The Pearl, The Oracle, and the Scrubbing Brush

October 9th, 2008

It has been a while since I was strong enough to speak of the Oracle Known as Steve and the many, many things he has taught me over the years. Things like how to stand back and watch him as he takes over my kitchen and demands a whisk… no a better whisk… do you have a better whisk? Things like being on the Oracle’s team during huge family Thanksgiving Trivial Pursuit games when he will insist he knows the answer and I will insist he is wrong and he will insist he is right and even though I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is wrong, he will convince our entire team that he is right and then when his answer is wrong, it will be my fault for not being forceful enough in my argument.

I started learning things from the Oracle back when the Country Doctor and I were dating. In fact, the Country Doctor and I had our second date at the Oracle Known as Steve’s house. The Oracle was out of town and the Country Doctor invited me over to make dinner for him. Well.. he was actually going to make dinner for me, but I just kind of took over and then I demanded a whisk… no a better whisk… do you have a better whisk? At that point the Country Doctor realized that he was not dating his mother, he was dating his brother, and things kind of got weird, but then I forgot to put the ricotta cheese in the lasagna, and he was greatly relieved that he was not dating his brother, but just a spacey freak girl who worked in a health food co-op and had dreams of opening a theater in a barn that was surrounded by acres of wild flowers and the actors made honey during the day when they weren’t spinning wool into fantastic organic sweaters and caring for orphans and homeless people and writing books that made them all famous so that they could each build sweet little stone bungalows around the barn theater where they wrote and produced extremely compelling plays that made them even more famous and then they made quilts and fine linens and and sold eggs and had babies and loved nature and did a lot of modern dance steps and there was much frolicking and joy.

