Robert Hitt Neill
Your Subtitle text

February 2012 613AM


Robert Hitt Neill                                                                      February 2012


          Lyme Disease victims who've had the illness for a while before it was diagnosed seldom get completely cured.  The sleep disorder hardly ever goes away, and Lyme victims hardly ever reach REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which is when one dreams.  In 30 years, I might have had three dreams, and have had to adapt to getting by on five or six hours of sleep a night.  I hardly ever go to bed before 10:30 or 11P, take three Benedryl when I hit the hay, then don't really doze off for almost another hour.  If I wake up before 3A, I usually take another Benedryl; if I wake up much after that, I generally just stay in bed until daylight, so as to not awaken Betsy.  There's a little red-light clock on my bedside stand.

          One night I had a pre-3A awakening, so I finally got up to take another pill, then dozed off again after 4A, waking up with the birds at daylight but lying there until all my broke parts felt like they were in place.  I heard an unusual bird call close to the window, a whip-poor-will, and rolled out to glance outside.  As I hit the floor, I grimaced: the doggone clock said 6:13A!

          Understand that my maternal grandmother Ma'am (she kept a steel thimble on her finger to raise a knot on a youngster's head if he missed saying "Yes, Ma'am") was very superstitious.  She hardly got out of bed on Friday the 13ths, and if a black cat crossed her path she would stop, turn three times in a circle, make an X with her toe, and spit in the X before continuing on her way.  I do get out of bed on Friday the 13ths, but cringe the whole day.  If a black cat crosses the street, I detour three blocks to avoid that part of the street being in my path.  I don't walk under ladders.  If a salt shaker spills, I toss a few grains over my left shoulder.  I grab a button when a hearse goes by.  I have accumulated over 23 broken bones, another dozen major joint injuries, five serious concussions, 135 or so stitches, have been struck three times by poisonous snakes and three times by lightning.  I figure I've obviously broken seven mirrors, each with seven years of bad luck to endure before the next seven years starts.

          I know better than to get out of bed at 6:13 – durn that whip-poor-will!

          Went to the kitchen to make Slung Coffee.  My favorite cup, the one with "Grunk" on it, specially made by Mammy Grudge Mud Pottery in the Caboose for my Christmas present from Sir the Grandson, slipped off the counter-top and broke.  My hand & wrist had been bruised & gouged by a falling refrigerator the evening before, which I now figured was a portend of getting up at 6:13.  The bad luck was stretching out twelve hours before my error.  The whole day went like that: I picked up and dropped stuff, folks grabbed my hurt arm, I got a letter from the tax folks, the bank called.  The luck didn't stop there, either, but stretched forward another six hours: we woke up waterless the next morning, although my waking up was at a more reasonable 5:24A, just barely light enough for me to go check out the breaker box, the reset buttons, the pressure gauge, and all the valves at the well.  Nothing to do but dip some water out of the ice chest which had held the drinks for Saturday's Joint Choir Party, so I could make Slung Coffee and wait for a more reasonable hour to call Billy Schultz to come fix the well, cogitating all the while on how much this was going to cost me: drill a new well, or buy a new 500-gallon pressure tank, or was the submersible pump burnt up?

          When the Shudco guys arrived, they found that black ants had invaded and shorted out the pressure switch!  Praise the Lord, my luck finally changed!

          Incidentally, the man told me that if I'd smear a thick ring of grease around the nipple that the switch screws onto, the ants would not cross that barrier, and that will also work to protect any outside electrical accoutrements.

          I've been lectured about Christians being superstitious, but facts is facts.  On the other hand, maybe if I'd just prayed for Divine Forgiveness after getting up at 6:13A, I might still be drinking Slung Coffee out of my favorite Grunk Cup!