Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Things He Repeats, Part Two

In an earlier post, I took you on a tour through my dad's repetitive questioning, due to his Alzheimer's Disease. Each month when I go to Indiana for a visit, the questions have slightly shifted. He keeps the most popular, such as "Candy, where do you call home?" and "Do you like it there?" and "Weren't you a valedictorian?" in his repertoire, drops a few, and adds others. There were two main characters in the latest new additions:

Dad: Candy, did you ever know Mutt Hickey?

Candy: Nope. Never did.

Dad: What ever happened to him?

Candy: I don't know, Dad. I never had the pleasure of meeting Mutt Hickey.



Dad: Say, did you know a guy by the name of Mutt Hickey?

I think you will agree with me when I say that "Mutt Hickey" is one of the most idiotic names ever spoken.

We do know that Mutt Hickey once existed, because I remember hearing my dad talking to a friend of his, Orville (now deceased), around 15 years ago about having known Mutt Hickey when they were young. (Apparently Mutt was not a member of Mensa.) So Mutt Hickey is not imaginary. But we can't locate even the slightest tidbit of information about him. My brother has googled himself numb over it.

It has become customary for me to change my answers to my dad's many questions, not only to offer a variety of responses with which to entertain him, but to keep my own brain from splattering like a robin's egg under a medicine ball.

Dad: Candy, do you remember Mutt Hickey?

Candy: Yep.

Dad: What ever happened to him?

Candy: He hauled off and died.

Dad: Oh? He did? How come?

Candy: It was just Mutt Hickey's time to go.

Dad: How come?

Candy: I don't know.

Dad: Whatever.

[Note: It has been my practice for years not to accept any whatever-ing from my father.}

Candy: WHAT did you just say to me?

Dad: Whatever.

Candy: WHAT?!

Dad: I said 'I don't know either.'

My favorite new line of questioning concerns an old, old bit of family history. Around 45 years ago, at a family gathering, my dad's Aunt Ida (Idie, as she was called) was in attendance with her toddler granddaughter, Nancy Ann. At some point during the day, Ida detected a foul smell and exclaimed "Nancy Ann! I think you've shit yerself!"

The framework for the questioning takes a familiar form.

Dad: Candy, did you know Nancy Ann?

We are sitting at the counter with my mother, eating lunch. Broccoli cheese soup and chicken salad croissants.

Candy: I heard about her once.

Dad: Did you know she shit herself?

Candy: Yes.

Dad: Where IS Nancy Ann?

I crumble crackers into my soup. My mother sips hers from her spoon.

Candy: I don't know where she is now.

He takes a bite of his croissant.

Dad: Nancy Ann shit herself. Did you know that?

Candy: I heard something to that effect.

I take a drink of ice water. Dad looks into his soup bowl as though it is a crystal ball. I wish I could go inside his mind just for a minute. Better yet, I wish he could come out.

Dad: Say, did you know Mutt Hickey?

Mom: I wish you had Mutt Hickey up your ass.

Dad: How come?

Sometimes it's hard to remember that "how come" is like a period on the end of Dad's sentences. He usually doesn't expect or even care to hear an answer.

Mom: Because I'm sick of hearing about MUTT HICKEY!

Dad: Whatever.

I let it go. I can't battle every single "whatever" he utters. It used to be an easier banter between us that he played with vigor. But he is losing interest.

Mom picks up the remote control and turns on the TV. Montel Williams is discussing his daily consumption of 64 ounces of vegetable juice. Then he says he's giving each audience member his favorite juicer to take home with them.

Mom: He's getting just like that damned Oprah. Buying people with all that shit he gives away.

Candy: I want to drown them both.

Dad is almost done with his soup.

Dad: Candy, did you know Nancy Ann?

Mom: Here we go again.

Dad: Did you? Did you know Nancy Ann?

Candy: Not very well.

Mom finishes off her croissant, wipes her mouth with a napkin.

Fifteen seconds of silence.

Dad: She shit herself.


  • At 7:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can't believe that there isn't one single 'Hickey' listed in the White Pages in the whole listing. No one to call to say, Hey do you have a relative named Mutt.

