As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"

Bittersweet Secret

I recently submitted this short to Reminisce Magazine under the psuedonym of June Bridger. Please watch for it 

I swallow my last morsel of chocolate, the bitter biting my parched throat awakening a precious memory of my childhood. Southeastern Idaho in the mid 1960's. Dad drove a turquoise blue pick-up everyday to feed the cattle. The exceptions were when the cattle were out on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) range for the summer. Summer in this case was just late enough in the spring that all the cows had calved and the snow had given way to tender shoots of grass.
On one of many spring days that Dad didn't take the pick-up out to work, I learned that being a small child left to her own devises could be very rewarding. The first time I stood tall enough to open the pick-up door and climb in was for purely innocent reasons--to play driving. Yep, we had an old car sitting in the driveway but its tires were missing. Thus the pick-up looked to much more inviting. It, after all, could really drive down the road.
Being a child of 3 or 4-years of age, I firmly gripped the steering wheel and happily "pretended" to drive and bounce down the road. I timed the trip to the distant corner, played with the blinker, making it click several times, and turned the corner. That's when I discovered the brown bag sitting on the seat beside me. A brown bag with "IGA" lettering.
Of course I knew that spelled grocery store and wondered why would Dad leave a grocery bag in the truck? Hum. Did he buy something that he forgot to take into the house? (Visualize me sitting a little taller with indignant righteousness-- even if I didn't know those words at the time, I knew the correct posture to adopt the appropriate attitude.)
I opened the bag and what do you think I found? No, my dad wasn't a drinker so it wasn't liquor. I found the biggest hunk of chocolate in the world. (Okay, my limited world.) It wasn't melting, the temps were still cool. But it was open… I slithered down in the seat, making myself invisible should Mom glance out the windows looking for me. Carefully unwrapping one end, (You may want to imagine "careful" for a pre-school-er) I sniffed, I licked and yeah, I bit. Problem with that first bite was that it wasn't big enough. I stretched my jaw wide and sank my teeth into the chocolate expecting it to break off as easily at the first nibble had.
Was I surprised! I have no recollection of how long it took me to whittle away at that hunk of chocolate to hide my teeth marks. Do you have any idea the skill it takes to etch a smooth line with your front teeth? Let it suffice to say that I never found a hunk of chocolate in Dad's truck again, at least not milk chocolate. I did find on occasion a hunk of white chocolate-- the real stuff that gives me a headache so I leave it alone. I've also found Spanish peanuts--I think I finished off most of the bag. And cookies…my favorite, and apparently Dad's too were Keebler's striped chocolate.
As a kid I thought I was so clever at hiding my thievery. Now I just smile knowing Dad kept my secret. He generally took the pick-up in the morning, bringing it home at lunch and often left it in the driveway in the afternoon. Of course I had to time it right, eat lunch with Dad, take a nap and steal treats before the older kids got home from school. Dad never spanked me for eating his goodies, nor did he say anything to me about it. But I know now--he knew and he helped his baby girl keep her Bittersweet Secret.

 [s1]Submitted to Reminisce 6/18/14
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