THE PRE-DEPARTURE LOUNGE!

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What is the Pre-Departure Lounge? For now, I will liken it to the lounge at the airport where you are sent to wait for your flight. In the case of this story, I will liken it to the ancient souls waiting in semi darkness all day long in holding pens across the planet. They are sent to these places to await the Lord’s call to begin the trek to St. Peter’s gates for admittance.

It is a dreamlike state where you wait and identify that you are in a state of waiting, for the next level of departure. Where does it take place? You wait in your mind of course. Why are you in this state? You want to make some last minute decisions? Not really, you have done all of that in black and white, but this is a place to wait in semi-comfort and analyze all that you are, have been, and are to become.

You sit and wait. No one comes to tell you anything. No one comes to give you the kindness of a wink, a pat, a kindly touch; nothing comes your way but occasionally a small swift breeze circles around to assure you and your blank stare that you are still waiting. Your stare is not blank, don’t they know? You are still there. You are telling them, but they act as if they do not hear. You have been many things to many people in your lifetime. You have created wonders on God’s green and blue earth. You have suffered humanities elations and ills. You really want someone to look into your fading eyes and say hello. How are you today? That would be enough. That would give you confidence to hope for the next passage. You were on the bestseller list with┬áReader’s Views for 10 days with your silly little New Age Novel. You re-wrote an enchanted gifted program. You had no idea you were doing it by living it, but they give you the credit. No one knows anything about you in this dank hallway as you sit head dropped nearly to your knees and drool on your thighs. Where are you anyway? Again, remember, my friend Xavier said it is the Pre Departure Lounge. He said it is where you sit and wait. Are you taking a delightful flight over the pond to see friends you have made over the years? Not at all, you wait here for the final departure of your living, breathing, thinking, and physical days on this planet. They are all gone, and if not gone, still considered gone. That is enough whining. You’ll go if you were good or if you were bad. Nothing you can do, but imagine yourself elsewhere.

Will you have an after life, you cannot say. No one who has promised to come back and let you know how it is over there, have come. You wait and are left wondering. You have had dreams of what a heavenly place will be and how it will feel. You hope to meet others, especially hoping to meet those who have preceded you.

You hear laughter. It reminds of you of the raucous family parties with children and grandchildren running, hopping, skipping, and jumping. You imagine you hear them squealing and your mind is seeing smiles forever on their faces. They are lodged deeply in the recesses of your memory mind which is still left for you to ponder, or is it? You try and remember the name of the park where four generations of your stock met, exchanged wishes, told lies, shared visions and aspirations, then tarried long after the sun went to the other side of the earth. When it was all said and done, the memory in bits and pieces remain, but where are they now? They could be on the moon for all you know, but what you do know is that here you sit in the Pre-departure lounge saving seats for them.

The Pot That Would Not Boil

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When I was newly married, I was teaching at Hancock Park Elementary School. I became friendly with several other new teachers. They had not yet married. I spent an evening in Betty Ann’s new little apartment in North Hollywood learning how to make spaghetti sauce and cook pasta. We got the sauce down fairly easily with no hiccups. Tasty and delicious just like the Italian restaurants, so we imagined.

The cooking of the pasta is another story. My new wedding gift, a Farberware soup pot that I brought over for the cooking of the pasta, we probably called pasta spaghetti back then, would not boil. We turned the fire up and up until it could not be turned up anymore. We figured the saying “A watched pot does not boil.” was true, so we took a break and listened to music and talked. Still the pot would not get a boil on, just rippled a bit. We put the pasta, spaghetti in the pot and it finally made al dente status. All and all the pot never boiled.

We had other cooking lessons, but my pot never boiled. I am reminded of this non-boiling pot because I used it again this afternoon as I cooked pasta for a macaroni and cheese dish celebrating our daughter’s fifty-first birthday tomorrow. The pot boiled finally after over fifty years, and I could not stop sobbing. I sobbed not for the boil, but for the story I have lived with and never told all of these years.

The summer of 1961 was the year of the World’s Fair in Seattle, Washington. Betty Ann, my cooking partner and another new teacher Sheryl (?) were making plans to drive up to Seattle and enjoy the Fair. I listened to their plans with envy and even asked Mr. C, my husband, if he thought I could go. Of course I could not go. I was a married woman. In those days we married ladies stayed home and some of us worked outside of home and in the home as well. So, during that summer, I continued to enjoy my affair with love, being a wife, cleaning, grocery shopping, and cooking the evening meal. I enjoyed being home when my husband arrived home, then and now as well. I thought of my friends in Seattle enjoying the World Fair events and could not wait to talk with them upon their return.

They never returned. Their car plunged off of the road into a steep canyon and both of them died instantly. My memory is burning deeply today and I still miss them. I thank God for my life sustained and I thank Mr. C for marrying me.