WhatsApp the WhatsApp?

A never ending dialogue, like a never ending play. Life unfolding wondrously.

Photo by author

The attention grabbing photograph my dear sister Lucy sent us all.

I opened my WhatsApp from her and there was a white, freckled, subtly mottled though not at all overly so, aging hand, fingers clearly uncomfortably twisted. The unmistakable beginnings of arthritic pretzel twists so common with this affliction.

“Hey gang,” My sister said, “Please take a look at this pic and tell me what you think okay? I’m not really worried but I did want to get the siblings panel to give me your brilliant observations. What if anything might one do about this? After so many years working in medical clinics arthritis was one of those too common afflictions no one seemed to have solid answers for. Your take shall be much appreciated of course, only if you have the time guys. Love, Lucy.” She added “Dr. Lionel, what do you see?”

After reading her short note I was a little surprised by the picture.

Within the hour responses were coming in from our medium sized group of what we’ve rather proudly named ‘The Sibs Thing’ on WhatsApp.

First up was a professional response from none other than our very own surgeon, brother in law Lionel. Skillful verbal brevity, when he so chooses, is a gift he possesses, said “Ganglion cyst most likely…” I should hasten to add here that in truth this is as far as this inquest should have gone. After all, Lionel’s diagnosis was arguably the most knowledgeable and probably correct! The man is a lifelong surgeon specializing in all manner of body parts, primarily hands!

But given that we are a rather self-assured bunch, perhaps to a fault, such so that we might easily exhaust a given topic especially if it arrives in the form of an irresistible query. We as a group are incapable of side stepping an opportunity to expound upon an issue regardless what it may be. I dare say this could potentially include the finer points of scaling Everest’s south face to capturing and straddling Great Whites off the Australian coast. Things which arguably none of us has any knowledge of what so ever.

Oh, well of course! That’s just where the fun begins. Our trust and familial harmony engenders just this sort of freewheeling exchange. The degree of confidence we have when the talk is amongst our tight knit group is refreshing and often astounding. You want to know why Rome fell and why Caligula wasn’t really such a badass. You’ve come to the right info kiosk my friend. You wish to know why the Americans wreaked unbound havoc and destruction throughout Central America in the fifties and sixties because of bananas, yup, you need go no further.

Belly up amigo.

My first response was “Is there pain Lucy?” Confidently I fired off that first quip with ‘send’ as though to bring that particular start of my sharing off to a quick start. Immediately followed by “I am just seeing that your fingers are widely separated which is rather impressive. Again, powerfully, pressing ‘send’ as though the gem was too precious to mix with other perhaps not as creatively weighted commentary of mine. Quickly rejoining with a dismissive, though kind “Meditating! Bye!” As though this ‘sacred’ activity gives me a pass of some sort. Ah, Tom is meditating now, (them thinking), might it be like he’s diving into a place of deeper knowledge, even beyond that of Google?

Now that is funny. Particularly the very last two points in the above paragraph.

Brother Mark added to my comment about the ‘separated’ fingers. In this exclusive elders group Mark is our guitarist. “Actually Tommy your observation about the wide apart fingers; you’re quite right, guitarists will work very hard at stretching and getting a wider and fuller reach on the fret board. Lucy I wasn’t aware you were working with the guitar, good for you! But you have to go at it gently, so as not to strain.”

Peder asks knee jerk. “ Is it on the finger tip Lucy?” Coming from our older bro, when he shares his insights or questions we all quietly and sincerely nod in respectful agreement. This comes after a life of being mostly right in everything he’s done. Yes, there are such people, he being, such a one.

His words will carry enough weight such that a simple question of ‘on the fingertip…?’ will frequently engender amongst most of us inner questioning such as ‘Mm. Why the tip and not the middle knuckle, where is Pete (as I often call him) going with this?’

Sister Kari’s heart felt response goes: “ ‘Dr. Kari’, sees a precious band of gold representing many years of love.” In response to her husband Lionel’s comment.

It’s interesting how in such few words a WhatsApp participant can reveal his/her deeper side. Her sweet and sincere comment about the wedding band, ‘many years, of love’, is just, well, it’s Kari. If there were one skilled enough to dig deeper into to Karis inner world they would no doubt stumble over a solid bedrock of faith in goodness and all the best that religion has to offer.

A true practitioner.

Sister Janie waited a bit then said “Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I’m inclined to go with what our Doctor Lionel says. Have you had it checked out Lucy? Tommy you said that Helen has a finger or two that are doing that, a little tight? Your word was gnarly. Not sure I agree with that description though brother. Lucy, how much pain do you have?”

As is wont to do with my rather erudite and talkative sibs the thread wandered beyond cysts and painful arthritic disfigurement.

House repairs came up about too many Christmas lights and an electrical short, to go with slate roof tiles or a newer product? Bettys upcoming epic Thanksgiving gala at their Miami jungle redoubt. Flory’s ninetieth birthday next week. Brother Marks latest plan change in his globe circling bike trip. Where was brother Johnny born, Guatemala or was it Nicaragua? Janie’s newly published book of memoirs. On and on.

Such is the beauty of sibs sharing.

Lucy abruptly and efficiently pruned the energetic talk flow with. “Not my fingers guys, sorry! Thanks to all of you wise and wonderful ones. Thanks to Lionel and to all of you for chiming in! The picture is of my eighty two year old mother in laws hand.”

Well, as I said, I was surprised when I first saw the picture.



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Tom Jacobson

Tom Jacobson

Discovered the world of Medium some years ago. Amazing! Published first book, romantic adventure in Guatemala and Nicaragua, on Amazon. Title Lenka: Love Story.