Chapter 41, Blog 3
By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang
Sensing my frustration, Harry took me for a walk while Melinda, Ralphie and Nicky took Shannon and Jessie for a swim in the hotel pool. As we strolled along Sixth Avenue, I waited for my coach to put everything in perspective.
I’m still waiting.
“They don’t want you to wear any advertising,” said Harry.
“Well, they’re going to have to take that up with my agent,” I said. “You brought me out here to tell me that?”
“No, that was the prelude,” he said. “My real question is can you just relax and enjoy the moment? Why do boomers have to overanalyze everything they do?”
“Could it be because your generation is so critical?”
“Narcissistic to the end, I see.”
“Damn right,” I said.
“Be careful,” my coach said. “Only a fool is certain.”
At 4:30, we ate at a nearby steak place, everyone except me. I was too nervous to eat. Harry took some honey out of his doctor bag and insisted I’d have some. With all the food dancing about, my stomach started doing the Twist. I needed to distract myself and quick. And I didn’t need any more well-wishers. I sneaked out and got in the car. My mind raced angst – and lost.
… those old spikes don’t dig in enough …
… please don’t fall at the start …
… can those legs go 800 meters …
I closed my eyes and chanted.
“Calm, calm, calm …”
… can’t, can’t, can’t …
A knock on the car window startled me. It was Shannon. I unlocked the door, and she crawled in.
“What are you doin’, Dad?”
“Having a minor breakdown, that’s all.”
“No, you’re not.”
“Yes, I am. I don’t want to go.”
Shannon stared at me and smiled.
“Remember when I started first grade, and I didn’t want to go to school that first day?”
“No, I don’t,” I said. “That was long ago – before I was born.”
“And what did you tell me?”
“You didn’t have to go?”
“No, Dad,” Shannon said and giggled. “You said there was nothing to be scared of.”
“Yeah, that’s the standard lie.”
“And you said if I went, I could have 50 cents when I came home and spend it on anything I wanted.”
“Obviously, we were rich back then, and I could afford to bribe people.”
Shannon reached in her pocket and pulled out a dollar in change.
“Here, I’ll pay you in advance.”
I took the coins from my daughter.
“Get it over with, Dad,” she said. “I want to go home.”
“All right, but I think I’m worth more than a dollar.”
“Your agent said you’re not worth that.”
I reached over and hugged her. I felt better.
It WAS good to have my family here.
Even Uncle Fred.
Copyright © 2013 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang