By Grant McGee: Local columnist
It wasn’t a comet smashing into Earth that killed the dinosaurs. It was the flu.
Well, I don’t know that for a fact but when you have the flu it sure seems like it could bring down all of those ancient behemoths.
I thought for sure I wasn’t going to get the flu this year. Every fall my boss at my day job posts a sign-up sheet for flu shots and we dutifully ink our names on the page. If we don’t, the boss gives us curious looks while arching his eyebrows in the direction of the sign-up sheet.
So when the aches, fever and gunk arrived at 3 a.m. a couple of Sundays ago, I thought I had food poisoning.
“I’ve had a flu shot, so I can’t have the flu,” I thought. I was wrong.
I don’t like getting sick; it’s a waste of time and makes me feel old. The Lady of the House doesn’t like it when I get sick. Oh, she smiles and brings me Jell-O and 7Up and toast and chicken soup and stuff and smiles some more, but I whine a lot when I’m sick and this does not amuse her.
I should be better at this flu stuff, it should be in my genes. My dad survived the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918. It’s a story told to me by my grandmother as she sat in her favorite easy chair, reminiscing while smoking a filter-less Raleigh cigarette.
My dad grew up in the tiny town of Glen Wilton, tucked away in the mountains of western Virginia. When I pass through Elida in Roosevelt County I’m reminded of Glen Wilton; they’re about the same size and in the same condition.
“That Spanish Flu came and the whole town got sick,” said my grandmother, then she let some cigarette smoke ease out her nostrils. “The whole town except Doc Givens and your daddy. Your daddy should’ve gotten the flu, he was just a few months old.”
Doc Givens was the town doctor. My grandparents liked him so much they used his last name for my father’s middle name.
“We figured out Doc Givens didn’t get sick because he stayed drunk all the time,” she said. “We thought maybe your daddy didn’t get sick because he was always grabbing coal out of the coal bucket and chewing on it.”
“Every morning for about a week, Doc Givens would walk the streets of town, stopping at every house and yell out, ‘Y’all need anything in there?’ then he’d stumble on to the next house,” she said. “He’d make a list then come back later and toss a chicken in one window, a bottle of cough syrup in another and so on.”
As I write this I’m recuperating from my tango with the tiny little buggers who brought so much discomfort and gunk. My boss told me to stay away from work until I was totally well. He meant from the flu, not my mental health.
I’ve heard that many folks around town caught this bug. The Lady of the House came down with it just when she said she would.
“I’ll probably get it by this Wednesday morning,” she said. She didn’t get it near as bad as I did. I did a lot of whining, she’s doing a lot of sleeping.
Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org