Patsy Porco

The Case of the Missing Eggplants

In gardening, Humor on August 6, 2018 at 1:06 am

I was so proud of my garden this year. I had managed to grow eggplants, which I’ve never been able to do in the past.

This summer, I had at least 20 eggplants growing on two plants. They were small and didn’t seem to be getting any bigger so, a few days ago, I fed them plant food and waited.

Today, I went to check on them … and they were gone. One-hundred-percent missing. There wasn’t a trace of them. It was as if they had never existed.

Do eggplants regularly disappear? That would explain why I could never grow them. Maybe, in past years, they were there before I saw them and had vanished by the time I started looking for them.

Their giant leaves still exist, though. Only the eggplants are gone. We don’t have deer, just rabbits and squirrels. But even if they ate them, there’d be evidence, e.g., partly eaten eggplants lying all over the ground.

This is very perplexing. But, then again, so is my zucchini situation.

Everyone who grows zucchini says that they’re overwhelmed by the abundance of their harvest. I grew two zucchini. Two. I have several enormous plants that look very healthy but they don’t have any zucchini growing from them now that I picked the two that grew. I’m beginning to wonder if my zucchini disappeared, too.

My strawberries vanish regularly, but I blame that on birds. But I can’t blame birds for everything. Eggplants and zucchini wouldn’t fit in bird beaks, unless they were vulture beaks. I haven’t seen any vultures in my garden, though. If I did, I would have certainly taken a picture.

Speaking of pictures, I should have taken some of my eggplants—just to prove that they did exist and that I didn’t dream that I grew them.

The line between my real life and my dream life has been getting blurry lately.


Bye Bye


(Note to Grammar Purists: The plural of eggplant can be eggplant or eggplants. I didn’t understand the rule regarding when to use the former and when to use the latter, so I chose to use “eggplants” at every mention. Zucchini is the plural of zucchini.)



A Day at the Beach

In Humor on July 29, 2018 at 11:55 pm

Today was the first day I went to the beach this summer. I live along the Connecticut coastline and every town has its own beach, mine included, so I could have gone every single summer weekend, and even some weeknights, if I had wanted to. And I did want to. But the thought of packing a bag with everything I’d need, putting on sunscreen, carrying a beach chair, and driving to the beach always seemed like too much trouble.

But, today, I was determined to take advantage of our beautiful Calf Pasture Beach, so I gathered everything I’d need and drove the 4 miles to get there. The beach was packed, but there was still plenty of room on the sand for everyone. The sky was clear, the temperature was in the mid-80s, and the water was refreshingly cool, but not cold. It was a perfect beach day.

For two hours, I sunbathed, took dips in the Long Island Sound to cool off, bought an ice cream cone, and read. I sat as close to the water as I could, without getting wet.

While I was reading, I heard someone speaking very loudly. I looked over at the sound and saw an older man floating on his back in the very shallow water not far from the sand. I realized that it was the man who was speaking, and he was shouting the same words over and over at a young woman who stood near him in the water. I didn’t know what he was saying to her because he wasn’t speaking English.  The woman looked at him with no expression and walked away. When she passed me, I asked her if everything was okay. She told me that everything was fine and thanked me for my concern.

I decided that the man was probably unstable, so I went back to the book I was reading. After a few minutes, I heard a noise and looked over towards the water. The man was still floating on his back in the shallow water and was again yelling at someone, but now the tone of his voice had changed — to one of agony. I looked a little closer and noticed that he was talking to the same young woman who had acted like she didn’t know him. She had returned and appeared to be dragging the man out of the water by one leg, which only made him scream louder. This just seemed too odd to ignore, so I got up and went over to them.

