Not all sneezes are equal

I took Savannah out for her evening perambulation. There’s a lovely walking path that meanders nowhere … it just stops at the top of the rise and you can look down the valley and up the other side. I saw a deer in the valley – meh, I’ve seen them on the path much nearer and that’s way more scary. On the way back, I went to the mail room. The mail for the 524 apartments goes to a central mail room where we have a box. The mail room is on one side of the central square and the building in which we live is on another side. It’s a large square with huge oak trees in the middle and a fountain – just want to give you a sense of scale. We are talking a LONG way from the mail room door and our apartment. Cedric was sitting on the balcony – the 4th floor balcony. So we are talking vertical distance as well as horizontal here.

I came out of the mail room and heard a gigantic explosion. I immediately recognized it. It was followed by another, and then one more. I took my phone out of my pocket and dialed Cedric. When he answered, I said, “Bless you, bless you, bless you!”

Yes, I recognized his sneeze. It’s a unique sneeze. The intake of breath is equally as loud as the exhalation. I’ve never heard anyone sneeze quite so loud in any country. In fact, long ago when we were living in London, we used to go to Holland Park regularly. It was only a five-minute walk from where we lived and Londoners do love their parks. It’s a tradition to buy an ice cream in the park and sit on a bench and quickly lick the soft serve before it drips all over your knees. The benches round the central flower bed were packed with Londoners soaking up the sun. And the pigeons were strutting around and enjoying the ice cream dripping on the ground and squabbling over bits of cone. Suddenly, Cedric inhaled and I knew what was coming: one of his enormous sneezes. Every pigeon squawked and alighted into the air. When everyone realized what had disturbed London pigeons that are used to noisy London traffic and crowds, the place erupted in laughter. That’s when I knew Cedric had a sneeze like no other.

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