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Opened My Mouth to Say Good Morning and It was Gone

     Lost it! Opened my mouth to say good morning and it was gone. Opened my mouth to sing, “Alleluia,” and it was gone.  Opened my mouth to order scrambled eggs and bacon and…

     That’s why I was writing so carefully on the place mat. It’s okay. It wasn’t linen - just paper. Which is good, because I was using an indelible ink pen. It was kind’a hard tho’, because I had to write sideways.

     The waitress came over to our table, filled our coffee cups and asked if we were ready to order. We were. Me especially. Me without the voice. I smiled (at least you can do that without your voice) and pointed to the edge of my place mat.

     There it was - my order. “2 eggs scrambled soft, bacon, rye toast.” Neatly printed at a perpendicular angle so that it faced her, not me.

     That’s the tough thing about having laryngitis - you can’t tell anyone. Fortunately, the guy sitting across from me had a firm grip on his voice. “She has laryngitis,” he said. “She can’t talk.” Seemed to me there was a bit of a lilt in his voice.

     The waitress stared at the place mat again.  I pointed to the words “2 eggs scrambled soft.” Then I pointed to “bacon.” Then the light dawned. She thanked me and wrote up my order.  

     It had been especially tough in church that morning. Normally I’m not a loud singer – tho’ I’ve been doing better lately. And normally I don’t say the responses in a clear ringing voice. But I say them.

     So this morning I was embarrassed. Everyone was singing and I was standing there with my mouth shut. Hard to look like you’re singing with your mouth shut, but when I opened it the air hit my throat and I started with that dry hacking cough.

     Actually, not everyone was singing. You know how there are always some people at church who never sing. But they’ve earned the right to not sing – no one expects them to sing. I tried to look like one of them.

     After church and breakfast, everything was fine until we got home and the phone rang. I raced to the phone like I always do.

     Not a good idea. I picked up the phone, opened my mouth and said, “Guhuhh mg.” In a croak. Almost in a croak. You can hear a croak.

     On the other end, my granddaughter Breanna said, “Hello?” Quickly I said, “Oh Breanna! It’s me – gramma. I have laryngitis. That’s why I sound so funny.” But it came out, “Guhuhh mg guh.” Barely.

     I tried again, but Breanna was sounding concerned now. “Hello? Hello?”  

     I didn’t know what to do. She probably thought she’d called the wrong number and some really weird person answered. Or maybe she knew it was me and thought I was dying…  I tried to reassure her.

     “It’s me, Brea. It’s gramma. I have laryngitis, but I’m fine. Don’t worry. I’m okay. I just don’t have any voice.”

     It didn’t come out that way. Nothing came out - unless you count a sound like heavy breathing with a rasp. Oh dear, what must she be thinking?

     Suddenly inspired, I ran to the other room, flung the phone at the guy who lives with me and said, “Guhughh mg mg mg!”

     He took the phone and said clearly and distinctly, “Hi, Brea. Grandma has laryngitis and she’s lost her voice. That’s why she sounds so funny. No, she’s okay. She just can’t talk.”

     The next time the phone rang, I – oh, darn. Habits die hard. I did. I answered it.

     I’ve never understood the fascination for text messaging, but suddenly it all makes sense. I just never knew there were that many people with laryngitis.

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