businessleadership

Aunt Lou is Dying

Three years ago, I stopped by to see my then 89-year-old Mom. I didn’t even get in the door before she started in on me. “I sure wish that I could see my baby sister one more time,” she said.

Two things, first her baby sister was 87 and second, Mom has played me before.

With that in mind, I called my cousin who my Aunt was visiting. When my cuisine answered the phone and I asked, how her Aunt Lou was feeling and here’s what she said. “Mom (my aunt) is really sick and the ambulance is pulling up.”  Of course, my response was that I’m sorry and I would be being my Mom over and see them in the morning at the hospital.

Driving Ms. Betsy

Aunt Lou was staying in Fort Smith which would be an eight-hour drive under normal conditions, but when you drive with an 89-year-old… well, things are different.  The process was drive for two hours and then have an hour break. Repeat two more times.

When we crossed the Mississippi river, Mom’s mobile phone rang. My concern was that it would be bad news, but then she started laughing. She was chatting with her sister. When she hung up, I asked, “Mom, I know that I should have asked, but what is wrong with Aunt Lou?” The follow conversation occurred:

Mom: “Aunt Lou has a terrible stomach virus.”

Me: “You mean she’s not dying?”

Mom: “Of Couse not!”

We continued to Fort Smith, the next day Mom and Aunt Lou had a wonderful time setting up in bed, laughing like school-girls and popping pain pills.

Note to self: Ask follow-up questions.

After all the years in sales, I knew to ask follow-up questions and avoid the surprises.  I had been played by the expert.

P.S. Aunt Lou lived and is now 90, while Mom is 92. I still must stay on my toes or she’ll play me again.