I asked if I could help and the man said, “YES” or something that started with “Y” and seemed affirmative. The young woman shrugged. I grabbed the man’s other leg and started to help the woman pull him out. This maneuver caused his head to descend lower into the water, which lapped over his face, making him choke and gag. Since preventing him from drowning seemed more important than pulling him out of the three inches of water he was lying in, I dropped his leg and elevated his head with my hand. Meanwhile, the young woman continued to hold his leg. She didn’t seem to be pulling anymore, just standing still with his leg in her hands. I suggested that she put down his leg so the man could try to sit up. He nodded in agreement. Once both of his legs were on the ground, we tried to help him into a sitting position. He cried out in pain and fell backwards. I grabbed his head again and kept it above the water.

At this point, a lot of things happened at once. A man came over and asked if he should call the lifeguard. I said yes. The lifeguard came running over from her chair. She was blonde, fit, very cute, and useless. “My supervisor will be right over,” she said.

While we waited for the supervisor to arrive, another woman came running over to see what was going on. She said she was an EMT and then started demanding answers to standard EMT questions: “What’s the man’s name? How old is he? Does he have a heart condition?” I had no idea. I looked over to ask the young woman if she knew anything, but she was gone. A crowd was assembling and she had retreated to the back of it.  I ran over to her and said, “Do you know this man?

“Yes,” she said. “He’s my father-in-law.”

Her father-in-law? I had so many questions for her, but this wasn’t the time. “What’s wrong with him?” I asked.

“He has a cramp in his leg,” she said.

“You’d better get back over there and answer some questions about him,” I said.

She looked like she was thinking over her options. “Go!” I said.

She strolled over to the EMT. Just then a bunch of teenaged lifeguards arrived in a Jeep. They jumped out and grabbed the man’s arms and legs and started to pull him out of the water. He started screaming again.

The EMT, who had managed to extract answers from the young woman, said, “He’s 65 and he says he has a leg cramp. I think it’s more than that,” she said. “Maybe a blood clot.”

I had to agree that it seemed more serious than a leg cramp, since he couldn’t sit up without howling his head off. But it was out of my hands now. I went back to my chair and watched as the lifeguards and EMT slid a surfboard under the man and carried him off like pallbearers at a beach funeral.

Once the excitement was over, the crowd dispersed.

I decided that it was a good time for me to leave, as well. A person can only take so much relaxation in one day.


Calf Pasture Beach, Norwalk, CT




Medical Karma

In colonoscopy, Humor on July 25, 2018 at 7:07 pm

I had a terrible sinus headache today. I also had an appointment to meet the doctor who would be performing my colonoscopy. He is in the same practice as my primary-care physician (medical lingo for “regular doctor”) but he’s a specialist and I had never met him before.

After the nurse had escorted me into a little room and had measured my weight and blood pressure, she left me alone after assuring me that the doctor would be with me shortly. Judging from my experience, I sincerely doubted it. So, I lay down on the white paper on the vinyl bed and closed my eyes.

The lights in the room were motion-activated and, since I wasn’t moving, they went off. That suited me fine because my head was pounding and light exacerbates my headaches.

After awhile – a long while – the door opened. I shot up into a sitting position and the lights went on. The doctor grabbed at his heart.

“Oh my God!” he said.

“What?” I asked.

“You scared me to death,” he said.

“I did?” I said. “Why?”

“I thought you were dead,” he said, shaking his head. “I walked into a room that was pitch black and saw you lying on the table. And then you popped up and the lights came on.”

He reached behind himself to make sure there was a chair, and sat down and put his head in his hands.

I laughed. And laughed. “You really thought I was dead?”

He took his head out of his hands and managed to produce a shaky chuckle. “You have to see it from my point of view. When I work at the hospital, I occasionally walk into a room and encounter a dead person. You were lying with your hands crossed over your chest in a dark room. What else would I think?”

“Wow,” I responded. “Did you ever find a dead person in one of your consultation rooms before?”

“No.” He shook his head. “But there’s a first time for everything.”

“I’m sorry I alarmed you,” I said.

“You scared the crap out me,” he said. “By the way, nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you, too,” I said.

Later, when I was being given instructions on how to prepare for my colonoscopy, I thought it was only fair that I got to scare the crap out of him – considering what the horrible-tasting liquid he prescribed was going to do to me.

Dr. Sammarco





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