Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

February 8, 2014

Potluck dinner, minus the luck

‘Did you guys get violently ill last night?”

That John, he’s such a card. His wife got called out of town suddenly, so we asked him to come to dinner. Nothing fancy, just some leftovers, but much better grub than he’d rustle up by himself. And, as well as we know each other, we don’t often sit across the table from one another. We had a great, fun evening together, topped off with ice cream and cherry pie. We talked about the cold snap, when we thought it would be warm enough to golf again, and about an upcoming cruise our families were taking together.

It had been all over the news that night that another cruise ship was limping into port with a cargo of sick passengers and crew — all with a virulent stomach flu. The stories were graphic and gruesome and we wondered about our chances of getting through our vacation without an onboard fire, breakdown or stomach bug. It’s one thing to get the flu; it’s another to waste a bunch of vacation days and pay an arm and a leg for the privilege.

After a few hours together, John drove the five minutes back to his house with a smile on his face.

The next morning, I pick up a call from John, expecting to hear “Thank you” but getting “Did you guys get violently ill last night?” instead.

Very funny, I thought. Not that it’s the first time anyone’s ever called to ask that, but usually it’s after a boy’s night out or a day at the county fair. It’s never after eating a meal at our house. So I told him he was welcome and started to hang up.

No, he insisted, he really was sick in the middle of the night and since his wife is still out of town, a neighbor was going to drive him to the hospital in a few minutes. It turns out he was not kidding.

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