It had started off on a bad note or rather a bad sore throat. I guess I’d lived there long enough to pick up Temple germs from the Junior High. My throat hurt something awful and I thought I’d surely come down with Scarlet Fever like Delma had that time.
A kid in one of my classes told me about a doctor within walking distance from my house that I should go see. He also gave me a bible. “What’s this?”
“It’s a Bible.”
“I can see that. Why’re ye handin’ it to me?”
“Just thought you’d like ta have it, you know to read.”
“I don’t wanna take yer Bible.”
“Well, it’s not really mine. I work at the Baptist Church and I can get them anytime I want.”
“Okay then,” I said, taking the Bible he’d stolen from his church.
“I’ll pray for your throat, Cono.”
“OK,” I hoarsed out of my throat, thinking, “Yeah and praise the Lord too.”
I took him up on his advice and right after school I went straight to that doctor’s office. He told me to come back tomorrow morning and not to eat anything. So that’s what I did.
The next morning the doctor handed me two little Yellow pills and said, “Here’s your breakfast.” Then he left me in a chair that leaned back. I waited there until my head started to feel fuzzy, like I was sitting at the bottom of a well looking up towards the light of the sky.
“Cono, are you ready?” I stared up through the well and saw the long-nosed face of the man talking to me, the man in the white coat who made a little loop out of some kind of wire and pulled one, then two tonsils from the back of my throat. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, he decided that my adenoids weren’t doing me any good, so he yanked them out too. Fuzzy or not, I felt every damn bit of it.
He laid a pack of ice on my neck for a while and told me to go home and get some rest. I did. I rested for a whole week because I got sicker than a dog and not because I forgot to cover up my hiney. I got a bad fever and thought for sure I was gonna die. That’s when I picked up that Bible. I remembered Ma saying, “Cono, thar ain’t nothin’ wrong with readin’ the Bible.” Plus, I thought that if I was about to die, I might as well find out who was going to open up the Pearly Gates to let me in.
Once I got through all that “beggetting” stuff, it wasn’t a bad read. I didn’t understand much of it since there were so many people to keep up with. I got the gist of most of it though. But I was still trying to figure out why it said “an eye for an eye” one minute and “turn the other cheek” the next.
During that week, Delma came in once with a pot on her head and stared at me sober as a judge.
“Delma, ye need te get yerself a better lookin’ hat.” She laughed and left the room probably thinking she made me feel better. I guess in a way she did.
Excerpt from No Hill for a Stepper