Thursday, January 7, 2010


Today is Theme Thursday and the theme is Polka-dot or where I come from powk-ee-dots.  Everyone has a different take on these themes and it is fascinating where some take it.  Here is my take on it, when your done reading me go on over to Theme Thursday and read the others.  "She wore an itty bitty...."

Gladys walked into the new resident’s room with a wide smile and her clipboard in hand. “Good morning Mr. Washington, welcome to Shakey Acres Rest Home. We are so happy to have you here” Gladys perkily greeted her new ward. There sitting in his wheel chair was a toothless white haired man. He wore a hospital gown and pinned to the right side was some sort of military medal. Gladys stuck out her hand and smiled even bigger. This was the part of her job she loved. She loved meeting the new residents, getting to know their history, not just their medical history but their personal history. The residents always had such interesting stories full of rich memories of years and decades Gladys had only read about in books.

Mr. Washington smiled his big toothless smile and held Gladys’ hand in his own. “Why thank ya, little lady. I’m just so glad to be out of dat horspital. What wit dem stickin needles in ya and wakin ya up at all howers. What kin I do fer ya?” Gladys smiled and sat on the edge of the chair Mr. Washington offered her. “Mr. Washington I’m here to help you. I need to get a little information from you and tell you about our activity programs. We have several veterans here in the facility and I’m sure you boys will have some war stories to tell.” Mr. Washington’s teared up and he looked down at his lap “dey don’t want nufin to do wit me.”

Gladys was taken aback. “Mr. Washington you haven’t even met these men, they really are very friendly and very welcoming. We are pretty much one big family here at Shakey Acres.” The old man looked into Gladys’ eyes with pleading and replied “dat don’t madder. Even my owns famibly don’t want nufin to do wid me.” Gladys took the man’s hand in her own and did the only thing she could do, ask why.

He looked at her then held out his arms and legs and stretched out his neck and said “cause I’m polk-e-dotted.” Gladys stifled a grin because she could see he was serious. “Mr. Washington, what do you mean you’re polk-a-dotted?” The old man snorted and shook his head “I mean I gots polk-e-dots all over my body and nobody will talk to me cause dey say I’s cursed.” Gladys took the old man’s hand in hers and stretched it out. She pulled up the sleeve of his gown and studied the blotches of cream on the old mans weathered ebony skin. “Mr. Washington, those aren’t polka-dots they look like beauty marks to me. Do you have Leucoderma?”

The old man studied the white marks on his body as if seeing them for the first time. He held his arm up close to his face and rubbed a weathered and gnarled finger over his skin. “No ma’am I don’t think I’s got the ludicrous. They’s scars. They’s scars from a long ago war. It’s a war I’s been fighten for sixty some-odd years.” Gladys set her clip board to the side and settled into her chair. “Mr. Washington I have time if you’d like to tell me about it.”

“It ain’t a long story. You see I was in the war, the big war, WW one. I was one of de boys tat got sent over there to fight the Kiser. We was all hunkered down in a hole when dem krauts lobbed over some smokin canisters. Dem tings was full of musterd gas. It was awful. Men were screamin and cryin we tried to get our mask on but it was too late for many of dem and they burned from de insides out. I was lucky. I got my mask on afore it hit me. Only problem was it burned like a sonofagun. I had welps and boils all overs my body. It was sorely painful and I’s an old man now and I kin admit I cried like a newborn baby.

It took a long time fer dem whelps to disappear and when dey did I was polk-ee-dotted. My family thought I’s cursed and wouldn’t let me in de house. My wife she screamed and cried and eventually she left me. She say she don’t want no polk-ee-dotted babies. I moved out to de shinery and lived by myself fer a good spell. Some church people come by to see about me from time to time. They who helped me get here after I fell. So no big story. Jest no one want a dried up old polk-ee-dotted man.”

Gladys wiped the tears from her face and gave the old man a hug. She put her smile back on her face and said “let’s get you out of that hospital gown and into your overalls. I got some men I want you to meet.” When Mr. Washington was dressed and ready Gladys handed him his straw hat and rolled him out to the garden. There sitting under a tree was his compatriots, Mr. Shoal who lost both legs in World War II and the ability to speak, Mr. Griffith who had been burned over eighty percent of his body in Korea and Mr. Smith who too had been exposed to mustard gas. Gladys rolled Mr. Washington up to the table and said “Boys, this here is Mr. Washington. He is here to join your poker game. He’s new so try not to cheat on his first day!” With that they all made their acquaintances and began telling their own war stories.

It just goes to show you that it doesn’t matter if you are purple with pink polka-dots at the core there is someone who can relate.


lagirl/sweet tea said...

Wonderfully told.
BTW, just love the "itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini" song!

Brian Miller said...

oh gladys, you start me laughing with the pic and then...wonderful tale. tears.