    Too bad.

    Great post. We missed you.

  • At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Where is everyone today? Out stumping for Obama or Hillary???

  • At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have decided that if I ever get a cat, I'm naming it Mutt Hickey. That is because I have a really cool name picked out for my dog. Plus, a cat named Mutt would be cool. I might even get another cat and name it Dew Hickey. Get it? HA!

    This post was funny and sad at the same time. It must be so frustrating to answer the same questions over and over. I imagine it just makes you and your mom feel more and more helpless, the worse it gets.

    I feel so bad for that kid that shit herself. You know those embarrassing things that happen to us in life, where our friends and loved ones tell us that in a week, or a month, nobody will even remember? This just goes to show that isn't true.

  • At 2:12 AM, Blogger JBelle said…

    I heard Mutt Hickey shit himself and Nancy Ann.

  • At 7:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I put a button up my nose in the first grade and had to have it removed by a doctor. People still remember that incident and tease me about it.

    Just cast my vote for Hillary here in good ol' IN. Sorry, Candy!

  • At 8:01 AM, Blogger Jerry said…

    I once knew a nurse named Benigna Hinkel, but I think Mutt Hickey is much cooler.

    I shit myself once also--when I was 59. You have to be careful when you are over 50; what appears to be harmless gas may be something more sinister in disguise.

    I suggest that when in public, you rein-in the gas passing; wait until you are in private--close to a fresh change of clothes.

    Be careful when talking with your father; manage your irritation. When he passes, you will punish yourself for any instance where you remember responding in a manner that in retrospect you feel was not kind and caring.

    All the wonderful, caring, and kind things you did will be diminished, but anything you did which your conscience can misrepresent as less than Messianic will attack you like a grizzly with cubs.

    After the fact, you will be inconsolable about not telling your dad that you married Mutt Hickey and lived happily ever after.

  • At 8:45 AM, Blogger Tony from the Bronx said…

    Don't know any Mutt Hicky but maybe he's referring to Royell Hickey down to French Lick? Royell went to his reward ‘round 19 and 82, but his wife, Minnie, still has the store, although the jawbreaker market has declined considerably. Lemon drops doing OK though, specially with the older folk. Lots find them succulent.

    Now, I don't know about you but I think that people should just get over Nancy Ann and her Embarrassment. Happened a long time ago and as we get a little older, well--it's not so bad nowadays what with Depends and that sort of thing. Science is a wonderful thing.

    Problem is that people just don’t remember the good things a person does. Did you know that Nancy Ann brought a covered dish over to the Carmelites first Sunday of every month? Even though she wasn’t of their persuasion. But only things people remember about her is that shitting thing. It’s unfair and unchristian. There’s lots who should think twice.

    Did you know that Minnie was Royell’s second wife? Lots around here recall that Royell married Lu Anne Prilliman when he got out of the Air Force. Well, it was all sheep’s’ eyes and hoochi coochi until the fire down to the lumber yard and Royell rushed home to get his grappling hook. Well sir, when he burst into the sleeping porch … but that’s another story altogether and one that does no one any credit as far as I can make out. Just a lot of gossip anyway. Which I don’t like to indulge in anymore than I have to.

  • At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Damn, my ear itches.

  • At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Edgar S. "Ed" Hickey
    Enshrined 1979
    Born: December 20, 1902
    Reynolds, NE
    Died: December 5, 1980

    During a prolific 35-year coaching career, noted perfectionist and strict disciplinarian Edgar "Eddie" Hickey was known as "The Little General." Hickey's briefcase was always jammed with diagrams and scouting reports, and the coach often drew plays in chalk right on the court. Hickey coached at Creighton, St. Louis University, and Marquette. His St. Louis team favored a three-lane fast break offense and, while at St. Louis, Hickey never had a losing season. He and Hall of Famer Ed Macauley led St. Louis to the 1948 NIT Title; the pair was known as "Mutt & Jeff." "Mutt" Hickey's devotion to basketball inspired him to write numerous basketball articles and conduct clinics in the United States and around the world.

    Now you know.

