Remember Your Roots and Keep Them Colored

I could write a book

By Trena Eiden
Posted 2/6/20

Gar doesn’t cook and it’s hard to understand.

He’s always told our kids, “If you can read, you can learn to do anything because there’s books written about …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in
Remember Your Roots and Keep Them Colored

I could write a book


Gar doesn’t cook and it’s hard to understand.

He’s always told our kids, “If you can read, you can learn to do anything because there’s books written about everything.” Well, hello. He’s a fantastic reader so why doesn’t he try to cook? We know it’s not because he loves my kitchen wizardry, since that non-flavorful fare is barely fit for human consumption. I learned everything I know about braising and blanching without an instructor, so he could learn from me and we’d try not to die together. In fact, I could write us a cookbook, “How not to burn the kitchen down and other fun baking tips.”

I could write other books and brochures as my side hustle. I’m a CNA — cheapest nurse available, as a friend’s husband likes to point out — and do a conglomeration of homecare, home-health, hospice and private care, so I could pen, “Nursing without knowledge.”

Our son, the doctor, likes to poke fun at me, “Mama, a chimpanzee could do your job. In fact, they’re training one right now.” I tell him, “It should have been you I put in the gunny sack instead of the kittens.” (Please, I’m kidding, there was no animal abuse. Don’t write bad reviews about me on that subject. There’ll be plenty of others where you can use concrete facts.)

This son of mine also just loves it when I self-diagnose. I tell him, “I have 10 cents worth of medical knowledge and I’m not afraid to use it.” He asks, “But should you?” I say, “Heck yes. In fact, after your dad had his finger sutured last year, I studied up on how to sew a wound shut. I’m thinking of writing a pamphlet, ‘Surgery, in six easy lessons.’” He kind of chortled, then got serious and said, “I hope you’re joking because sometimes it’s hard to tell.”

When it comes to medicine, there’s always dilemmas. I recently had a client ask if I could give an opinion on an ailment. I said, “Well, I could, but what if I’m miles away from what’s really wrong? What if my misdiagnosis was detrimental and I was put in front of a judge to give an account for my incompetence?”

I’ve rehearsed this exact scenario over the years so I know what I’d do. I’d beg for mercy and tell the magistrate, “I don’t know why I thought I could think. I knew I shouldn’t. I’m not a thinker and I promise never to think again.” I could offer to cook for him but then I’d get the electric chair.

Our daughter was home recently and I inquired of her how to fix a problem I’d been having with my laptop. She asked a couple of questions and then, frowning, said, “I think I showed you how to take care of that once before.” I said, “Well, when you were 2, I’m pretty sure, more than once, I had to give you advice about what the toilet was for.”

She sighed deeply, a typical response to my amazing quips. I said, “I think you’ll be happy to know I’m considering taking a course on being my own technical support, then I’m going to write a book, ‘Computers for dummies like the parents God gave you.’” 

We have a grafted-in-daughter who’s married to one of our sons. He couldn’t, on threat of death, hang a picture straight. She, on the other hand, is magical at carpentry, plumbing, electrical and any number of things I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing her build or repair. One day last summer, Gar was working out of town when I had an issue with a commode. I called our girl and she walked me through a quick fix.

I was grateful and relieved since plumbers make a good income and as you know, if I’m anything, I’m cheap. I have a tiny bit of understanding of bathrooms now so I could probably write another book, “Plumbing made simple with minimal flooding.” And after that, “Understanding electricity without a lot of dying.”

All of our married life Gar has worked in the oil and gas industry in dozens of different positions. He’s come home fatigued, upset, angry, resigned and disgusted over crazy things people have done, and I’ve heard multiple horror stories. In light of this, and since I’m writing all these books, I could fit one more in that most men would enjoy: “The ABC’s of truck driving and the meaning of hand gestures.”