Dad was working on some sort of plan to get my mom back, but he was really mum about it. I only hope that it worked for him, so we could start eating things that didn’t come in cans!
I felt that my summer vacation had stalled in midair. The pilot looked at both engines, but the propellers refused to spin, with traces of jet fuel leaking out of the sides. I started to panic this being only my second time in the air with the pilot suddenly grasping his chest, as if he were suffering a heart attack, or something! His last word to me before he passed out, were anything less than reassuring, “Tell my wife and the kids that my affair with the Tunisian Belly Dancer didn’t mean anything, and that I still loved them with all my heart! I would like to carry out his last wish, if that is I too survived the plane crash, happening just minutes from now!
We spent a lot of our time cleaning the house, and talking about how we felt. It was beginning to feel like Dr Joyce Brothers had moved in with us, telling us to talk about our feelings, and what had happened in our childhood. I felt it was easy talking about my childhood, as it in some ways, still was my childhood. My father, on the other hand, seemed to have forgotten a lot of things that happened when he was young, prompting Dr Joyce to say, “You are in denial. Plain and Simple. A Classic case of Oedipus complex, if I ever saw one!
I pushed his prone body out of the way, and began to use the microphone in a frantic sort of a way, “Mayday, Mayday” “Pilot in trouble, both engines out, pilot unconscious, imminent crash possible, please advise!!” Someone on the ground had forgotten how to work the darn thing, and continued to talk to the others in the control tower, thinking that I couldn’t hear him. “That boy is SOL if you ask me? Unless a miracle occurs, he’ll be plowing the nearest field with the nose of his Cessna, and soon. He turned on the microphone once again, and said “Take it easy young man, we are discussing the best way to get you down in one piece, we’ll get back to you in a bit. Thus thinking he had turned off the microphone once again, he added to those around him, “Better call in the Chaplain, we’ll be lucky if there are any pieces left to find of that poor fellow, so we might as well comfort him as much as possible!
My father had put a pile of papers, on the kitchen table. They looked like travel brochures with cabins and lakes and the like, lying in the nearby county just an hour’s drive as the crow flies! “I think we need to get away for a few days, enjoy the summer a bit more, what do you think about that?” My father didn’t like to beat around the bush. He liked to tell it like it was, and I admire him for his directness. I guess, hanging around the house with all of those memories of my mother and all, made him crazy in a way? He wanted to get her back, but he usually spent all of his time away from her, either at work, or hiding out in the garage. It was a woman, making him crazy again! Why should he be different than the rest of us?
“Perhaps, if I can pull up on the throttle, I can straighten out the plane enough to make an even landing”, said aloud, while considering my steadily decreasing options. I knew the plane soon would be strafing the top of the palm trees, casting monkeys from side to side, coconuts scattering along the way….”
A trip to the lake, I said breaking free from my thoughts, Great! “That’s what we need, Jack. Some water on the back of the neck, and the code!” That was what Peter Sellers told Sterling Hayden in Dr Strangelove, just before Sterling Hayden blew his brains out! His brains, that is. Not Peter Sellers. Funny how my father’s name was Jack, and the crazed commander of the Bomber Wing of the American Air Force, who sent the B-52s on their way to Russia to drop the A-bomb on the heads of those Red Commies, was also named Jack! I might just work that into my next daydream, if I remember to?
- daydream number 1- the trip to the lake
- daydream number 2-plane crashing
- daydream number 3-Dr Strangelove
- daydream number 4-The Girl Next Door
- – empty slot-
I might have to make some sort of mental note, in order to keep track of my thoughts? It seems like a lot of people have been having difficulty breaking through them as late?
“It seemed like the motor on the right side of the plane still had something to give. I swear, I saw some movement in the propeller, as if it wanted to start again and save me, the girl of my dreams, and the important shipment of food to the third world. If only, there was a chance..
My father just waited patiently until he established eye-contact again with me. “I’d like to think that we have all summer, but we don’t”, he said with a bit of impatience in his voice. “Well, are we going, or not?”
I started to think about the Girl Next Door. I didn’t think it fair that she ended up as number 4 on my list, but I was sure, I could talk my way out of that one, if pressed into a corner. “Armed only with a chair leg and a whip, I felt the corner of the room pressing me in the back. The lion roared, and stepped closer. “Back you beast, Back, I say” as my possibilities decreased in a way that I rather wished, I was in a Cessna with motor stop, heading toward certain death in the jungles of Swaziland!
“Uh, I guess so. It’s just…”
“Oh, I see” said my father, but I was sure that he didn’t.
“You’d like to be together with your little friend, instead of being with the Old Man? Well, you know what? I’ve spoken to her mother, and she agreed that you two could take a vacation together, that is with the Old Man…”
Peter Sellers needed the code to stop the bombers from bombing Russia. It might have succeeded, but in the end Slim Pickens got himself the ride of his life, on the back of an A-bomb heading toward “Commie-land, Russia”. That’s what my mother would have said. She clapped and cheered when the bomb fell, starting WWIII, and all, when we saw that movie on TV once.
I thought that we should try to communicate with each other, and sit around a round table, or perhaps a horseshoe-formed table where all of us could share ideas and thoughts.
“Is it that school that teaches you things like that?” she’d ask me after the movie had ended.
“My goodness, if you think that we can get anywhere with the Russians by talking, then you should think again! Détant. That’s what we need to concentrate on! It’s us against them! And the only thing they understand is how many nukes we have vs how many they have!”
I worried sometimes about how my mother looked at things. I realize that her father, being an avowed Anti-Communist might have influenced her thinking a bit, but sometimes even I wanted to be a Russian, just to rebel against my mother’s way of thinking.
My father was losing patience. I know that, because he suddenly slammed his hand on the table, and demanded an answer !Well, what do you say?!
“Yes” was about all that I could muster. “Yes, I think that is an excellent idea!” but the questions and doubts had already begun to grow in my mind. When did he speak to my friend’s mother? When did he see her mother? The woman was Gone With the Wind, for all I know? “Frankly Scarlett, I don’t give a …… And being together with my friend was both good and bad. I knew she would get us, I mean, I knew, she would get me into trouble, before you could say “Jack Robinson!”
Another Jack to keep track of? I’ve already got the lion, the Cessna, Slim Pickins, and the Girl Next Door to think about, and the plane still hasn’t crashed in the jungles of Swaziland!
The motor on the left side also was trying to save my skinny butt. It seemed as if my time to shuffle off this mortal coil hadn’t come, as yet. The children at the orphanage clapped and cheered at the sight of the supply plane, heading their way. Now they would be saved from the dreaded disease with the much-needed antidote! “Pull up, you devil. Pull up!” I felt, as if I were regaining control over the plane and more so, over my life.
Lucky for me, the lion got distracted, just before my days indeed were numbered. It exited the building with me following after it, exerting maximum caution and restraint. Outside stood my friend, looking as if she had won the “Nobel Scare Away Lion Prize” or something? leaning up again the spiny kapok tree deep in the jungle. “That was a close call, what with the Cessna and all!” she said.
It was. Oh, how it was. I was so happy to see her again, I threw caution to the winds and stepping lightly over the A-bomb and Slim Pickens, running over to her, throwing my arms around her, and….
“Why in the world are you hugging the kitchen chair?” My father’s voice seemed closer now.
“Uh, I ….” Oh yeah? Why was I doing such a thing?……