Crooked Rice

We had rotisserie chicken and rice pilaf for dinner last night.  Bill and I had been busy all afternoon washing the summer dust from the windows and off the Sun Porch furniture and we’d skipped lunch, so we were hungry when dinnertime rolled around.  As a result, we pretty much inhaled our meal and we both finish well ahead of Mom.  After loading our dirty dishes into the dishwasher, I told her to give me a holler when she was done and Bill and I retired to the Arizona Room to rewind a program we’d been watching before we sat down to eat.

A few minutes later Mom started coughing.  I sat and listened for a few moments as she continued to sputter and hack and gag.  Just when she seemed to free her throat of whatever went down the wrong way, she’d start up again.  I became slightly alarmed that it was taking her so long to clear her airway, so I got up and went into the living room.  She was hunched forward with her fork in one hand and a napkin in the other as she continued to cough.

“Why don’t you take a sip of water, Mom?” I asked with a note of concern.

“I will in a…”cough, cough, cough… “minute,” she choked out.

I patted her on the back, hoping to relieve her of the obstruction, as her coughing slowly subsided.

She reached over and picked up her glass of raspberry iced tea and took a tentative sip.  “There, that’s better,” she sighed, putting the glass back on the end table and handing me her almost empty plate.  All that remained were a few errant grains of rice.

“I guess some rice went down the wrong tube,” I commented as I took plate.

“No, that’s not what happen,” she replied, calmly dabbing her mouth with her napkin.  “It went down sideways.”

“The rice?” I asked skeptically.  “You’re telling me a grain of rice went down your throat sideways?  How in the world could you tell?”

“Because I could feel it turn,” she answered, clearing her throat one last time for emphasis.

“And I suppose you could feel a pea under your mattress too,” I said with a chuckle as I left the room.

“Well maybe,” she called after me.  “If it was big enough, like a rock or something.”

princess and pea



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