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The Gunches are double-wide and their FEMA trailers ain’t.
That is getting to be a problem.
Thank goodness my mother-in-law, Miss Larda, got one all to herself, but even so, she says the shower is a tight fit. She can’t get to all her necessary parts without bending over, and there ain’t no room to bend over, so she got to soap up before she goes in there, jump in and try to rinse off. She says she would be qualified to be a yogi before this is over, if it wasn’t against her religion.
Miss Larda is very dependent on her religion right now because she got St. Jude to thank for her FEMA trailer. She didn’t get nothing from FEMA until she done her flying novena to St. Jude.
In case you don’t know, a regular novena is nine days of praying – not just any prayers, but special never-known-to-fail prayers. But if you don’t got nine days, you can do a flying novena, which means you stuff all the prayers into maybe nine hours, which Miss Larda did while she was on hold with the government people.
She must have been a prayer or two short, though, because she got the trailer but no electricity. The FEMA people said to call Entergy, and the Entergy people said to call FEMA. So she called up Channel 4, and that worked. When heaven lets you down, go to the action reporter.
But now she’s been in the trailer three months, with one more month until hurricane season, and she is getting stressed out.
She practically jumps out her skin when I knock on the door.
“I thought you was somebody with more bad news, Modine,” she says to me.
The latest bad news is that my daughter Gumdrop and her husband and my only grandbaby, born a year ago on Carnival Day in the middle of the parade, are leaving New Orleans.
This hit us all pretty hard, but it pushed Miss Larda over the edge. We are used to her being as solid as the Rocket of Gibraltar, so we got to do something.
Me and my sister-in-law Larva was at Lakeside Shopping Center, trying to find something that might cheer her up for Mother’s Day, and we pass one of them stores that sells the technological gizmos that you never knew you couldn’t live without. And there, in the front, is this woman testing out a electronic reclining chair. She looks so relaxed I think she is dead. But she ain’t. She is bobbing very gently, like she is floating on a rubber raft in a motel pool, and there ain’t nobody else there. This chair is massaging every part of her – her legs, her arms, her buns, her back, even her neck. It is a beautiful thing to see.
It is the perfect gift. If this don’t de-stress Miss Larda, we are going to have to look for hard drugs.
It takes a lot of doing, but me and all the Gunches and even my gentleman friend, Lust, chips in and we put together enough money for this massage recliner.
We get it delivered ahead of time, so she will have a few days of relaxing before we all get together on Mother’s Day.
We hope she is relaxed enough to cook. The Gunches usually celebrate holidays by eating, but we ain’t put on a good feed bag since before Katrina. For Easter, we sent out for pizza. That ain’t right.
Of course, what none of us realizes is if you can’t fit a decent shower in this trailer, how are you going to fit in a recliner that moves? That’s what the men said when they came to set it up.
But like I said, when Miss Larda makes up her mind, don’t argue. So they wedged it in, even though there is no room whatsoever left in the trailer.
When I go by there the next day, even before I get to the steps, I notice this trailer is shaking.
It reminds me of that saying, “When this trailer is a-rockin’, don’t come a-knockin’.” But I push open the door – and there is Miss Larda laid out in this chair, facing away from me, with her head back and her mouth hung open. Her bosoms are all a-jiggle and her stomach is bobbing like a beach ball on the open sea. The rest of the trailer is also in motion. The plates in her cabinet are clinking and the coffee cups are swinging on their hooks and her coffeepot is tap dancing. Forget hurricanes – we got an earthquake going right here in this trailer.
I try to tap her shoulder, but that is rippling too. Finally I reach around and push the power button and everything quivers to a stop.
Miss Larda opens her eyes and looks up at me. “I been like this all day,” she says. “I can’t get to the front door, but I don’t care.”
So we all got to chip in again and rent one of them pods and set it up next to the trailer. Then we manage to take the chair apart and put it in the poD and run an extension cord out there to give it power. Of course, the front door of this pod raises up like a garage door, so if Miss Larda wants to catch some breeze, she got to shiver and shake in front of the entire parish – not that there’s much left of that. She could charge admission, but what she does is let people buy a few minutes in the chair – real cheap – so they can get unstressed too.
Maybe we should rent another Pod and set up a shower. Double-wide.

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