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Story ID:7656
Written by:Kathe M. Campbell (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Family Memories
Location:Broken Tree Ranch Montana USA
Person:Ken & Kathe Campbell
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Bags With A Kick
by Kathe Campbell

The VA Hospital doctors and pharmacy had been waging war with Pop's rheumatoid arthritis for years, providing the latest medicines as quick as they became available. My husband's long monthly trips for checkups also necessitated serums specially packed in Styrofoam coolers surrounded by frozen ice bags. We stored the bags out in the small fridge-freezer on our back deck. You know, one of those must necessities we were bamboozled into furnishing our college kids for milk and juice jolts. 'Gullible' was our middle name back then for I know good and well six-packs of Clydesdale stallions were the odds-on favorites. Pops, on the other hand, thought I was being overly suspicious in the face of our children's solid upbringing.

Since Pops, a WWII Army Air Force vet, had business near the VA Hospital just before Christmas, he decided to divest our burgeoning freezer of countless ice bags by returning them back to the pharmacy. It was just a nice way of telling the VA he was an appreciative veteran.

Upon his return home that evening, I inquired as to his day with the doctors. All had gone well, but he looked tired and remarked that the pharmacy was very glad to have the cooler box and ice bags back. "One thing though,” he mentioned offhandedly, “they wondered why all the freezer bags were pink.”

“Pink?” I queried. “What do you mean, pink?”

“Yeah, pink.” Pops adamantly muttered again.

“But haven't you ever noticed, the pharmacy bags are always white?” I insisted.

“Beats me. I thought they came in colors,” as he heaved an unconcerned sigh and tilted his recliner back for a well-deserved snooze.

While I stared unfocused into the fridge trying to conjure up a dinner idea, the deepest recesses of my mind kept wandering back to pink. Pink, pink, pink, why would those bags turn pink, I mulled over and over? Suddenly a light came on and the awful reality began setting in. Oh my God no, it just couldn’t be as I raced into the laundry room to check out the freezer, then downstairs to the old freezer in the basement where sure enough, the answer loomed before me.

"Jumpin' Jehosafats, Pops, you gave away my stash of frozen strawberry daiquiris that I made last summer!"

"Sorry dear, thought they looked a little different. You can whip up some more can't you?" concluded Pops as he tossed me a devilish grin.

Our marriage was a good one. First, we kept faith with both our Christian upbringings, and secondly, we didn't hesitate to state our minds. Long ago a friend had advised that keeping it all in was best, even though her marriage failed. That wasn't going to happen to us for after fifty years we had amiably exchanged a few honest words uttered over a myriad of touchy subjects.

But there are times, circumstances, and an old friend's well meaning advice when one keeps it all in, especially when a husband is unwell. This was one of those times, though deep down I could have almost commited the ultimate sin.

Chagrined to the core, and finally slightly amused, I took the phone in hand to catch one of the VA pharmacists who seemed tickled pink when he heard my name. The jig was up and all I could say was... "Whatever you do, don't throw the pink bags out that my husband returned to you today. They were my stash of strawberry daiquiris, so treat them with care and enjoy your holiday on us."

"Ma'am, noting the labels on each bag, we opened one up after hours in the back room, and are sharing it as we speak. They're the best. Thanks, Mrs. C., and tell that old man of yours he can cross our palms with strawberry daiquiris any time. He really knows how to liven up a long day."

With little left to say, I sent my compliments to all and raised my cup of coffee in an appropriate toast... "Here’s to you, VA Pharmacy, divvy them up and have yourselves a merry little Christmas."