Sweetie Pie

This woman could write the book on how to be a grandmother.

It’s one in the morning, I’m in the ER waiting room with my wife. I have a gash in my foot from stepping on a piece of glass the size of a Dorito.

I’m only here for a tetanus shot and—God-willing—a free lollipop.

The waiting room is empty except for a white-haired lady at the desk who looks a lot like Aunt Bee. She talks like she’s from a hundred years ago. Back when every child was either honey, sweetie-pie, or sugar; when women wore housecoats, put baking soda on bee stings, and fed anything that moved.

In only a few seconds, Bee manages to complete paperwork, fit me with a plastic bracelet, and ask about my favorite baseball teams.

Through the automatic double doors walks a young couple. A girl clutching her chest.

“Oh, good heavens, what’s the matter?” Aunt Bee says.

The boy can’t get the words out. “M-m-my wife, she just woke up, short of breath…”

This fella is about as helpful as a pair of muddy boots. Bee turns her attention toward the girl. “Tell me what’s wrong, baby.”

The girl says, “Panic… Attack…”

Bee escorts her to a seat. The girl is huffing while Bee rubs her shoulders, whispering, “Sssshhh. I’m here, darlin’.” And she says it with a truckload of sugar. “It’s gonna be alright. Y’all got any kids?”

The girl nods. “Th-th-three, boys.”

“I’ll be dog, I got three boys, too, all growed up now. Ain’t kids just so much fun?”

No answer.

Aunt Bee is just getting warmed up. She asks the ages of the boys, which sports they play, and whether they fish.

The girl gives one-word responses between breaths.

Next, Aunt Bee asks for photos.

The girl removes her smartphone and shows the old gal every blessed image she’s got. While she does, Bee never stops petting the girl’s hair.

This woman could write the book on how to be a grandmother.

Twenty minutes pass. The more the girl talks, the less she’s stuttering. Soon, she’s even laughing while talking about her boys.

Bee finally stands up. “Well darlin’, reckon I’d better quit bothering you. We’d better get you checked in, so you can see the doctor.”

The girl shakes her head and takes a deep breath. “No ma’am, I think I’m actually feeling a little better.”

That’s when the old gal must’ve noticed me watching the whole thing.

Because while she embraced the girl, she winked at me.

God bless you, Aunt Bee.

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