to pill or not to pill – that is the question

Today I count pills to fill two small brightly colored plastic containers that are compartmentalized by the days of the week with the hope they will continue to help me manage the health of my life and not stealthily contribute to its demise. Such a fine line exists between “to pill or not to pill.” Pretty maintains – and has maintained for the past ten years – that the little pills will be my downfall. I argue I would probably not be here today without them. As a compromise, I’ve added a few vitamins she is okay with. At 71 years of age, I can almost say I told you so, but I’m not quite ready for the implications surrounding that declaration.

Last week our tall slender pine trees shook while the rains came down ferociously to announce the arrival of a hurricane named Irma that had already left a path of disaster in the Caribbean islands and the states of Florida and Georgia. We received part of her last inland hurrah and although it was relatively mild, it was unsettling enough. We were afraid some of our pine trees would fall on our heads. Luckily, that didn’t happen. The lights stayed on, and we will try not to complain about our modest outside cleanup. Our refrigerator kept our cans of soft drinks cold, and we had an adequate supply of potato chips which was our entire inventory of “unperishables” in the event of a disaster.

Thank goodness for the chilled ginger ale…the taste of ginger ale always reminds me of the little girl growing up in rural southeast Texas where the piney woods became a national forest at the boundary line between Grimes and Montgomery County, the little girl who saved nickels in the summertime to purchase a large bottle of ginger ale to pretend she was drinking champagne like Myrna Loy in The Thin Man movies. Sitting under a chinaberry tree, the only child offered a glass to her black doll named James Marion after her uncle who was not black. When James Marion declined, she drank the bottle by herself – making toast after toast for imaginary weddings, high school graduations, basketball games, the circus, rodeos, any special occasion she could imagine except for baptisms at the First Baptist Church. No one at that church ever drank champagne for any occasion. My mother told me abstinence from adult beverages was necessary because of the potential for causing the ruination of a hapless sinner who saw you have a sip of any kind of alcohol and thereafter was not able to resist temptation but rather succumbed to drink and debauchery.

That same line of reasoning also applied to dancing and using inappropriate slang words that so wanted to slip out while sipping champagne. My mother was a stickler for avoiding the drinking and cussing, but she strayed occasionally during American Bandstand in the afternoons after school when the rock and roll music made her feet betray her convictions. It was one weakness, and I smile now at the memory of her trying to do the Twist when Chubby Checker was a guest on the show. As for fornication, well, that wasn’t even on the table for discussion which was very suspicious given her predilection for walking nude around the house in my teenage years. My prim elementary school teacher mother, my mother who played the piano for the Baptist Church, thought nothing of shedding her clothes in the privacy of her own home when Daddy was there. Go figure…and she had a good one at the time.

I’ve just finished counting the last of the pills for the week. Every pill is in its proper place so that each day they are easily accessible first thing in the morning. I’m not sure how or why I digressed into the story about my mother except that’s how I ramble on in my mind lately. I’m so glad to have the funny memories of her again – I’ve carried the more recent memories of her when she was not in her right mind for too long. She was a mess.

I prefer these memories to the headlines of the day with its hurricanes, natural disasters, bombs from North Korea, throwing acid on American tourists in France, the president addressing the United Nations, and the young Georgia Tech lgbtq student activist shot to death. My mother’s predilection for nudity and my preoccupation with pills pale in comparison to the news of the day and provide a kind of relief from the constant bombardment of the ongoing shattering of our families and communities. At least they do for me.

Stay tuned.


About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to to pill or not to pill – that is the question

  1. Luanne says:

    Sheila, I’m glad you can find some comfort in your memories. I adore the story about the ginger ale. Myrna Loy, I so love her. That walking around the house nude thing, my aunt used to do that. And my MIL always had her shirt off, bra on, when she was home alone. Clothes are such a burden, but nudity is a burden upon teens living in the house haha. I’m glad you and T survived the hurricane without too much trouble. As far as pills go, the gardener is very anti-pill. I am cautiously in the middle. My mother is pro-pills. She will probably outlive us all, but I think it’s just her genes, not the pills, but she would beg to differ.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Susanne says:

    I’m slowly weaning myself from the news again. I’ve been a year wallowing in the muck and it’s time to clean up. Maybe spend more time in the blogosphere reading lovely memories such as the one of you guzzling ginger ale pretending it was champagne! What a hoot that your prim and proper mom roamed the house in her altogether! We humans are a never ending source of amusement.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oftentimes I take my pills while naked… 😁 I take only what I must be to keep body and mind on speaking terms. I supplement with vitamins and dark chocolate.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. kirbappeal says:

    I look forward to your blog and get excited when I get my email notification that you’ve written another one. It reminds me of the good things in this world and sheds light on the not so good things too.


  5. Harry Hamid says:

    I wish more people would wander from topic to topic in a kind of stream of consciousness like this. It’s amazing what bubbles up to the surface when people allow this to happen.

    Good to hear that the impact of the recent storms on you was minimal. For too many, that hasn’t been the case – even tonight as I write this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, you are right about the storm’s impact. I went to your blog and saw that you are from Houston and survived Harvey without damage. I tried to write to tell you I am from the Houston area and still have family there. One of my cousins lost everything – except the lives of his family, which is what matters most. (I got lost in your robot thingie.)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely piece, Sheila!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. If you have to pill, suspect it would be best to wash them down with ginger ale and lots of toasts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so happy to hear from you – I couldn’t find your blog so got worried!! And yes, lots of toasts!!
      We have friends who are living in the Netherlands for a year – we are thinking of going to see them next year – is that close to France?
      See, that’s the Americans for you – they have no idea where anything is beyond their borders…:)


  8. Wayside Artist says:

    I just finished counting out my weekly pills, arranged my nasal spray and explored the depth of elixer in my liquid iron bottle. Ready, set, go! The coffee is hot. I prefer it to Ginny Done, as ginger ale is called in my family (thank my 1 year old

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.