Healing Hands

If this summer had a soundtrack or a mixed-tape (for those of us who were teenagers of the 90’s), it would sound something like this…

“What are we going to do now?”

“Will you fix me something to eat? I’m hungry.”

“Is that it?”

“What else are we going to do?”

“I’m bored.”

For the remix version of my mixed-tape, it would be a barrage of



“Mom, come here!”


Regardless of the number of camps, baseball games, and Vacation Bible Schools my kids are involved in, it’s not enough. My “Mommy Stats” for this summer look something like this:

  • 250+ meals prepared (not including friends we’ve entertained)
  • 28 baseball practices
  • 23 pool days
  • 15 baseball games
  • 13 play-dates
  • 6 camps
  • 2 vacation bibles schools
  • 1 exhausted mommy

My kids should be more than entertained and content. Where have I gone wrong? To make matters worse, two of my kids are going through their “touchy” phase. If they are in my vicinity, their hands are on me—on my face, my arms, my legs. In fits (when experiencing claustrophobia) I yell, “Get your little grubby hands off me!”—as only a truly wonderful mother would.

Then, the best thing happened—my parents called to see if I wanted to come home for a few days ALL BY MYSELF. This was the mid-summer break I needed.

I made the drive from Fairhope, AL to Gulfport, MS on a Friday. My plan was to get to my parent’s in time for dinner, go shopping with mom on Saturday, have a delicious dinner at my favorite restaurant, meet up with some friends, go to church on Sunday and then head back.

Everything went according to plan until noon on Saturday when I approached my mom about going shopping.

“Brookie, I had another idea. I met the sweetest lady in the line at Sam’s Club yesterday while I was buying groceries. Her name is Myrtle and she is an extremely talented massage therapist. She runs her business from her house, and is a miracle worker with people under severe stress. I think after the crazy year you’ve had, you could use a nice long massage. There is no telling what kind of toxins you’ve built-up in your body,” she said with concern.

To know my mom is to love her. You can’t help it. She is brilliant and well read and good and sees the world through rose-colored glasses, but I have learned after a lifetime of receiving “Don’t worry Brookie, everything will work out” advice, that things didn’t always workout for me as easily as they did for her. Some people flit and float through life and others are occasionally kicked along the way—my mom was a floater. So being skeptical, I argued against it, but my mom already bought a 90-minute session. Like it or not, I was getting a massage.

I followed my mom’s directions and arrived at an old two story condo on the beach. The one car garage made up the 1st floor and the living space was above. I walked in the opened garage to ring the doorbell—per my instructions. Myrtle answered. She was a 5-foot tall woman in her late 50’s. She had a platinum b-hive, wore large, light purple glasses and a hot pink house robe that was barely tied around her thick waste. In one hand she had a cigarette, and in the other she carried a cat. I was immediately uncomfortable.

“I’m Brooke,” was all I could say as my mind raced to find a reason to leave.

“Hey Sugar,” she replied in a raspy voice. “Just follow me.”

She closed the garage door, and I followed her into the storage room off the garage. The little room had no sheetrock and housed all of her beach and yard paraphernalia. In the center was a piece of plywood that rested on cinder blocks. It was covered in egg-crate foam with a Snoopy sheet over it.

“Lay facedown Baby,” she coughed.

Surrounded by stray cats that “just seemed to find her,” Myrtle pulled up a folding chair. She sat down, grabbed her Homedics handheld massager and for 90-minutes, moved it up and down my back with one hand while smoking her cig with the other. At one point Myrtle began passing gas, this spurred on a story of her digestive issues. By the time her story was over (and I was close to vomiting) my time with her had come to a most welcomed end.

“Don’t forget to tell your friends about me. I’m in the Yeller Pages. My business is called Healing Hands.” Of course it is, I thought to myself. I stood up and began gathering my things as quickly as humanly possible, tripping over a beach chair with an obese cat in it. As I bolted, Myrtle said, “Tell your momma that she’s next.” I stopped abruptly, paused, and turned towards her.

“What a great idea, Myrtle,” I said with a devilish sincerity.

“She would absolutely love this.”


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