My brother Jim calls me. He is hysterical. He has been trying to get county approval to open a restaurant and it has taken almost a year with no resolution in sight.

“My blood pressure was 220/125 at the doctor’s office,” he tells me. They wouldn’t even let me leave until it lowered.”

“Oh my gosh,” I shout. “We can’t have both our brothers going down!”

“I’m out of money and the county is killing me,” he says. “Venus, you have to help me.”

“What can I do?”

“You’re good at going into people’s heads. You have to go into this man’s head at the county and tell him to approve the plans or to at least look at them. He’s had the plans for months and I can’t get any response from him.”

He gives me the man’s name and no, he has never seen him, met him or talked with him on the phone.

“You don’t make it easy,” I say.

“Please Venus, please,” my brother begs.

I tell him I am not a Wonder Worker, that I can only put (good) things in people’s heads and it is up to them to act on them, or not.

My brother whines and snuffles.

“OK,” I say. “I will give it a go.”

The next day my brother calls.

“It worked Venus! He took action! But, he passed the plans back to The Horrible Woman Who had them for months before this; to The Woman Who Hates Me.

“She says, there are eighteen more things wrong and that it will take months and months to get the plans approved. They are all petty things. She hates me.”

“Have you met her?”

“No, but, she hates me. You have to get her to be reasonable. You have to get her to pass the plans, like right away.”

I sigh.

“OK. I will work on it.”

I do.

Jim calls me the next day, frantic.
“You did it, Venus. You got her to take action, but she found even more things wrong with the plan and she says it will take even more months to fix and maybe get her approval!”

I sigh.

“You gotta’ help me, Venus. I’m outta’ money.”

“Jim,” I say, “I put really good thoughts into her head to move this along really fast and for whatever reason she did. It’s not what you wanted to hear, but she did move quickly. I also said things like ‘God willing, and let the best thing work out for Jim.’ Maybe, somehow, the best is working out.”

“The doctor told me to stop drinking coffee because it raises blood pressure,” Jim says. “I did. Now, I have a terrible blood pressure headache and I keep throwing up.”

Our sister Polly thinks maybe he is ready to have a stroke.
She sends him immediately to chat with her husband, Ron The Doctor who is at the moment at our mother’s house.
Jim throws up when he sees him.
Dr. Ron determines that Jim is having the worst coffee withdrawal he has ever seen. Our mother makes him a pot of coffee.

The next day, I pick up a message on my cell. It’s Jim.

“Oh, this is terrible. Terrible. The Woman Who Hates Me has found even more complaints about the restaurant plans. She says she will defy her boss to get her way. You have to work on this Venus!”

I go to the next message.

It’s Jim, again. “Oh! You won’t believe it but the Woman Who Hates Me? Her boss just called me and says we will all meet with other planners in a week and he promises my plans will be passed!
Venus, I know you did this and you will get as many free meals as you want at my restaurant!”

Well, maybe I did it, and maybe not.

This is my generally hysterical brother.
My other brother Art, who has been having the acute leukemia, is a year younger then Jim.
The two brothers are entirely different. Jim is high strung and Art is mellow. They are quite a unique pair.

My sister Candy is the youngest in the family and she isn’t all that young! She is also a tall, blonde Amazon that makes men quake with delight.

Today, she decides to clean out Mother’s block building and the shed and the huge outdoor storage container. I ask her what is wrong with her.

She wants to know if any of us sisters can help her. We all beg off. You would, too. Mother has stuff in there from sixty and more years ago. In fact, just a few days ago, I found Mom sitting in her house in a pile of shredded paper. She had boxes of papers circled around her that were all mildewed, moldy, tattered, rat eaten and yellowed and browned.

“Mom!” I rasped, “What is this?”

“It’s your father’s and my tax returns from the time we married through to this year.”

Mom married in 1944.
I had to sit down.

I tell Candy that I will bring her lunch, and I will do anything else she wants but I know I can’t deal with all the horrid stuff that is crammed into black widows nests and racks of rotten boxes and rusted somethings. She will have to do the cleaning without me.

Candy says, “Fine. Just keep Mother away from me so I can toss everything. I’ve got my husband’s huge truck here and I am going to take truck loads to the dump.”

Before I can hustle Mom off, her black dog, Becky gets loose from the yard and takes off across the wide fields, heading for the highway.

I now get a good, long run built into my day which I expect is great for my health, but by the time I nab the dog, I am really annoyed. Then, I have to drag Becky home, through the fields, tripping in squirrel holes all the way.

I’m filthy now, and sweaty and pissy, but I drive Mother up town to the coffee shop where we can keep an eye on my brother Arthur. (If you read my blog, you know I am keeping an eye on him.)

Mother loves mocha coffee with whipped cream and I keep her supplied. She eats some soup. We visit with Art and his wife and other people who stop by.

Art tells us this.
“A day or two after I got to the hospital, I knew I was dying.

“Late in the night, a woman came in to see me. I thought she was a nurse, but she didn’t take any vitals. All I could see in the dark was that she seemed to have dark hair.
She said, ‘I’ve seen a lot of miracles happen to people who have cancer. You can have a miracle happen to you, too.’
She leaned over me and said, ‘You have to stay positive. You have to stay up. You can’t let in any negativity. If you stay positive, a miracle will happen for you, too. You will see.'”

Arthur adds, “I never saw her, again. I think maybe she was an angel.”

Mom and I are elated.

Art continues, “Venus, when you had the priests in India praying for me, I kept seeing wisps of energy in the room.”

He leans closer to Mom and me.
“And one night, I woke up and someone was rubbing the pressure points on my feet. I opened my eyes and no one was there. But, someone was pushing on various spots on my feet. And, I felt a lot of energy in my chest, and someone was hugging me.”

We all continue to chat and and eat and drink and I keep Mother away from her house for as long as I can. After four hours both she and I are flagging. Finally, she tells me she has to go home and take a nap.

We wheel into Mom’s drive. Thank goodness, Candy is gone and hopefully sixty years of stuff has left with her. Mom seems too tired to care.

I leave Mom at her house, drive down the road to mine, walk into the house and fall onto my bed.

My family wears me out.
I sleep for an hour.

WINNER OF A 15 MINUTE FREE PHONE SESSION WITH VENUS *Natascha Jensen. OFFER GOOD THROUGH OCT 23RD, 2008. After that, null and void.

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