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worst birthday gift ever

July 21, 2019

I just returned relatively unscathed from the U.S., literally sweating out the start of that massive heat wave until I got to LAX.  I went south to visit family and friends.  I hadn’t  been to the Midwest since 2012, and I had an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

My dear friend Bill was delivering a motorcycle to his son in Ellensburg, Washington.  His wife Leah rode out with him, then generously yielded her spot in their Toyota Tundra so she could fly home to avoid more altitude sickness crossing the Rockies.  He picked me up in Seattle just after leaving her at the airport.

It went swimmingly the first 27 hours.  We reminisced about our wasted youth, much of which we wasted together, and gleefully.  Then in Rapid City, South Dakota, we decided to have a fine meal at Red Lobster and spend the night.  After ordering our meals, I went to the bathroom to pee.

I couldn’t.  I was blocked so badly that every attempt grew more and more painful.  We went to the nearest emergency room, which was packed.  One woman there said she’d been there five hours.  I was certain that I couldn’t bear that pain that long, but my look of distress got me treatment after an hour or so.

I was having my first attack of prostatitis.  Pretty much any guy in his 70’s can count on prostrate problems, but I can’t figure out why Random Chance, in its infinite wisdom, chose South Dakota to remind me.

After some procedures and a shot the nurse said “might soon feel like you’ve got a baseball in your butt”, I was released.  Bill and I drug ourselves to a hotel and heated up our to-go Red Lobster feast in the room.

In the morning, I felt fine, including my butt.  I peed freely.   Bill and I drove the rest of the way to Kansas City, stopping only for gas and a buffalo burger at the famed Wall Drug Store.  The next day — my birthday — he drove me to the Budget car rental agency at the KC airport.

I had rented the cheapest car they had, a manual transmission that no one else wanted.  Problem was, they couldn’t find it, so they told me “how would you like a Mustang at the same price?”  I immediately turned 18, my age when the Mustang was first released on an undeserving world.  “Why, sure!”, I said.  “Happy birthday!,” they said.

So they brought up a new Mustang 5.0, which had more horsepower than all the other vehicles I’ve owned combined.

And it was orange.  Repeat: orange.  It had a real “STEAL ME!” vibe.

Nonetheless, I headed out to my daughter’s home in mid-Missouri.  Problem was, I had to do a 150-mile stretch on the Interstate at the beginning of the weekend crush.  So I was driving a muscle car on the first day of my 73rd year in traffic that was either sailing past me or right on my tail until it could sail past me.

Somehow I survived.  Fortunately, my daughter had beer.  The visit went very well.  I got reacquainted with kin I hadn’t seen in ten years.  Then I visited my nephew, whom I hadn’t seen in 16 years.  Then, some old friends, and my son and two grandsons, whom I hadn’t seen in seven years.

It was an incredibly rewarding and stressful week.  After a thorough immersion in this modern world, I may never leave Quadra Island, or even the farm, the rest of my life.

  1. goatbarnwitch permalink
    July 21, 2019 3:02 pm

    Sounds like a wild ride of a trip and I can totally understand your desire to remain safely in the woods from this point forward. I envy your north of US location while doing so…..

    • July 23, 2019 12:55 pm

      It would take the Second Coming, and possibly a Third, to get me out of my bubble ever again. I hope all is well in your piece of paradise.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    July 31, 2019 2:23 pm

    I want an orange mustang…

    Look forward to hearing more soon. IT

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