldn’t understand what I was saying. I soon figure out, that he has no idea where to find it, but he is going to stick to me like…well, lice. I soon find the box of NIX & show it to him. There, your job is done, please leave me be, I think to myself.
He sees that we have completed our mission, and now wants to share his lice infestation story. I swear that this is the truth, the whole truth & nothin’ but… (by the way, he cannot speak without giggling)
“Oh ma Gawd, I had Liiice once, back whin I was a kid…(giggle, giggle) Ma Mama hadda home remedy fer liice (giggle) home remedies (giggles & covers his mouth) ma Mama took the maayOnaaze & put it all up on my heaaad. (giggle. He is pretending to smear mayo in his greasy hair) she smeeared it til my whole heead was covered. THEN! She takes the saran wrap & wraaaps it arround an arrround ma heaad. (laughing now, an mimicking the movements of his mother) Than she took the DUCK TAAPE(!!!) an wrapped it all over the saran wraap ’cause, ewww, who’d want maayOnaaze in their bed? (serious here & wanted a answer, which I gave) No, I said emphatically. I thank him for his help. I was, at this point, walking backwards, trying to let him know that we are done. He finally stops walking, he stops giggling & his hands disappear behind his back. I stop too & asked him if the mayo killed the lice.
He answered,”Yes, ma’am, it sure did.” Giggling, he says, “Home remedies…” and walked away. I look down at the $20 dollar box of NIX & wonder what isle the mayonnaise is on.
I love crossing paths with people you normally wouldn’t meet. Most of the time, for me anyway, they have a story to tell. Most of the time I’m in a hurry & they are not. I often wonder if they are angels stopping me,to make me slow down to hear what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. Or maybe they are just bored or crazy. Or I am. The young man in the drug store is someone I will never forget. He told me about days gone by (home remedy), he walked, when not gesturing wildly, with his hands behind his back, he would bow his head to listen & he called me ma’am. I guess, if I could get him clean & shaven, I would put him in a jar & put him on the mantle next to all the other people that had a wonderful, out of my world, story to tell.
AND in the twenty odd years I’ve been in Alabama, I have NEVER had anyone not understand what I was saying.
Post script: I did buy the NIX & if anyone decides to try the mayo treatment, you do so at your own peril.