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Cheryl Hughes: Let’s Do It Your Way

Cheryl Hughes

Garey is exhausted.  I realized Garey was exhausted when he snapped at me while we were on our way to our Taylorsville Christmas on Saturday.  Sabria asked him what was one fourth of a thousand.  He told her, then started one-fourth-ing larger and larger numbers.  He had entered the millions, and I feared he was headed for the billions, when I said, “Garey, please stop.”

“I’ve had just about enough of you and my sister telling me when I can talk,” he snapped.

Now, anybody who knows us knows two things: 1. I never tell Garey what to do.  2. Garey is a very kind and tolerant person.  That’s how I knew he was exhausted.  I also knew why he was exhausted.

Since his mom’s passing—the day after Thanksgiving—Garey has been driving back and forth between here and Alabama to help his sister with the paperwork involved after his mom was deceased.  The two months prior to that, he drove back and forth to help his sister with their mother’s care.  Add to that the stress of everything happening during the holidays, and you have a recipe for exhaustion.  

Garey’s sister, Charlottte, is a “why don’t we do it this way” person.  She is also big on doing things herself, so it was really no surprise that she wanted Garey to help her install the new security system they got for their mother’s house.  It’s one of those systems that sounds an alarm, calls the security people and videos everything going on in and around the house.

“I’ve watched the how-to video on YouTube,” she told Garey.  “It won’t take us more than 15 minutes to do it.”  She pulled up the video for Garey.

“It took an hour to watch the video,” Garey told me later, “I knew it was going to take more than 15 minutes to do it.”

Two days later, they still had parts, pieces and written instructions scattered about the living room, but no security system installed.  Charlotte finally conceded the job was too much for the two of them, and they hired someone to install it. 

“In the meantime, we had better get anything valuable out of this house,” Garey told Charlotte.  “I’d a lot rather have the stuff than a picture of somebody driving off down the road with it.”  She agreed, and they removed all the valuables.

They continued gathering papers and copies of death certificates in order to take them to the bank and insurance company.  Garey has been driving his mom’s car because it’s so much better on gas mileage than his truck.  One afternoon, he was on his way to the insurance office, when a young, inexperienced driver rear-ended an SUV and knocked it into oncoming traffic.  Garey was the oncoming traffic, and it totaled his mom’s car.  He was one block from the insurance office.  He wasn’t hurt, and he called me not long after it happened.  I felt so bad for him.

The next day, he and Charlotte continued filing more paperwork at the bank.  Garey is a friendly person, and he likes to visit with people.  Charlotte is a “let’s get this show on the road” sort, so she fussed at Garey for talking too much.

“These people don’t care how you wrecked Mother’s car,” she said.  “We’ve got things to do!”

That was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Garey called me Wednesday night.

“Is there any way you can drive down and get me tomorrow?” he asked.  I told him I could be there Thursday afternoon.  As fate would have it, I got stuck in a two-hour traffic jam (big truck wreck) just north of Cullman, Alabama.  I didn’t get to Charlotte’s till after 6 that night.

We spent the night, and Garey got me up early the next morning (Friday) to head home.  Once we were in the car, Garey turned to me and said, “If you hadn’t been able to come get me, I swear I would have taken a bus home.”

Garey loves Charlotte, and Charlotte loves Garey, but they are just like the rest of us, sometimes we just get too much of each other.  I told Garey he needs a long week of peace and quiet and doing what he wants to do.  If he asks me to help him with anything this week, I’m going to say, “Sure, and let’s do it your way.”





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