So, this week I was sick, with some horrid Disease of the Coughs, where all I did was try to sleep but I couldn't because cough, and I had to sleep sitting up like the Elephant Man, which in case you wondered was not restful.
Also, I was sad, because Lottie, and then because mean commenters, so that pretty much sums up my week.
Oh, and also, I tried to love Edsel rather than drive him directly over to Jeb's Animal Testing and Pelts, as I oft fantasized about doing. Then I'd cough.
Some of us here didn't give a shit about any of this. My house is so EMPTY now, what with three measly pets. Who can LIVE like this, with this empty house, three teensy pets rattling around? I don't know if you've ever noticed, but having a cat hardly counts as having a pet. See above. It's just mostly like having a pillow that purrs.
I'm on two Facebook groups for Edsel breeds: one is called American Dingo Club, and the other is Carolina Dogs. They're both the same damn group; they should just merge, but who am I to tell anyone what to do, seeing as I seem to be the only person who's got an underbitey dingo. Anyway, mostly these groups, which I call Edsel Support Groups, show pictures of their straight-teethed Edsel dogs and we discuss their weirdnesses, but I haven't had the nerve to ask, "Does anyone else's dingo eat puppies?" for fear I'd have to see 53 photos of everyone else's American Carolina Dog Dingo embracing puppies like Mary and baby Jesus. Although truth be told you mostly just see pictures of her reeling in all the gifts ("More myrrh!?! You shouldn't have!") while poor Jesus lies there alone on that hay bed, which let's face it must be itchy.
Do you think anyone got him any fun onesies instead of that oh-so-babyproof frankincense? (Frankincense! Ages 17 months and up!) Onesies that said things like, Ask Me About My Father or Who Invited All These Sinners? Imagine how obnoxious Mary's Facebook posts would be about her new baby. We're talking smug.
This is why I should not be alone with my thoughts for a week, sleeping sitting up.
Ned, who when you last tuned in came to help with my dog crises last week (Lottie's new people have kept in touch and she seems so happy. Maybe a little too happy. Maybe I could make one of those horrible videos about how she should call me, like that one woman did to her poor kid who had the nerve to be adjusting to college and not calling her ass every minute--did you see that video? That poor beleaguered kid) told me to call if I needed anything. Finally yesterday I could not sit upright in my sick bed another minute longer, so I called him.
"Let's go do something," I said.
"What do you want to do?" he asked.
"I don't know. Oh! Let's drive past all your houses!" Ned did this for me before, drove me past where he lived as a kid, then where they moved to when his family got bigger, and so on. But the last time was 2012, and now I know more stories from each house, so I wanted to see them again.
We got to the first house, and I asked where his tree was. He had a tree in the backyard that he claimed as his own, and he assigned his poor little brother the other tree. Once, though, his brother decided to climb up Ned's tree, and as soon as he was able to reach him, Ned reached down and kicked his brother out of the tree, who then hit every branch on his way down, like the marble in Ker-Plunk.
I really feel like dad, up there, might be faking his mirth a tad. And really? Tantalizing? Really?
"My tree looks kind of bad," Ned noted. It was true; it was kind of gnarled and bony. "Your brother's tree looks great!" I pointed out, kindly. "It's flourishing!"
We stared at the trees for a minute. "You should totally call your brother and tell him his tree is doing better at life, just like real life." Ned's brother is happily married and has two kids in college already, and the third one will grow up to be, like, a cult leader or president or something. Kid's got charisma.
"I really should," Ned said, laughing.
Then we went to these woods across from his old house. "I wasn't supposed to cross the street to play here, but of course I did all the time," he said. Ned was the kind of kid who was outdoors all day, catching frogs and playing football. I had record low vitamin D levels, most likely, what with my basement-and-a-book childhood.
"I always wondered why they never developed these woods," said Ned. "I mean, I'm glad, but how'd they get away with it?" We saw one of those green-and-gold signs, the kind that let you know you're at some sort of historical marker, which always sends my Uncle Leo into fits of ecstasy and we always ALWAYS have to stop and read them.
The sign at Ned's woods said this was an area that marked some dumb thing that happened during the Revolutionary War, and also this was a site of the Underground Railroad.
And right then, we knew.
"Hunh," I said. "I wonder if it's still under here."
"The Underground Railroad. Is it still there? Can we see it?" I sort of half-heartedly looked for a trap door or something.
Ned put the car in park so he could turn all the way in his seat.
"June. What do you think the Underground Railroad was?"
God. This is just like when my mother says things like, "The White House is in Washington D.C." "It was when a bunch of white people helped slaves escape. So, like, there was a big tunnel across America that they were all in on. I always pictured one nice woman digging a hole at the back of her pantry, and she dug under her house and all the way to the next white person's--"
When I saw the look on Ned's face, I realized my terrible truth. "Are you saying the Underground Railroad was never under the ground?" I asked.
Ned looked mortified.
"WELL WHY DID THEY NAME IT THAT, THEN?" I asked. "Next thing you know, you're gonna tell me it wasn't a railroad, either!"
"June, never, ever tell anyone this," he said gravely.
I mean, why not just name everything something it isn't? Hey, it's the Civil War, but really it's not civil at all. It's Roe vs Wade, but there's no water involved. I mean, how was I supposed to know? Why does everything have to be so confusing? Naturally, I told this story to my mother, who said, "Never, ever tell anyone that, June."
So I'm only telling you. I trust you can keep this underground.