A few months after that dinner where I explained all my complex barn/theater/honey/quilts/famous/babies/dream, the Country Doctor (who was not yet a doctor but just a guy trying to decide whether or not to even go to medical school, but I will call him the Country Doctor just to make it easier) called me to tell me about an upcoming party.  The Oracle Known as Steve was throwing a huge post Missouri/KU football bash at his house and the CD wanted me to come.  I was kind of nervous about this gathering, because it would be the first time I would meet most of his family and also because it was a big party which was never really my kind of thing.  I went to a few massive parties my freshman year in college and quickly decided that it was not really something I was interested in.  I even crashed a party at the Lawrence Holidome with a bunch of girlfriends because we heard that Andrew McCarthy and Matt Dillon were going to be there and guess what!  They were there!  I even have a picture… somewhere… in some box of crap to prove it.  Still the whole red punch with vodka scene never appealed to me and I quickly found my niche with a small group of friends who preferred movies or just hanging out and being stupid to going to huge beer parties.  
Yes I know, I was a dork. 
The Oracle Known as Steve was renting a tiny house from an old lady named Pearl.  Normally I would say “elderly lady” or “grandmotherly type” but Pearl was an “old lady” in the truest sense.  She pestered the Oracle constantly.  She did not allow parties and kept a careful eye out for any unapproved overnight guests.  She drove the Oracle up the wall with her intrusive manner, but the house was cheap and the Oracle was not around much to be bothered by her so they managed to get along.
But the KU/Mizzou game was another matter.  The KU/Mizzou rivalry is even more ferocious than the KU/K-State rivalry for the Kansas Jayhawks.  It goes way back before the Civil War when Missouri was a slave state and Kansas was determined to enter the union as a free state. In order to prevent Kansas from becoming a free state, Missouri  put together a militia that came to Lawrence and ransacked a few buildings and set them on fire.  Shortly thereafter a free state lawmaker got beat up by a pro-slavery lawmaker in the capitol building followed by John Brown hacking a bunch of pro-slavery men to death with broad swords in a field, then there was more fighting and more death on both sides which is why Kansas is one of the reasons for the start of the Civil war and why it is often referred to as “Bleeding Kansas” in the history books.  Kansas hates Missouri, and Missouri hates Kansas and now this is all worked out each year on the football field and that game is celebrated a little more thirstily than others.
All of my clothes were weird back then.  (Not during the Civil War, during the early 1990′s).  I was going through my thrift store fashion period.  I preferred to think of it as “vintage” but it was really more “flea market”.  I was working in a health food co-op and at the Lawrence Arts Center and I did not need to look “normal” or “standard” in my work clothes.  In fact everyone I knew tended towards the bizarre in their apparel, or at the very least to granola-ish.  After much debate and the flinging of every item in my closet to the ground of my bedroom, I finally decided on a black pleated short skirt, a pair of dark opaque tights, and a pin striped men’s suit coat over a t-shirt.  I knew intuitively that this get-up was all wrong, but there was something in me that insisted that I had to be “me” with these people, and “me” was not a KU sweatshirt and a pair of jeans with a cute pair of Jayhawk earrings.  In fact, it still isn’t.  I still don’t own a single KU shirt.  But I have plenty of pairs of opaque tights!
I drove myself to the party and met the Country Doctor there.  The party was pretty uncomfortable for me.  The Country Doctor was glad I was there, but he was also determined to talk to every single person at the party, in a behavior I am now used to and refer to as “running for office”  He did not seem very worried if I was enjoying myself or had someone to talk to.  He just kind of left me and went off to “run for office” while I tried desperately to fade into the old lathe and plaster walls of Pearl’s house.  I talked to the Oracle a little and eventually met the rest of his family, none of whom were wearing opaque tights or men’s suit coats.  As the evening progressed and the kegs were drained, the party got rowdier and rowdier.  At one point a very nice-looking red headed guy who was wearing jeans and a cowboy shirt, which was at least somewhat unique garb for that crowd, grabbed me by the waist and spun me around the Oracle’s tiny dining room in an excellent swing dance to some traditional country tune.  The guy could really dance well and I had a great time with him but then he muttered something about his recent break-up with his fiancee and he left the party.  
A few minutes later I started hearing rumors that the Country Doctor was fighting someone on the lawn outside.  I went out and saw him wrestling some hulking dark mass to the ground.  I decided right then that it was time for me to go.  I furtively walked to my car wanting to quietly disappear without being noticed, but the Oracle saw me
leaving and begged me to take the Country Doctor home.  I didn’t know what to do, but figured it was better if I took him home than him driving himself home.  Seconds later the Oracle hauled his brother into my car and I drove him towards his house.  A few blocks down the road the Country Doctor looked up abruptly, shouted “Stop” threw open the car door and hurled all over the street and all over my car.  
After I dropped him off, I quickly determined that there was not much of a future for the Country Doctor and myself and I wondered how I could track down that cute swing dancing red head.
The next morning, the Country Doctor showed up at the health food co-op where I worked.  He looked pretty awful and was extremely apologetic.  He walked into the grocery store with a bucket of soapy water and a scrubbing brush.  In front of all the customers and employees he told me he was there to clean out my car.  And he did.  And I decided  I would give him one more chance.  One more.  Then I was going to find the red headed swing dancer.
The end.


  • Anonymous:

    As a Canadian thankyou for the history lesson :-) I am very happy that the states of Kansas and Missouri now only “fight” on the football field. But those football parties are very much like our “stanley cup hockey parties”. signedTheresa In AlbertaP.S. You CD was certainly a keeper! You have to love a man who will clean up after himself.

  • hayseed:

    Funny (and informative) post. Now I know what to call it when my husband hob-nobs with every person at a party, and ignores me. Running for office.

  • Sharon:

    My husband also ran for office. ;PSo cool he cleaned out your car and in front of everyone!

  • melissa:


  • Caution Flag:

    I’ve missed the oracle stories! (And I’m glad you didn’t find that red-headed dancer.)

  • Gladys:

    I too want to hear more Steve the Oracle stories. As for the Country Doctor, he would have had me at bucket of soapy water. :)I love your stories please keep them coming!OH and I know the feeling of big party meet the guy’s parents inappropriately dressed and all. I laughed until I snorted coffee up my nose!

  • Lori R:

    I knew the history but I didn’t know its relation to football–interesting! I’m glad CD figured out a way to redeem himself.

  • Rhea:

    That was the most long-winded, crazy re-telling I’ve ever read, and I loved every minute of it. You’re hilarious.And I love that he came to wash your car. What a keeper!!

  • Renovation Therapy:

    LOL!I really need to do the Fiance story where he got so sick & trashed I had to take him home and he promptly passed out in my bed…leaving me to sleep on the couch. Ahh…first dates.

