It may seem that it was way too early to laugh, but the Colonel and his lady, the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda, and her twin sister, the courageous and skilled Miss Linda, couldn't help it.
It also may seem that making the Colonel's recently-widowed mother-in-law the object of our collective mirth was the absolute height (depth?) of inappropriate behavior. You would probably be right. But, don't judge just yet.
See, the Colonel's father-in-law, the man whose every waking moment for the past decade has been consumed with providing constant care to his bride of over six decades, was relieved of that duty by his heavenly commanding officer and called to his eternal home earlier this week. The man had more than fought the good fight; lapped the field in the good race; pulled... you get the picture.
He more than rated his relief.
And, as he fought for his last breaths, the Colonel leaned in close and made him a solemn promise. He could go. The Colonel would take over. Miss Martha would be well taken care of.
This morning, the strong and serene Miss Martha had an appointment with an oral surgeon. Not. A. Problem.
The Colonel has this. Besides, the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda and her sister, the highly experienced registered nurse were on hand to provide support as required.
Reveille went off as planned. That was the last thing that went off as planned.
Shortly after the Colonel marched down the passageway banging on hatches and announcing the end of the nightly rest period, he retired back to his rack to wait for the women to clear the shower facilities.
The Colonel awoke an hour later to a strangely quiet house.
Reveille had failed to launch. The rocket was not only still on the pad, it was cold and empty of fuel. No venting of gasses. No countdown. No... you get the picture.
The Colonel's next actions were reminiscent of those of the first class porter on the Titanic post berg-bump. Only with a little more alacrity and alarm.
Bedroom doors in the house have now been sufficiently tested for impact resiliency.
Being now an hour behind his carefully choreographed operational plan of the day, the Colonel began closely supervising every aspect of three women's morning preparation.
That went about as well as you would expect. The Colonel retired once again to his rack to wait out the firestorm of indignation his efforts had ignited.
When the smoke cleared, the Colonel ventured out to see how well preparations had progressed in his forced absence. He arrived in the kitchen just in time to hear the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda ask her sister, the highly experienced registered nurse,
"You didn't give her the whole pill, did you?"
"Yes," the highly experienced registered nurse answered stiffly. "Why do you ask?"
"Read the directions on the bottle," the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda said, her voice rising a half octave with each word.
The Colonel saw a situation developing and inserted himself into said situation for the purpose of situation dissipation. "What's the problem here, ladies?"
"Oh, no," the Colonel's sister-in-law, the highly experienced nurse, exclaimed. "The bottle says give her half a pill!"
"Half a pill of what?," the Colonel inquired.
"Valium!" Both women exclaimed together.
"Valium," the Colonel asked. "Valium, Valium?"
The Colonel looked over at his mother-in-law. A sleepy smile looked back.
"Let me get this straight," the Colonel attempted to clarify. "You gave her a whole Valium when the prescription said to just give her half a Valium?"
"Yes!," said the twins.
"Yesh," said the twins' mother.
Needless to say, things were going widely astray of the Colonel's carefully choreographed plan, and they weren't going to get rounded up anytime soon.
The next forty-five minutes, during which the Colonel and his "helpers" got the strong and serene Miss Martha into the car, drove a half-hour to the oral surgeon's office, got the strong and very serene Miss Martha out of the car and into a wheel chair, wheeled the strong and serenely zonked-out Miss Martha into the reception area and then down to the operating room and into the operating chair, was nearly a scene-by-scene recreation of the cinematic tour de force "Weekend at Bernie's."
The Colonel would like to report that unlike the scenes in which Bernie's head constantly hit hard objects, the strongly drugged and very serene Miss Martha suffered no such indignities.
The Colonel would like to report that, but he can't.
At one point the Colonel attempted a "dead-man lift" he had practiced countless times during his infantry days. Unfortunately, his infantry days were a couple of decades ago and his "dead-man lift" was a bit out of practice.
The Colonel dropped his mother-in-law.
He'll rot in hell, he knows.
The Colonel's prayers this evening will include sincere apologies to his hero father-in-law. Somehow, he thinks that, just maybe, the great man was watching with a smile on his face. Of course, the Colonel knows today's antics will be added to the long list of such episodes his father-in-law took such great joy in retelling about his jarhead son-in-law.
The Colonel wishes to assure his meager readership that no mothers-in-law were actually harmed in the making of this blog.