About 2 weeks ago I made an appointment to take very custom designs and bolts of expensive textiles to the commercial fabricators workroom. They are in a big old building on the short side of the square downtown. This place does lots of high end custom bedding ensembles, window treatments and the like. Whatever designers envision and produce fabrication drawings or specifications for these folks can make. Big name designers from Hilton Head, Atlanta, Charlotte,
Savannah and all the tres expensive developments of the lake-mountain-golf gated communities scattered across the borders of North and South Carolina use these fabricators.
They are in the third generation of the family business. They are accomplished pros.
A few years ago one of the daughters , "BeBe", went back to university to earn a business degree. She grew up in this business so she knew how to run the workrooms and the installation schedules, etc. She felt a bit under qualified to take over as the new CEO so she went forth to prepare. She also has a daughter, "CeCe" about two and a half years old. This child has a playroom area within the workroom and is looked after by pretty much all the staff and her Granny. Most of us who use this workroom have watched this child grow from about 2 weeks old to the present. She is a delightful little girl with a spritely personality.
So on the appointed day I wrestled fabric bolts though the front door only to encounter lots of screaming and chaos. It seems Granny had just boiled up some chicken noodle soup for CeCe's lunch. She had put the steaming bowl on the table before getting her settled in her highchair. Somehow the bowl of soup got turned over onto the child's foot where the boiling hot noodles stuck to the flesh and oozed between her toes . Tender flesh burns easily and this child's entire foot was scalded red and the top of the arch was forming into one huge blister. And she was screaming.
I would scream too.
Rightfully, this emergency was going to bump my appointment. So I stacked the bolts in a bay and went on back to the breakroom where Bebe was waving to me like a traffic cop. I always interact with this child when I am at their business, we have a fun, silly, playful relationship. I like kids and generally they like me back. If her mother thought I would be a diversion she was certainly mistaken. CeCe just looked at me and howled louder. I got close enough to take a good look at the foot and asked,
" BeBe, do you need me to drive y'all to the doctor or the ER?"
" No, I think we will be fine here"
" Bebe, this is a first degree burn and between her toes, I think second degree.
Clearly she is in a lot of pain so come on I'll be happy to drive while you hold the baby."
" Thanks Fishy but we've already asked the Red Brothers to send for the Fire Talker"
" The what!"
" The Fire Talker"
" Well damn BeBe, lets us take the baby to get some help while they talk"
" Fishy, do you not know about Fire Talkers? They are God's healers and when someone is hurt like this they come and say their chants and talk the fire out of the flesh."
I looked at this smart, capable, lovely woman and wondered if she was having one of those brain shut downs that happens to some folks in an emergency. It IS the year 2010 . While we do live in an area that was once part of the great Cherokee Nation I think most everybody knows science and medicine have progressed a good bit over the centuries.
" BeBe, are you saying you will NOT be seeking emergency help for this child? That you, an educated woman is going to stand there and let this child suffer while you wait for someone to come thru the door and talk the fire out of her?"
'Yes Fishy, that's exactly what I am doing. Maybe it's best if you go on back to your office as I can see this upsets you. But Fishy, I know this works. They also have Blood Talkers and Poison Talkers too."
I was terribly conflicted. I wanted to call 911 but it was clear this family would refuse treatment.
" Bebe, PLEASE let me take you and Cece to a doctor."
" No Fishy, we'll be just fine and the Fire Talker shouldn't be too much longer".
So I left and went around the corner to the Red Brothers Produce stand to see Bub. He told me to stop my worrying cause his brother Stump had gone to fetch the Fire Talker and all would be fine directly. He went on to explain the Fire Talker would wave her hands in the air over CeCe's foot and say the chants God gave to her tongue and the fire would exit the foot.
If you have a bleeding problem or blood sickness you call the Blood Talker.
If you get afoul of Poison Ivy , Poison Oak, nasty insects or venomous reptiles you call the Poison Talker.
I got in my car and exited the Twilight Zone.
I did say some prayers for Cece but to tell you the truth I felt terrible.
Surely a responsible person would have called Social Services or the police.
So this morning I was back at the workroom to check on my project. Cece was not there. She stays home these days while Granny looks after her. Bebe tells me CeCe is fine. She explained how the Fire Talker came and had to work hard but after about 15 minutes of waving and chanting Cece quit screaming and then slept for about 2 hours. The Fire talker came three more times. Of course, BeBe explained, they had also " treated" her burns with neosporin and she was now able to walk again, the dead skin was sloughing off just fine and she'd be wearing a shoe again in another week or so.
I mumbled something about the "good news" and moved on to other subjects.
As I drove away I offered up another prayer, " Please Lord, protect me from ever being burned, poisoned or Heaven forbid, bleeding in this place!"