A Painful Birthday

My birthday was on Friday the 13th, and wouldn’t you know it, I woke up with the worst bursitis in my left shoulder.  I was in agony all day, and even cancelled my birthday lunch with Kathy.  I told her there was no point if I was just going to be sitting there grimacing.

It was still horrible on Saturday.  Margaret was here from Vancouver, so we all drove to Osoyoos for mom’s annual party for me.  Luckily, I didn’t have to drive going or coming, so that was nice.  But nonetheless I arrived white-faced from pain.

Mom immediately called the retired doctor who was one of the guests and left him a message to bring a shot for pain!  Then mom said surely Martha the chiropractor, another guest, would be able to help too.

When Martha arrived and saw me with my arm in the sling, she said, “Get on the bed.”  She then did some adjustments that made me see little stars going round and round my head.  Later on she did another, and she really did get rid of a lot of the pain and improved my range of motion.

Undaunted, I was still able to eat a lobster, accompanied by salad and corn on the cob.  Gerry and mom had 30 lobsters flown in from Nova Scotia, as they’d done three years earlier.  There were 23 guests and everyone had a great time.

As predicted, the lobsters were done completely incorrectly for Gerry Bruck.  That was because Jerralynn was sick, and she’s the head chef.  So the town mayor, Stu Wells, and my brother Freddie, who’s his best friend, took over lobster-cooking duties.  This portended disaster right from the start.

As it likes to be in mid-July in Osoyoos, it was 40 degrees Celsius in the sun.  A large propane-fuelled two-burner stove was set up and two big pots of water placed on top.  My sister-in-law Wendy said she walked by as they were filling the pots from the hose, thought to suggest maybe starting with hot tap water, but said nothing.

We all sat with bibs for a long, long time, and then the water finally decided to boil.  The lobsters were taken out of their Styrofoam box and placed into the water.  They were timed, and removed at intervals.

Stu and Freddie got Nicky to help them, and the three of them were bathed in sweat, due to the sun and the steam. Just as the crowd was beginning to get restless, the lobsters were served with lashings of melted butter.  Everyone thought they were good, but Gerry didn’t.

He’s very particular about the way a lobster’s cooked and served, and even at 97 his standards haven’t come down one inch.  I said to him the next day, perhaps lobsters for 6 would be more manageable, and he agreed.

So another birthday’s come and gone, and today the pain of the shoulder is almost a distance memory.  Just in time to make dozens and dozens of jars of apricot jam in preparation for the long winter.

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