Pull out the anti-viral tissues and don’t forget to get your flu shot … we’re talkin’ cold and flu season this week. “So what exactly have you been takin’?” I asked our college son when he mentioned there was a cold emanating from swollen and drippy nasal passages. With Ricky studying for the past few years in Virginia, the long distance has certainly made it a challenge to personally deliver that keg-sized bowl of therapeutic chicken noodle soup to his dorm room. I am working on a solution to the problem though. There are serious negotiations going on with a local Virginia florist that puts together gift baskets for students. After all, their flyer does state they have a “talented and creative staff ready to custom prepare for any special occasion.” It was probably why a couple of years ago, I ordered their Exam Blues Buster basket for Ricky and his roommates. It came with chips, drinks, candy and oh yeah, fruit. Imagine that … fruit. What a nice touch, I remember thinking. It wasn’t until Ricky got home for the summer that I asked how the basket was. “Oh, it was great … except for the fruit. We chucked all the oranges out the dorm room window,” Ricky said. The next year, during final exams, I asked that the florist banish the fruit, to be replaced with extra chips and candy. “You won’t believe this but we got that very same reaction from a bunch of our other college parents. We would absolutely be happy to leave out the fruit,” said the florist taking my order. Yep, and now I’ve just about got the florist convinced to add a Get Well Basket right under the Exam Blues Buster on their flyer. A couple cans of broth soup, a gallon of ginger ale, saline nose spray, a get well card and a box of tissue in a lovely gift basket would make any occasional illness special, don’t ya think? But let us return to our post-nasal drippin’ son. “I haven’t taken anything yet. I went to the campus hospital, but they didn’t believe I was sick. They argue with me every time I go in there,” Ricky huffed. I remember hearing the details about the lad’s last major visit to the infirmary. I’m guessin’ Ricky was a sophomore when the last bite of someone’s Chinese food sealed his fate. They didn’t believe he was sick that time either. Ricky had eaten the last bite of one of his classmate’s kung kapowie chicken, and yep, that dude just happened to come down with a severe case of Mono the very next day. When Ricky started having symptoms some days later, he had to beg the nurse to perform a blood test to prove he wasn’t faking. Sure enough the test was positive. Ricky spent the next few days in the campus hospital. Geez, you’d think the incident woulda taught those nurses some kind of a lesson. “My roommate, Daniel, barely steps his big toe in the front door of the infirmary with a sniffle and he’s got three nurses fawning all other him. They pour on the sympathy and give him all kinds of medication like he is on the verge of death,” Ricky snipped. Well, you just have to know Daniel. He’s not like the other cadets at Virginia Military Institute. Nope … most look all lean in their crisply pressed uniforms. And you should see those stony-faced expressions marching in unison on the parade deck. Daniel, on the other hand, looks like the Pillsbury dough dude in the crowd with an extra squishy belly that you just want to poke so you can hear him say “tee-hee.” Yeah, and he’s got this baby face with the chubbiest of cheeks, which are always a lovely shade of pink. I suspect the nurses could be equating rosy cheeks with a fever, but I could be mistaken.   I tried to tell Ricky that perhaps being sick to one of those school nurses is one teaspoon symptoms, and nine tablespoons playing the part. Daniel is probably a very good actor and I’m bettin’ nine dollars Ricky is no Marlon Brando. He’s probably just not acting like he is all that sick. For a brief moment, I thought about suggesting Ricky send Daniel to the infirmary with a spiral notebook of Ricky’s symptoms, but quickly talked myself out of that scheme. One thing is for certain, if Ricky survives his current nose drippies, Mom has a mission when he steps off the plane for Thanksgiving break. We’re heading straight for the nearest flu shot location from the airport. Dixie Frantz is a Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past 12 years. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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