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Kids

I don’t know where I am.


Cat and I were patrolling the yard. Now I am here. Makes no sense. A tad spooky, I think.


Dad died 18 months ago, and we all miss him. After about six months, Mom quit crying every day. The rest of us followed suit after a few more weeks. That doesn’t diminish our missing him; it just saves us some energy each day. Energy we can use to patrol the yard or wonder what he’s doing now.


Mom told us all that Dad got sick on a plane, went to a hospital in a strange town, spent a few days there, died. Sad.


He traveled a lot. He went to exotic places to help others not kill themselves at work. Exotic as in New Jersey or northwest Louisiana.


Dad always had a story from his travels, grand adventures that could only come from watching too much television in too many hotel rooms. He would sit down to supper with Mom and start with, “You’re not going to believe this….” Sometimes we didn’t; most times we kind of believed him.


One story he told went on for two days. The first day he told us how he met a man in a hospital. He went on in great detail talking about the man’s hospital room. How clean it was; how airy and cheery it was. And, big; the largest hospital room he’d ever seen. The detail of the placement of the bed, the chair, the door to the restroom, the sink for the man to shave and brush his teeth. The way the crash cart was placed strategically close to the bed, the placement of the nozzles and wiring coming out of the wall. As much as we all loved him, that was boring.


He told us how the hospital hallway outside the man’s room seemed infinite because you could hear someone coming down the hallway forever (Dad’s words). And that that someone never seemed to make it to the room.


The next day, he told us about the big picture window that looked out onto a parking lot. 


Except early in the morning.


He said that early in the morning, looking out the window, the parking lot was gone. He described the pale yellow, welcoming sky casting calming light over all the land. The plants would sing with joy for a new day. He told us that the plants didn’t look exactly like the trees and shrubs and grass we know. He said some were familiar-looking; for example, a boojum tree was there but it was fuzzy and lavender colored. Others not so much. Like the big blue boulders that would barely sway in the breeze.  They were blue, the sky was yellow; thus, those boulder plants had a greenish tinge that would shift with the breeze.


Hills off in the distance gently rolled away from sight. Sounded calm and peaceful to us. And, far-fetched even though we knew Dad would not lie.


He told us another story about a restaurant built over a bayou’s banks. A gloomy kind of place with great gumbo and luscious key lime pie. The moss hiding who-knew-what hanging down to the water off the cypress completed the gloomy picture. He told about a nightmare at that restaurant. How a bad guy enticed a pretty woman there to commemorate their 30-day anniversary. How the bad guy enjoyed his supper and watched the pretty woman enjoy hers, relax, trust him. How as soon as she got up to meet his lips, he flipped her over the railing right into the middle of a bale of snapping turtles and two two-eyed logs. How that poor woman fussed for a whole minute before she quit screaming his name.


I think Dad saw that and did something to the bad guy. He never did fully explain that part.


He told us a story about when he was in the mountains somewhere. He said he got to see a sheer-curtained series of sunbeams between himself and a mountain peak. He explained that no one can expect something like this; it is Life, unexpected, to be accepted and awed over. 


He told us about how some men are mean to women and how they always get their comeuppance. One time he was in an airport restaurant and saw a drunk guy…let Dad tell it.


“I was just inside the door standing at the plank table with my back to the bar. I’d say it was about 10 feet behind me. Reflected in the window in front of me, I watched two waitresses flank a drunk from the bar to a table. They got him sat down and told him to drink his water and that the airline wouldn’t let him on the plane in his condition.


“’What condition?’ he slurred as he groped at the plump one’s hind end.


“’That condition,’ she told him as she put his arm back on the table. The guy was a jerk.


“Instead of drinking his water, he gulped down the last of his screwdriver, smacked his lips, got up and staggered out the open door.


“What happened next interested me. A glowing door frame appeared right in front of him about 20 feet out from the restaurant door. No one else in the crowd paid it any attention. I kind of wonder if anyone else saw it.


“It doesn’t matter. This guy was stupid; drunk and stupid. He lurched right to that door. Even though he was stupid, I do not think he would have opened that door if he had been sober. Drunk and stupid is a fatal combination.


“As soon as he opened that door, I could see guys running around in Civil War blue and gray. Smoke and noise from long guns and cannons, thick and loud. That poor bastard got through that door and lasted about three seconds before something tore right into the side of his head. The door slammed shut and the whole thing disappeared.


“I looked around and no one else acted in the least bit perturbed. What do you think of that?”


None of us spoke a word. I am not saying I didn’t believe Dad, but it did seem a bit far-fetched.


I miss Dad. He was always kind to me.


Well, I still do not know where I am. It is a nice enough day, an easy walk with pleasant smells. Up ahead the trail curves and I can hear someone coming toward me from that way.


Wait! That’s not right. 


“Dad?”


“Yep.”


“Where are we?”


“Well, my sweet little pup, I think this is Heaven.”

May 14, 2020 20:10

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3 comments

Varuni Pragya
09:01 May 22, 2020

This is really nice!

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Zara Bertram
20:19 May 21, 2020

I do like this, but I'm curious if there's any significance to the story that's recounted?

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Chuck Thompson
00:22 May 29, 2020

Not really. I have a little dog Scottie and he has patrolled the yard with one or two of our barn cats. He is getting very old and slowing down considerably. I wanted to be on the other side to greet him when he crosses over so he can be comfortable. Silly thought, I know....

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