64. A Love Affair with Sausage

64. A Love Affair with Sausage

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters

A Love Affair with Sausage

Doctor, do you think it could have been the sausage?

~Paul Claudel

My brother Gary had a love affair with sausage. From his first tiny nibble as a baby with three front teeth until he started school in the first grade, Gary’s love of sausage was intense and passionate.

Most children have a favorite teddy bear or blankie they drag around throughout the day and without which they cannot sleep at night. Gary’s passion was sausage. He wanted to eat it. He wanted to carry it around during his waking hours, and he wanted to sleep with it at night.

Night after night, the routine never varied. The only way to get him to bed was to let him cuddle up with a two-pound roll of raw, uncooked sausage, which was stuffed into a thin gauzy casing and wrapped in white butcher paper.

My mama tried without success to substitute stuffed animals, toys, blankets, or quilts, but to no avail. Gary stood in his baby bed, one hand on the rail, crocodile tears rolling down his cheeks, his other hand reaching and grabbing toward the doorway, gesturing and crying, “’ont sausage.”

My mama finally conceded and placed the roll of uncooked sausage in his little arms. A wide smile appeared on his wet face, and he lay down without being told. Sausage to neck, he fell asleep immediately and never made another sound throughout the night.

What can it hurt, my mama thought, if he snuggles with the sausage for a little while? She and Daddy tried to remember to pull the sausage from his grip before they went to bed. Many times, however, when Daddy opened the refrigerator the next morning to get the sausage, it was not there. He would have to tiptoe into Gary’s room where he found, more often than not, that Gary had laid on the sausage during the night, flattened it out, and wet on it repeatedly. Often, the butcher paper had come completely off, and raw sausage had been squashed out of the thin gauzy bag.

There were no disposable diapers in the 1940s. There were only cloth diapers and rubber sheets to puddle the pee.

Surely it can’t hurt us, my mama reasoned. Cooking kills germs. So my parents cooked the sausage that Gary snuggled up to, slept with, and wet on.

For years, we teased my brother about sleeping with and wetting on the sausage. He always got the last word, though.

“I slept with it and wet on it,” he admitted, “but the rest of you ate it!”

~Judy Lee Green

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