Spring break 1989. Totally epic. The parents saved up and took the family, including Grandad, to Club Med in exotic Cancun. All you can eat, all you can drink, all you can handle. I remember Dad talking at elevating volumes at the taxi driver on the way to the resort, hoping somehow that the louder he spoke the more likely this non-English speaker would understand him. We Americans can be so adorable.
Given there were six of us, and each room was configured for two, we were faced with six potential roommate pairings (obviously my parents were shacking up). It was decided that my youngest brother, Dave, would room with Grandad. At that moment, little did we know, the fate of Dave’s lovey was also decided.
“Little Pillow” was indeed a pillow at one point. If my memory serves me correctly, it was actually the property of my older brother, Steve, before it was passed onto Dave. Dave and Steve have six years between them, so by the time it reached Dave it had already accumulated some mileage. Still, it was a pillow when bequeathed.
If I’ve ever been close to flesh eating bacteria, it was residing on Little Pillow.
Dave was twelve at the time of our Mexican adventure. According to Dave, still to this day, Little Pillow held magical powers of healing. Whether you needed to fall asleep or had a stomach ache, little pillow delivered…given the proper bodily placement of course. By the time we went to Cancun, however, none of us even wanted to be in the same room as Little Pillow. It was no longer a pillow. It was a Swiss cheese rag, although I doubt any of us would have had the courage to handle it in any capacity. If I’ve ever been close to flesh eating bacteria, it was residing on Little Pillow.
Grandad was a tidy, organized man. He grew up poor, working multiple jobs to support his family and to pay for his education. There was no waste in his life. Always neatly dressed and groomed, his car and home were nothing short of immaculate. So, when he saw Little Pillow sitting on Dave’s bed, it was only natural that he assumed the maid left behind a cleaning rag, which obviously belonged in the trash. I’d like to imagine that he stepped behind the line and shot a three pointer into the garbage basket, but more than likely he simply found a way to get Little Pillow into the garbage without having it touch his skin.
Later that evening, when Dave realized Little Pillow was missing, the dots were quickly connected. Forget healing his indigestion from dinner, we were thrust into a family-wide code red where the very existence of Little Pillow was in doubt. Dave was distraught. Not even the site of naked German sunbathers could cheer him up.
No one on the staff could help, no matter how loudly my dad spoke to them.
Mom and Dad did everything they could, unfortunately picking through garbage at a Mexican resort has its limits. No one on the staff could help, no matter how loudly my dad spoke to them. Even if he could have spoken Spanish, “Almohada Pequena” was lost forever. Adios, amigo.
Grandad felt awful, but there was nothing anyone could do. Dave was forced out of his lovey phase in the cruelest of fashions, on vacation nonetheless. Maybe it was meant to be, and twelve was probably the outer limits of lovey attachment. We had certainly spent ample time teasing him about the state of his lovey prior. At some point Little Pillow had to be terminated. It was only a matter of time before the CDC quarantined our house.
If Heaven is indeed for real, I have no doubt that Grandad is waiting there for Dave with Little Pillow. Not the toxic rag version of Little Pillow, but Little Pillow in its lovey prime; fluffy, robust and ready to heal.