  • April:

    Guys….funny how the ones who KNOW they’re idiots are the keepers! It’s the ones who are ignorant to their own idiocy that are the duds! :D

  • The Unconventional Doctor's Wife:

    That’s hilarious! Does he clean up after himself now? Hey, off the subject but you should check out my hub’s blog. I think that you and CD will relate. Ahh, life as a rural doctor…

  • The Unconventional Doctor's Wife:

    That’s hilarious! Does he clean up after himself now? Hey, off the subject but you should check out my hub’s blog. I think that you and CD will relate. Ahh, life as a rural doctor…

  • Beth:

    CDW, this was told beautifully as only you can. Ah, how I now so vividly remember that dating vomit story. I’m trying to forget it…. Thanks, a lot, Rechelle! Sheesh!

  • Anonymous:

    That is so funny. From the way you have depicted CD in the past, the fighing seems a bit out of character. Must have been the beer and excess testosterone taking over. Did you ever find the red-headed stranger?susan in houston

  • Cyndi B.:

    Being new to this blog, after I enjoyed today’s posting, I went back and read all posts related to The Oracle known as Steve. I’m now laughing so hard I’m crying. Great writing!!

  • Rechelle:

    The Country Doctor has a colorful past that involves more than one fight, in fact one of his front teeth has been replaced with a “fake” because of a bar fight. I am so glad he relaxes by planting trees these days.

  • Miss Brenda:

    Running for office? I like that. I have been married to the STP (small town pastor) for >25 years and I call his behavior 'working the room'.

  • muddywaters:

    I love your frenetic retelling of this story. It had a little bit of everything, violence, raucous drunkenness, and romance. It’s one for the ages.I’m a bit worried. I’m planning on attending a gathering this weekend hosted by The Oracle. I known there will be a bonfire and whiskey. Should I anticipate violence? I’m a quiet, peace-loving guy who likes to avoid violence. Maybe I should change my plans.

  • noble pig:

    That is the sweetest love story ever….like ever.

  • Far Side of Fifty:

    Funny how things work out..great story:)

  • Anonymous:

    Ha, Ha, Ha!!! Funny stuff!

  • Rechelle:

    Muddy – are you seriously going to the Oracle’s party? Because unless I can invent a legitimate excuse not to show, I will see you there!

  • Clayvessel:

    Will you be continuing this harlequin saga? You could call it “Opaque Tights to On-Call Nights” or “Flea Market Chic to Farm House..”…uh, Geek? Creek. or something.Does everyone have a dating/hurling story? In mine, I did the hurling on the floor of future dh’s convertible. Flu not booze. He did the clean up. That’s why I married him.

  • muddywaters:

    I’ll be there early in the afternoon. The Oracle informed me that I would have to sign a waiver if I stay after 9:00 PM. I guess, that’s when the whiskey consumption, violent politcal debates, and wrestling reaches a crescendo. I am glad that there will be fire. I’m bringing my camera to document this ritual.Take care,muddywaters

  • Rechelle:

    Opaque Tights to On Call Nights! Brilliant! I love the way it just rolls off the tongue.

  • April:

    Hey, did you forget to tell us more about Pearl? I want to know more about her.

  • Anonymous:

    If I wasn’t at this party, how could I possibly validate the accuracy of Rechelle’s recollection? Because I married the Country Doctor’s little sister, and I have seen the video!!! All. 5. Hours.Great stuff, Rechelle.JJB

  • Anonymous:

    Dee from TennesseeGreat post!

  • Jenni:

    I love how your posts sometimes wander all over the place. It makes me feel like I’m having a conversation with myself and I am quite comfortable talking to myself since I have been doing it for a little over 36 years now. However! There were about 50 things I was going to respond to in this post, and though I cannot remember all of them now, I will try. 1) My husband is constantly “running for office” too. I’m too shy to try wandering off and dancing with other guys though. Plus, there usually is no danceable music playing when he is “running for office”.2) I love thrift stores. I used to greatly admire Andie from Pretty in Pink for her very cool and thrifty fashion sense. Now I wonder what I saw in the granny style, but I still buy most of my clothes from thrift stores and garage sales and probably look like I’m wearing costumes rather than outfits half the time.3) I do not know any interpretive dance steps and have no desire to act or become famous, but I would love to join your hippie/artsy commune. Will you teach me to grow my own vegetables? You must know how because you work in a garden center, right?