The Case of the Brown-haired Taliban Condor 90

Oh, the stories we tell…

Life has become a mystery novel. My parents turned me into Nancy Drew who must solve, ‘The Case of What in the World?’. I’m not sure which was scarier: my parents might live in an alternate reality where they made up stuff that meant real things, talked in an alien code, or that I actually understood what they meant.

            When I was young, I was blessed with two parents who read to me. Mom kept to the script in front of her. When she said, “Don’t ride past Ms. Sarah’s mailbox. Remember what happened to Peter Rabbit?” I understood what she meant. If I rode my bike further than the mailbox, a mad man might chase me with a hoe, and I’d be grounded for life.

            Mom was a code talker. You had to figure what she meant, sometimes without clues.

            “Did you get that thing for the thing?” Mom said.

            Holmes, Watson, and the CIA would’ve had a tough time cracking that statement. What Mom wanted to know was did I get the battery for her watch.

            “Remember the brown-haired girl who came from a large family” put all my deductive powers into full Nancy mode. Mom wanted to pinpoint someone from forty years ago from a vast neighborhood that produced only two blonde girls, my sister and best friend Brenda. The rest of us girls blended in with hair the color of mouse fur because purple and blue hair dye hadn’t been invented yet. After naming nine girls, ‘The Case of the Brown-Haired Girl with Many Siblings’ became a cold case.

            Dad never kept to what was written in storybooks. He embellished, a lot. I grew up believing that the little engine made it over the hill because Farmer Brown’s talking dog gave it a push. Then the train and the dog shared a lunch of peanut butter sandwiches and apples. Many stories from my youth were cause for confusion when discussed with my peers.

            With this in mind, it was important that someone accompany Dad on doctor visits. During Covid-19, visitors were restricted. Doctor appointments turned into ‘The Case of What in the Hell is Dad Talking About?’.

            After one such visit, Dad said, “You need to stop at the pharmacy. The doctor said I need to wrap my toe with Taliban tape.”

            “Taliban tape? Are you sure?” I said.

            “That’s what she said, Taliban tape. Vets use it on dogs.”

            If I understood Dad correctly, a fundamentalist Muslim political/religious movement and military organization in Afghanistan made tape for toes and for dogs too. In deducing what Taliban tape really was, good resources were imperative.

            I called my daughter, a pharmacy technician. “Pap needs Taliban tape for his toe.”

            “I’ll get back to you.” She said.

            After a laugh with the pharmacy department, my daughter figured her Pap needed an overwrap for securing dressings and compression referred to as Coban tape.

            “Taliban, Coban what’s the difference? I can’t wait for this Condor 90 to be over.” Dad said.

            Condor 90? Condors are bald headed vultures with nine-and-a-half-foot wing spans. Did Dad mean there were only 90 Condors left? Nope. Dad wasn’t talking about nearly extinct bald birds.

            Kessel, the brown-haired girl’s last name was Kessel. Her first name wasn’t Margie, Mary, or Karen, but the only girl from the family whose name I couldn’t remember. Case semi solved.

            Life without Taliban tape, brown-haired girls, and Covid-19 (Condor 90 if talking to my dad) would be less mysterious, but still amusing no doubt. My power of reasoning deduced that I was lucky to have great parents who taught me the value of a good story and a hearty laugh.

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