Unfortunately, I don’t get “sick days” at my job. Any time off used must be taken in vacation days so a spur of the moment “I don’t feel like going in” day just isn’t worth it.
Why can’t sick days be like they were when I was in school?
When I got “sick” on a school day (which, strangely seemed to always happen the day of a big test) my grandmother (Nan) was always there to nurse me back to “health”.
The kitchen would be filled with the smell of chicken soup (her cure for what ails ya) and I would always plead with her to give me a dose of St. Joseph’s Cough Medicine. My “illnesses” almost always came with a cough and luckily the medicine had a grape flavor.
But of the dozen or so sick days I took over the course of my school career there are two things I remember most from spending those days with her.
1. The Cash Line: A local AM radio station that played oldies music ran this promotion for years in the early 1980’s. They would start with $100 and at the top of every hour during the work day would randomly look up someone in the phone book from the local area and call them.
When someone answered the phone they would ask that person if they knew the amount of money in the “Cash Line”. If the person got the amount correctly he or she would win that amount. If they didn’t know the answer, the station would add increments to it and continue the contest until someone won. Then they’d start it all over again.
Nan religiously followed this contest for several years. She kept a little notepad near the radio and methodically keep track of every dollar amount. She was SURE they were going to call her one day and she’d win $150 or some other small amount of money.
So, while I got to listen to Dean Martin and old Motown hits all day long I’d watch Nan come running over every time she heard the little promo that they were about to call someone. “Get off the phone!” she’d yell to anyone who dared make a phone call at the top of the hour. “The Cash Line is on!”
The other thing that was always big in my house on sick days for me was watching “The Price is Right” with her from 11 am – noon. There’s something to be said for lying on the couch under a blanket while Bob Barker had people “Come On Down!” And if by some chance they had a $20,000 sports car and a double showcase winner it was the greatest thing ever.
I almost had Nan give me a high-five the one time someone won them both but thought better of it. Surely the jig would be up and she’d send me back to the confines of Easton Area High School.
Eventually though, usually by the end of the school day, I’d recover from the mysterious malady that had afflicted me and be well enough to go back to school. And while I sat in the classroom the next day I’d often wonder if Nan had won the Cash Line (she never did) and if she’d tell me someone had won both showcases when I got home.
You know the old saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got until its gone?” This is one of those moments. I miss them.
Sure I could stay home and still watch the Price is Right (albeit without Bob Barker). And I could make myself some chicken soup. But there’s no Cash Line anymore and sadly, my Grandmother has also gone on to better things.
<Sigh!> Looking up at the clock and it’s time to hit the road. Another day of work lies ahead.