Cracker Jack*

25 Oct

On Monday, I had to go to get my blood drawn. My doctor wanted to do another follow-up on my Vitamin D levels, since it still had not reached the minimum necessary for good bone health at the last check. This time, she also wanted to check the parathyroid hormone (PTH) level.

I did a little reading on the parathyroid gland, and although it’s located near the thyroid, it has nothing to do with the thyroid. We have four parathyroid glands, and they’re each the size of a little pea, but apparently they have a big job of regulating the calcium in the blood. If your PTH level is either too high or too low, then your kidneys and/or bones are going to have some problems. Apparently, folks with XLH can have some problems with their parathyroid glands. I don’t completely understand how all this works, but I showed up for the blood test on Monday. They told me it was a non-fasting blood test. So, I ate my bowl of oatmeal and drank my coffee as I do almost every day.

On Tuesday morning, the woman from the lab called and said that I needed to come back in  to have my blood drawn AGAIN. Apparently, the blood-taker lady misread her manual and did not spin out and separate my blood as she was supposed to. So, they needed another sample. I felt sorry for her, really. I think she was aggravated with herself. It wasn’t a huge deal…I went back, and gave her my other arm to bruise, er, I mean, stick. I tried to cheer her up a little. I told her that when I was a little girl, I used to have to have my blood drawn a lot (because of the XLH) and that my daddy always bought me a box of Cracker Jack from the vending machine if I DIDN’T cry. Not a problem…Cracker Jack was way better than tears!

In fact, I came home and posted the following on Facebook, knowing that my dad would see this. (He may be 75, but he’s pretty hip.) I wrote:

“One of my earliest memories is when I sat on my dad’s lap at the doctor’s office to have my blood drawn. My dad promised me a box of Cracker Jack from the vending machine afterwards, if I didn’t cry. And, of course, I did not cry. Today, I had to get my blood redrawn, because the lab screwed up the sample they took from me yesterday. So, I bought myself some Cracker Jack. Since they now come in a set of 3 boxes, I am saving one of them for you, Dad! To my brother and sister: being the runt of the litter had its benefits, ha, ha!”

I was doubtful if he would remember that. But, he posted later:

“I love them; thanks for bringing this up; guess I did a few things right.”

I guess he did remember this! That was pretty cool to learn. I was a little amazed, though, at how unsure he was that he had been a positive influence in my youth. I guess a lot of parents, and adults in general, always wonder if they’ve made a difference in some young person’s life. I remember several instances of adults who said or did things in my childhood or youth that I have found to be memorable and I know helped me along the way.

#1 Age 6: “Banjogrrl, always go the extra mile. See that house right there? When I drove by here yesterday, their car was halfway out in the street, because it had rolled down their driveway, out of gear. I stopped and went to their door and told them, so they would move their car and it wouldn’t get hit by a passing car. You should always go the extra mile, do more than you’re expected to do.” That was another memorable moment from my Dad.

#2 Age 9: “TURN TO PAGE 303!!!” My math teacher always punished the entire class even if only one person was bad. Our punishment was to do the last page of the huge math book, which was the most difficult, and turn it in. I became really good in math that year. But now when I make mistake in my bookkeeping, I hear her high pitched and shrill voice in my head.

#3 Age 12: “I wish I was white. I think life would be easier.” From my friend Janeira, an African-American classmate at school. Okay, so she wasn’t an adult who influenced me, but I believe she was an “old soul” who was wise beyond her years. Before then, I had no clue that my life might be easier than anyone else’s for any reason, especially skin color. She completely changed my world view that day. In a sense, I lost my innocence about racism and poverty, power and privilege.

#4 Age 14: “Banjogrrl, you look so pretty in that dress! Green is your color!” These words came from the mother of one of my best friends. Ever since then, I have tended to favor green blouses and shirts. I always feel like I look good in them. These words came at a time when I needed a little encouragement and affirmation about my looks.

#5 Age 15: “When you sing, don’t just stick a smile on your face. Use your eyes, even your whole face, to express the emotions of the song.” From the youth choir director at my church. That was really good advice to learn at an early age. It encouraged me to really think about the songs that I was singing, rather than just spout out words in a tuneful way.

#6 Age 18: “People need 11 hugs per day to be emotionally healthy. Go hug 11 people.” These words came from my campus minister at college. I didn’t come from a “huggy” family, but I started hugging my parents and siblings more after I started college. My sister will verify that I was the first hugger in our family.

These are just a few of the words and actions that have stuck with me for a minimum of 30 years. We do have influence on children and youth. It’s up to us as to whether or not it’s positive or negative influence. Now, go hug 11 people and find some kids to encourage.

I am going to go eat another box of Cracker Jack. Thanks, Dad.

*I have always called this snack “Cracker Jacks” as in plural, not singular. However, I have now learned that the singular pronunciation is the correct one. Not that it will change what I call it, but anyway,  I thought my readers might like to know this little fact.

Copyright S.G. Hunter and Banjogrrldiaries, 2012-2017

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2 Responses to “Cracker Jack*”

  1. oceandepths42 October 25, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

    “Cracker Jacks”. That’s it, that’s how I say it too. Enjoyed your post!

    • banjogrrldiaries October 26, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

      I have a feeling that there are a lot of us out there that pronounce it as plural! Thanks for reading!

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