the sick day

For the last couple of nights, we have been staying at my mom’s house while we make the final preparations for the big move. Because of the storms last night, I went to bed early next to our six-year-old son who kept asking, “Is it going to thunder again?”

We slept in my mom’s old bedroom and when I woke up in the middle of the night and looked around the room and out into the hallway, I was flooded with memories once again. My sisters, brother and I all spent a lot of time in there when we were little kids, especially if there was a thunderstorm, the occasional bad dream or when we were home sick from school.

The sick day.

It was almost immediately following my mom’s phone call to the school to report my absence and my siblings closing the back door behind them, that I actually started to feel better.

So, with an empty house and endless possibilities, I would get into my mom’s bed, get all snuggly under the covers and turn on the t.v.  After HOURS of watching the Price is Right, Press Your Luck (No Whammies!) and a number of soaps, I’d get a little bored.

Right around that time, Mr. Meow would typically walk into the room, jump up on the bed and keep me company.

Me Meow in his natural habitat, someone's bed.
The Tonight Show, starring Mr. Meow

Mr. Meow was the coolest cat and pretty much game for anything. My favorite sick day game was when I would pretend to be Jack Hanna’s assistant on the “Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” and Mr. Meow was a baby panther born at a local zoo. I would be interviewed, show off the baby panther’s latest tricks, and Ed McMahon and I would laugh at all of Johnny’s jokes (“YES!”).

On one of the sick days, I was super restless and tired of playing “The Tonight Show”, so I decided to try my hair cutting skills – on myself. I really wanted to transform my already too short haircut from the mullet I had into something more stylish. Faith, from my favorite soap, Ryan’s Hope, always seemed very put together, so I decided that’s the look I would go for.

Dr. Faith Coleridge from Ryan’s Hope

Scissors in hand, I stood in front of my mom’s bedroom mirror and started cutting.

Snip. Snip.

Two fuzzy, frizzy balls of hair on either side of my head just behind my ears were gone just like that. My heart started pounding as I started to realize there was no turning back. This haircut did not look like Faith’s. I went downstairs where there was better lighting and tried to “fix” my haircut. Maybe if my bangs were shorter, you wouldn’t notice the back?

Snip. Snip.


I begged my mom to let me stay home from school the next day. “Mom, I still don’t feel well…”. That didn’t work. After work, my mom had gone up to her bedroom to change only to find mullet remants on her dresser and floor. She knew I was feeling just fine.

Sick days were closely monitored for me after that day. I think my siblings learned a thing or two from my mistakes because they were able to miss several days in a row and were perfectly healthy.

I wonder if Mr. Meow and Ryan’s Hope were a part of their sick day too.

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