If you don't get that title, you must not have read The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck. I'd never heard of it. Had no plans to read it. Then I was really bored during the summer before my freshman year of high school, and stepped down into the basement to peruse the shelves of Reader's Digest Condensed Books. Oh, I didn't find The Good Earth in them. I DID find Airport, by Arthur Hailey, and Up the Down Staircase, by Bel Kaufman, and To Sir, With Love, by E.R. Braithwaite. Lucky for me, The Good Earth was a full book, sitting next to the Digests. Left over from my mom's college classes, I suppose.
Anyhoo... I know you didn't drop in to see what a future VALedictorian read for pleasure during the long, long summer. I'm just explaining the title. Though if you have time on your hands, you might want to check out The Good Earth. Or watch the old black-and-white movie.
Here's the deal. You may recall that Hick has been running a clandestine medical transport service of late. It all started with THIS GUY'S WIFE, who sold us the $5000 house, and then broke her hip while visiting her husband, THIS GUY, after his back surgery, before giving us the title.
More recently, Hick's weekly passenger has been his high school friend undergoing cancer treatment. I know he drives her to chemo on Fridays. And assorted trips to the city as the situation warrants. You may recall that a couple weeks ago, Hick asked me to get some Corn On the Cob Popcorn for her. Which I politely refused, telling Hick that Country Mart will also sell popcorn to HIM, and not just me.
Anyhoo... I had no idea where Hick was on Monday. By noon-thirty, I tracked him down with a phone call.
"Oh. I'm in the city, at the hospital, waiting for My Friend."
"I don't recall you mentioning that when I asked if you were doing anything today, but the reason I called is that your cat peed on the steps, and it stinks, and you need to wash it off." [He DID buy that new power washer last year!]
"Okay. I can do that."
"I'm tired of that cat pooping and peeing all over the porch. It needs to go away."
"I can do that, too."
"NO! We've waited 15 years for that cat to die, but if it disappears now, I'll think you had a hand in it."
"Okay. I'll just clean off the steps."
Anyhoo... around about 3:10, I saw SilverRedO coming up the driveway. I was on the phone with my favorite gambling aunt. Hick came in and went directly to the basement. I thought maybe he was going out the basement door to get his lawnmower. But no. He came back up. Giving me an excuse to get off my already-20-minute call.
"What are you doing?"
"Getting THIS." Hick held up a square box. "It's that diabetes tester that the company sent me two of, and had no record of it when I called to try and give one back. My Friend says the doctor wants her to monitor her sugar several times a day. He gave her test strips, but she don't have a machine."
"Huh. That's great. Let's see. You already gave her a refrigerator. And let her eat popcorn in your truck. We might as well count her as a dependent on our taxes next year."
"Yeah. Let's do that."
"I'm surprised you haven't given her a box of your auction popcorn!"
"It IS her favorite kind."
"You've probably been giving her auction MEAT."
"No. I haven't given her any meat, heh, heh."
"So you're going to drive that over to her now?"
"No. I have to get going. She's out in the truck..."
WHAT IN THE NOT-HEAVEN? Now Hick is so bold that he brings THE OTHER WOMAN to my house!
That was a long, strange trip to explain a title.