(Another story from my miraculous Okie ‘Merican vacation)
Twenty-five years ago, I was sitting in a maternity “hospital” in Alexandria, Virginia, waiting for the missus to deliver our son, Eli.
I actually thought we were in an examination room, because it looked like an Embassy Suite.
I was sitting on a plush couch, talking on the phone to the insurance company, as required, when the baby doctor looked at me and said all nonchalant-like: “We’re ready to have the baby. You want to join us?”
My immediate thoughts were: “Are you INSANE? This room is not sterile! Where are all the doctors and nurses in masks and gowns? We are NOT having my baby in here. WHERE IS THE REAL HOSPITAL?”
I’ve just finished my greatest vacation, ever, which was filled with miracles and beeg fun and TexMex.
How great? Let me count just 10 ways.
1. That egg-sized tumor in the brain of my best buddy’s adult son actually turned out to be the size of a baseball. It was removed on June 18 at Houston’s M.D. Anderson, and this young man walked out of the hospital on June 20, with no side effects or any need for chemo or radiation. Honestly, I’ve been around a lot of miracles, but nothing, nothing, like this. Thank you, Lord.
2. 72 hours later, I was back in OKC. My grand-niece, Claire, had decided to make an early splashdown in honor of her Great Uncle’s visit. All 5 pounds, 11 ounces of her was wonderful, beautiful and perfect. Thank you, Lord. (Prepare for another blog on this).
3. My buddy (see item 1) now calls me “Miss Congeniality” because it seemed like everyone at our 40th Norman High School reunion wanted to say hello to a felluh who had been away for 40 years. It was sort of a surprise and really, really good stuff. Thank you, Lord.
4. My grand-niece’s early splashdown (see item 2) allowed her Mom to donate her maternity pants to me, which were essential to my relentless assault on the state’s supply of TexMex. I didn’t quite meet my goal of weighing 900 pounds when I left ’Merica, but I was no more than an enchilada short. Thank you, Lord!
The longer you live overseas, the less you feel tethered to the American mothership.
This month, I’ve been overseas for 20 years, and I’ve missed so much.
To put this into perspective… I was in New Zealand, half a world away from America, when:
– The Murrah Building was bombed
– Gulf War II was launched
– The horrific 9/11 attacks happened.
Because I was not on home soil when America was attacked — first by our own crazies in OKC and then by jihadders in NYC and Washington, D.C. — I never felt “personally” threatened. Those two hideous events were not directly — emotionally or intellectually — encoded into my “threat” DNA.
So I am different. I will never be able to think, or more importantly, to feel, like most Americans, especially on matters of terrorism and national security, because they were attacked on the very soil they were standing on.
I was not. I was standing on New Zealand soil. And that made a big difference.
It was announced today that the most successful professional sports team in history is headed your way, at least if you live in Chicago.
The legendary New Zealand All Blacks are playing the USA Eagles in an historic “test match” at Soldier Field on November 1.
We are sure the news has Mike Ditka turning over in his grave, whether he is dead or not, because rugby is just not ‘Merican.
Still, there are some things to like about the sport, especially the bumper stickers that OU fraternity members had on their cars in 1974:
- Rugby Players Eat Their Dead
- Rugby Players Have Leather Balls
- Give Blood, Play Rugby
After 23 years in rugby-mad New Zealand, I still have not come to grips with the finer points of the game. But I have picked up a few things that might be of help if you’re planning on watching the “AB’s” play a “test match” in “Chicago”.
1. Rugby players do not really eat their dead. They just tape their ears down, towel off the blood and brain matter, and bury them in a “scrum”.
Wanda June Moore
One of my most treasured inheritances from Mom is a photocopied poem, surrounded by a hand-made sussy purple oval, held in a clunky, old wooden frame.
The poem is by Jenny Joseph. It’s not long:
“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me. And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter. I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells And run my stick along the public railings And make up for the sobriety of my youth. I shall go out in my slippers in the rain And pick flowers in other people’s gardens And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat And eat three pounds of sausages at a go Or only bread and pickle for a week And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry And pay our rent and not swear in the street And set a good example for the children. We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now? So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
I love that poem, and the fact that it meant so much to Mom.
(This happy Moosedawg story is republished because it went missing from the blog, for some technoid reason. FYI, the Moosedawg had to be put down last year. Sniff).
Don’t get me wrong.
I still love the 13-year-old Moosedawg. His deaf ears. His cataract eyes. His enormous tumor. And his big ol’ heart.
It’s just that, lately, I’ve wanted to kill him.
He’s not quite incontinent. But he is likely to poop anywhere at any time once he gets outside. On at least three occasions in the last two weeks, he has pooped on the sidewalk.
That’s not the bad news.
The bad news is that leafs had covered up the Moose-poops, so I did not know I had stepped on them until I smelled something funny a) in the car and b) in the doctor’s office.
The REALLY BAD NEWS is that the third poop landmine blew up on the GM Finance’s shoe. Like she needed another reason to hate my Moosedawg.
But last night he gave me the biggest laugh I have had for a long while.