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Entry 12 -- Grasping at Straws

"Why do we always eat such weird food," Stasch asks me as I cut up the onions for fried kippers and onions. Corn salad is all ready made (made early this morning) as is carrot salad, and there is plenty of bread and butter.

"More for us. Tuna salad on white bread for you. How can you stand to eat such a boring diet?" I ask my younger stepson.

"Because it tastes good," he answers without one trace of irony.

"Oisin found a leak in my back tire," Stasch continues.

"Oisin is very conscientious."

"That's teacher talk," snaps Stasch. "How come you never became a teacher."

"Because I was young and foolish and didn't care about school. I did like my computer courses though. Those are useful, especially the graphics," I smile. I think back to this afternon when Pastor Davis from Myrtle Hollow walked in. He wanted me to make him labels for a cup that had an old woman's picture on them. The woman was Inette (Like Annette but with an I and one "n") Morgan who is Clare Jameson's sick mother. Clare Jameson's daughter, Koli, is a classmate of Oisin's. You probably know that all ready.

The picture was too large. It was grainy. I cut it back. I cropped it in to a nice heart and set it on another red heart. The slogan above the picture which I put in to a more standard sans-serif font instead of the kiddy font someone with no taste had selected (I don't know who and I didn't ask. Sometimes you just can't ask even if you want to) was "Help me Heal." The leavels were meant to go on to cups with sealed tops set up like banks in to which people could deposit small contributions. The money would go for travel expenses and extra medications for Clare Jameson and her mother so they could both travel to Washington DC. Clare would stay with her mother while they went through an experimental protocol.

I had seen Inette Morgan and thought she was too far gone for anything, but doctors like to sometimes use (and that is the right word. I don't much trust doctors which is probably why I'll never have children, but we all know that is another story.) very far gone people in experiments. I thougth both Clare and Inette were grasping at straws, but people would see our work on the cup labels and I made them up and we ate the cost for producing colored labels instead of black and white ones. Pastor Davis thanked me and I even stuck the first dollar in the first cup.

We have one of those cups on the counter o fthe shop. Of course we do! Participating in such campaigns shows positive community involvement. It is excellent public relations and that is good for business. I also told Pastor Davis I' d pray for Inette. Am I getting good at this or what? What I think I'll pray is that Clare and Inette come to their senses about the whole guinea pig thing but I didn't tell Pastor Davis any of that.

I start heating the oil for the onions. Stasch asks how I kept from burning the oil. I tell him that I heat it slowly on one of the lower settings and then I test it with a bit of onion and then I dump the onions, and tonight carrots in.

When the onions are done, I add the fish. I wait for the fish to get hot, and dinner. I get Stasch to start setting the table and checked the computer where Oisin is writing his English paper on the Fountainhead. He'd read all of that long book and osnow writing away. The kid might have the patience to make an excellent student in college. I was not like that at his age amd certainly not like that in college.

After dinner Oisin sits on the couch and reads the little white book with the long after dinner prayer in it. I guess he is really going to stick with this religion business. I am glad we are Jews and not Christians. I am glad that our clergy person such as we have is not Rabbi Abib and not Pastor Davis. I feel relieved as I wash the dishes. Orel and I head back to the shop again with Oisin babysitting and working on that paper.

"I'm thinking about poor Clare," I tell Orel as we set up the banner machine to make a huge banner for the downtown mom and pop hardware and feed store that somehow holds its own against Wal-Mart. Yes, we have a Wal-Mart here in Greenup.

"Wht's to think?" Orel asks me.

"She's chasing after something she's not going to get."

"She's losing her mother."

"Then she should accept the fact and not go begging other people for money."

"As I recall," Orel cleared his throat. "Dear, you were the one who happily made the first contribution."

"A dollar's worth of good publicity," I snort.

"Fuck," sighed Orel. "You can be so two faced at times."

"What was I supposed to do. Pastor Davis is going to get us customers. I don't spit on business and neither do you."

"So what about Clare?"

"There's nothing we can do I guess, " I answer. Life just screws some people over and the rest of us are condemned to watch.

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