  • At 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's just all too weird. And difficult. Squint harder. Perhaps the family doctor could prescribe some medicine for everyone to take when they are around your dad so it isn't so hard. Better living (avoidance) through chemicals, I say.

  • At 9:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey! That student got a 100 on the six page short story about the mouse and guinea pig. Poor thing. It totally exhausted her.

  • At 10:00 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Holy crap. This place went all wonky while I was at work.

  • At 10:22 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Ana, it's not that hard being around my dad. We're just glad to have him in ANY condition. We make do. My mom is the one who hears the questions the most, of course. She has kicked my ass in sanity.

    CONGRATS on your student who puked up something readable!

  • At 10:23 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Belle, don't lie. That button up your nose was when we were college roommates.


    It's a politick-free zone.

  • At 10:24 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Pink This,

    HOW could I have missed this detail about Mutt Hickey? HOW?

  • At 10:27 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Jerry, you have figured out that Scott is actually Mutt Hickey. He wanted to stay in hiding, but it is not meant to be!

    "Be careful when talking with your father; manage your irritation. When he passes, you will punish yourself for any instance where you remember responding in a manner that in retrospect you feel was not kind and caring."

    Jerry, I truly don't get irritated with my dad, ever. I get worn out, but am always gentle with him. So is my mom. He knows her "I wish you had such-and-such up your ass" is my mom being playful.

    Unfortunately the remarks toward him that I WILL regret came out of my high school and college and early twenties mouth, and I've never stopped replaying them.

  • At 10:29 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Tony, I laughed from one end of that to the other. My new favorite phrase is "sleeping porch." French Lick was the perfect choice for Royell's hometown.

  • At 10:31 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    I'm sorry your ear itches. Is it yer good ear?

  • At 10:32 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…


    While that is a nice bio, it's not the Mutt Hickey we're looking for. What I do know about him is that he never left the very small Indiana town where I grew up, and that he was mildly retarded.

    But perhaps he reached a greatness of his own.

  • At 10:34 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    I can't believe I just wrote "That's not the Mutt Hickey we're looking for."

    There is more than one Mutt Hickey.


  • At 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's just fun to be controversial. Guess I will have to find a political blog somewhere but they are way too boring.

    No, I didn't put a button up my nose in college, Candy but let's just say a few other orfices were involved!!!! Not sure if I spelled orfices right-all you English teachers out there can correct me.

    Candy-how dare you go to work!
    We need you here!

    Jerry-I just can't stop thinking about your comments. I might have to put a change of clothes in my car just in case!!

  • At 1:18 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    "Unfortunately the remarks toward him that I WILL regret came out of my high school and college and early twenties mouth, and I've never stopped replaying them."

    Lord, isn't that the truth? And it stings all the more the older I get.

    Good stuff, though, to be utterly banal. All we have in the end is our kindness toward one another--I hope I'm so lucky.

  • At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Now that I've emptied an entire tissue box (from laughing so hard that I cried - and cried - and convulsed!), I have to comment on what I just read: Candy's conversation about Nancy Ann and Mutt Hickey. I actually think this script would be perfect for Saturday Night Live!
    It means even more to those of us who actually witness it - daily!!!
    Thanks for adding humor to my day - and I will keep an eye out for Mutt!!

  • At 7:59 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Belle, how dare YOU go to work when you could be in Phoenix visiting! I shun you!

  • At 8:00 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Mel, yes, yes, yes. The sting never goes away. Bleh.

  • At 8:01 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    "Anonymous" aka my sister,

    Thanks for stopping by. I can just see you in your usual convulsions. Hope you didn't slop your dripper.

  • At 6:34 AM, Blogger Carin said…

    Candy, I bet you could write a great book about this. You tell stories so well. Although it may be too painful. But you have a way of picking out seemingly ordinary exchanges that are awfully powerful.

    God, I wonder what trival experiences would rewind through my head if I had AL. Hopefully it wouldn't be dirty.

  • At 7:05 PM, Blogger Citlali said…

    love the "no whatevers" idea principle. very funny. please just don't share it my Sweetie. it's one of my favorite words... lol = ]


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