Exhibit A. Empty nest.
You cannot tell a twenty-four year-old guy diddly. The Woolly Mammoth lives in a soon-to-be-swampy basement apartment in D.C. He is expecting a bit of rain and a minor power outage this weekend. The aforementioned D.C. earthquake resulted in an evacuation from his office, but did not impact his intramural baseball game. Hurricane schmurricane. Irrational worrying parent that I am, I requested he charge his cell phone before the rain and power outage arrive. Also, any Metro station where he needs a scuba mask on the escalator is probably not a good travel option.
Michael "Heckuva job, Brownie" Brown claims he was a scapegoat in his recent book, Deadly Indifference. He "charges President Bush with 'yielding to the poor judgment of staff aides who insisted upon photo opportunities that overrode common sense.'” We can all pray that FEMA and DHS have learned lessons since Katrina, and are prepared to apply them this weekend. If not, my sister is ready and able to organize and lead!
Danger Baby and my lovely daughter-in-law are not in the path of Irene because they are on a first anniversary cruise in a distant ocean. I am in charge of powerless fretting from Texas about their 22nd floor Manhattan apartment, with its balcony furniture potentially blamming* through their sliding glass door.
Spoon-feeding Dad during the NBC Nightly News, I focus on the cranes at the WTC construction site and remember overlooking it six months ago.
Exhibit B: Lower Manhattan.
Dad doesn't really comprehend the hurricane news or any other current events. We sit together, holding hands. "Let's walk downtown," he says. "Okay, we can get a drink at the gas station," I say. The gas station on Main in Pierce had a water fountain near the sidewalk promoted as "the best water in Pierce".
Dad's fingers look like they are inside a latex glove, but that is his transparent, wrinkled skin. We remember together the walk from Grandma's house up Main past the gas station, near the junction of 98 and 13. Dad says audibly that he'd like to get a hamburger. I exit our reverie and knock on the kitchen door to request a memory lane burger. Dang, but I should have just driven to Braums and bought a real burger for Dad, not an industrial frozen patty. The dear old guy was a bit freaked when the nursing home chef in black uniform and white toque personally delivered his hamburger tray. The burger inside the bun was cut into eight wedges and arranged like a happy sunshine.
Dad did not throw his special request burger at the wall. One of my new preschool four year-olds threw her pomegranate/applesauce on the lunchroom floor. Another young student slathered her hair in the baby oil intended for her younger brother's bottom. Several shampoos did not get the oil out. Her waterproof hairdo reminded me of Hemingway's pomegranate-colored plastic jacket.
This useful website details the Brodart history of plastic book jackets. Thanks to a library coworker for her detective expertise.
*blamming is blasting and ramming through somebody or something, usually your younger brother. Akin to blaffy, something that is dirty, yucky, germy, and should not be put in your mouth or the mouth of your younger brother.
© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder