With the summer season just around the corner, most people are making vacation plans. I, on the other hand, have been busy stressing about all of the things around my house that need my attention.
I’ve been thinking about what to do with all my “stuff” in the attic. Emmaline runs a trim ship. I sail a kind of garbage scow.
It’s time to get the wet leaves out of the roof gutters, put fertilizer on the lawn, fetch some sacks of pebbles for the rock garden. On a more personal note, I wanted to rescue a couple of my favorite shirts from the church donation box sitting by the front door.
Whenever I think that I have too much to do, my stress rises. When that happens, it’s like I’m being pecked to death by ducks. Its as if I were tied hand and foot and lying on wet grass with a raft, team or paddling (see Google) of ducks pecking me. Their blunt beaks don’t break the skin on my head like the peck of a woodpecker would, but the sensation is still painful, and
The feeling comes when I think I have too many things to do and not enough time to do them. I often get relief by day dreaming about decades past when I traveled a lot—to Latin America, the Caribbean, North and Central Africa, Japan. But if I day dream too deeply while I’m doing something like trimming the hedge, and I mess it up, and—out come the ducks.
I’ve been thinking Emmaline and I need to go back to the Caribbean, or Latin America. But then I realize that what we really need is to go back to our good old rental cabin in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. I always love our days on the river there, floating downstream on inner tubes, drinking steins of root beer with my friends, the little old colonial Dutchmen.
Back in March I got in touch with my humor column friends and colleagues at The Enchantment, that dingy roadhouse on the edge of town where so many of them congregate. I told them to meet us at the cabin. Then, what with the ducks in my head and all, I nearly forgot about the trip to the cabin.
So today, I got the word out—on Internet, by smoke signals, by homing pigeons, by mental telepathy–and by a few other means of communication that I won’t elaborate on here. I invited everyone
to meet us at the cabin. The invitation to my robot friend KB11.2 (Kaybe, for short) went zinging through outer space to his home planet that’s just a few parsecs from our nearest star, Alpha Centuari. And I asked Kaybe to stop by Cuba on his way andpick up Kate in the jungle down there.
Emmaline thought we couldn’t go to the cabin right now because there was too much to be done here: paint the shutters, plant a garden, clean out the garage, etc., etc.
“And What about Ginger?” she asked. Ginger is our dog.
“I promise to paint the shutters when we get back. The weather will be better then, anyway. It’s been a late spring, so we can put in the garden after we get back. Ginger always comes with us, remember? Her carrier is just inside the front door, next to that donation box we’re taking to the church.”
I knew that Emmaline wanted to go to the cabin all along, but we needed to tie up loose ends. After she went to pack, she called down to say she was including a variety of ceramic root beer steins.
She had chosen one for everybody. A few days later as we got ready to leave the ducks in my head took a nap—a nice long one, I hoped.
When I lifted Ginger into her carrier, she nestled down on top of my favorite dear old (not to be discarded) shirt. It was folded neatly underneath her.
I put the church donation box in the car to drop off on the way out of town.
Dr. Larry Day is a retired KU J-School professor, turned humor columnist. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available on Amazon.