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The almost Great Escape


Mary Jane Owen

  Don’t get me wrong, I love both of my children dearly. It has been delightful to see them develop their respective, unique personalities. Like other parents, I recognize some of my own behaviors and inclinations in each of them and admittedly some from the other contributor, the Dad. Naturally that bodes for both good and bad since none of us can claim perfection. But be that as it may, sometimes I just need to have a little space between me and them. Our little family has endured a fair amount of stress and drama over the last few years, serious stuff that has created in me a sense of “what next?” adding more layers of angst than usual. To find some solace, I decided early this year to seek activities that boosted my ability to fight off worrying and learn to relax, an unnatural behavior for me. I found the perfect escape, a seminar in a town just down the road at a college with which I was most familiar. The assurance of knowing that I was not far from home and could easily get back was comforting.

  Upon arrival, I was met at the hotel by the program staff and other participants, old like me, but all southerners so I would not have to explain when I opened my mouth, speaking my best mid-Piedmont Georgia accent, that indeed I did not know Honey Boo Boo and for that matter could not understand her myself! Things at the seminar were off to a good start, a great dinner, the company of nice intelligent folks, and a great week of activities ahead. Following the introductory stuff, we were dismissed to our respective rooms where I watched my usual TV Sunday night program, “60 Minutes” and started a new book. I carefully laid out my clothes in preparation for the next day’s agenda, made sure the room was secure and headed for the shower. Now showers for the “aging” are challenging things so I was very careful to check the water temp before I stepped in. In a flash I slipped.

  Fortunately I landed on my ample bottom, but fell hard against the bathtub’s edge. I knew instantly that  I was in trouble, but since I was seated in a matter of speaking, I took a quick bath remembering that my Mother always warned me to be prepared should I need to go to a hospital. I might have punctured a lung, but doggone it, I’d be clean. I found sufficient clothing for modesty’s sake¸ and called the front desk. Without as much as a how-de-do they called the EMTs. Nice guys, helpful, polite, reassuring, they ferried me to the local “medical center.” About four hours later following endless pokes, X-ray pictures, punctures, the on-call doc told me I had fractured a rib. Not much could be done, save pain meds. 

  Between groans, I was cursing myself for my stupidity. Here I was in the middle of the night, no family, no friends. Some escape this was.  My best powers of persuasion did not work when I requested that they keep me hospitalized until daybreak at which time I could shamefacedly beckon my children. Nope, it was a taxi for me. I could just see me, racked in pain and laying a cussing on the poor driver who likely would not understand a word I said. A good cussing wasted. Lucky for me and with the Good Lord’s grace, the hospital staff arranged for a nurse to drive me back to the hotel. She even accompanied me to my room and assisted me in “taking to the bed.” By this time the pain meds had begun their magic and I slept a bit, awakening in time to get my children out of their beds and en route to rescue their by now, “hang-dogged” mother.

  Within two hours they were in my room, packing up my stuff, getting necessary information, checking around the hotel to see to whom they should apologize for any cussing I had laid on hotel staff, and finally loading my humiliated self in the car. Tactfully, tongue-in-cheek, they waited until we got up the road before the tormenting began. Truly I think they felt sorry for me, but they had the opportunity for big time payback and I had it coming. You see, I’ve never been very sympathetic with whining and complaining. My philosophy is to take stuff in stride, suck it up, and keep moving. I always thought these were strong character traits but honestly my groans as we drove, were incessant. I realized I was in for trouble because I was going to be at their mercy and I knew that I deserved their teasing. But doggone it, I HURT and they were having a field day reminding me that when they were growing up I locked the door in the summer time to keep them at bay, handed them a box of Band Aids if they sliced open their flesh following a fall, forcefully reminded them not to bleed on the carpet and to get the Kleenex to dry their tears but mostly to muffle their groans. As I said, they got the last laugh. Escape? Who, me? Forget about it.

    Mary Jane Owen is a veteran educator.




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