death’s door / well , sick as a dog at least

I was standing in a chapel in Poland , right in the middle of about 200 people.  The priest was having us sit and stand a few times . God likes that sort of thing , apparently . Each and every one of the people there , I think , had brought a bouquet of flowers and the bouquets were all laid at the foot of the altar , near the funeral urn that held the ashes . A cloying smell filled the place .flowers yard april 2014 097

I was standing when I really felt the first bang of dizziness . Everyone was standing , so I didn’t want to be the only guy to rebel and sit .  I peeked behind me and it seemed that the old folks in the pew behind were sitting . I didn’t want to be the only one sitting . All eyes would hit me and wonder : Why’s the big American guy sitting ? If a few people behind me were sitting , too , it wouldn’t be so bad . When I turned a bit more to verify , I found that those people behind me were standing , after all . Through the corners of my eye it had seemed that they were sitting only because they were so short .

I wouldn’t be the only slug in the church to sit during standing time . No way . I think God wouldn’t’ve minded , being omni-something and , so , knowing my situation ; but the others would be critical .  I was in a foreign country , after all . Don’t draw attention and try not to offend .

I saw a guy once in the British National Museum in London . Big cowboy hat . Texas drawl . You could hear him all over the museum bellowing his comments about this and about that . Everything’s better in Texas , of course . I think that was the general theme .

And then there was the loud half-crazy woman preaching Jesus last year down here by the river . Obviously American . Announced , to kick it all off, that she didn’t even know what city she was in . If you do draw attention , at least try not to offend.

Just brought to mind an experience once deep down in Mexico . My friend Jaime was setting up camp in the dark while his nephew was telling us about “signals” , trying to raise the alarm . We were out in the exact middle of nowhere . Jaime and I were telling him they were birds . Nobody’s around . Kid’s watching too many movies , I thought .

But , as it happened , they were signals . Suddenly , out of the darkness  stepped six or eight nervous hombres swinging rifles way too haphazardly and shouting : ” Manos arriba ! ”

Manos arriba it was , under those circumstances . My brother Tom , the hospital administrator , was there with us  , too . His manos were arriba and he was announcing loudly : ” Americanos ! Americanos !” I was thinking , oh , please don’t get us killed with this ” Americanos !” stuff . Tom was kind of jumping up a bit with each arriba . These rifle guys are already nervous enough without something else to consider. They were more scared than we were , I think .

Jaime was telling them something in Spanish I didn’t get  , and suddenly they calmed down . I could feel the blood sluicing out again into my veins . Jaime was pointing at the can of insect repellent near his sleeping bag and the hombres  all were looking over there thoughtfully . That turned the tables and our lives were saved . Story at 11:00 . doctor caricature

So , the funeral emptied from the chapel after the priest finished his eulogy and the  violinist folded up her notes . Everyone streamed out side and boarded a bus , which took us  along the narrow lanes of the cemetery to the gravesite . The flowers were there , too , in the bus with all the people  , and by now I was reeling with fatigue and dizziness . I tried , for a bit , to be respectful and stand for a few final prayers , but I couldn’t make it . I moved a bit away and sat down .

I left Ada there and took a streetcar home . I nearly didn’t make it before collapsing onto the bed with chills and fever . I didn’t have energy to do anything for days but to sweat . Weird thoughts were swirling around in my fevered brain . I was figuring out the universe and for the first time seeing the intricacies of the inside of my mind . Great crash diet plan, too  ; I lost ten pounds quickly .

I’m almost back to normal by now , though . Contemplating  posts for this meandering blog. For a day or two or three there , in the middle of my bout with this vicious flu ,  I had it all figured out . It’s not at all what I’d thought , by the way . News at 11:00 .


Filed under humor

14 responses to “death’s door / well , sick as a dog at least

  1. It’s strange how quickly the flu will pounce on you, but at least you got home in time for the major crash!! When it hits me though – somehow I put ON weight!! What’s up with that?!

  2. Sorry to hear you got so sick. I’m glad you’re feeling better. I’m super impressed you were able to get yourself home, via streetcar no less. If that’s what it takes to figure things out, I might setter for ignorance 🙂

    • Street car was no problem . It stops right in front of the cemetery . I was told to get off at a certain stop , however , when I could have hung on and been 1/4 mile closer to home . That 1/4 mile would ordinarily be no problem . Ordinarily .

  3. Glad your feeling better. Thankfully, your sense of humor didn’t seem to suffer through the ordeal. Yes, as an American, some Americans make me want to apologize to strangers.

    • It’s only a bad apple here and there , I think . My sense of humor went on hold for a week or so , but managed to return . You gots to have a sense of humor to survive , eh ?

  4. Multiple Choice Health Schemes (choose only one):
    1. Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.
    2. Fry the peel of a green banana in olive oil with a pinch of basil and clove of garlic. While the banana peel is cooking, drink a raw egg mixed with tomato juice, a shot of espresso, and a thimble of Southern Comfort (pepper to taste). Sprinkle the banana peel with powdered sugar. Eat peel with glass of milk.
    3. Go to Emergency Room of Hospital. Spend a week getting tests: MRI, Cat Scan, EKG, Etc. All the while hooked up to wires and wearing the table cloth robe with the slit all up the back. At the end of the week, find out you had a bad case of gas.
    4. Watch all the Bob Hope “Road” Movies, in chronological order.
    5. Program yr TV so you can never watch the news at 11 or any other hour.

    • Joe, I think we can eliminate #3 right off the bat . I know you’ve tried it a little while ago . So , how did that work out for you ? But , maybe # 2 . I’d change the proportions, of course . And maybe substitute Jameson’s for the Southern Comfort .

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