Sunday, April 3, 2011

Aunt Bea Bringing the Owe Bawn Pain!


While sitting in the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, awaiting a flight that kept getting pushed back, I sat in the waiting area next to the gate. There were many people there waiting for this flight, and I sat back and tried to relax. I closed my eyes and tried to get a little rest, it was morning and I'd caught a 7 a.m. flight from Orlando. As I did, my ears beckoned me to listen to a conversation right behind me…turning around, I saw a slightly overweight woman, with gray hair, talking on her cell phone. She looked like any other grandmother, that is if your grandmother had a nice cane, and a hair cut that favored carousing with the same sex. She sounded nice and concerned, but then, the fireworks started.


"Hey! Get your dead ass up and get to Tulsa, I'm in Dallas. Yes, I'm flying in a…well, if the damn plane will ever get here."

I'm not sure, obviously, who was on the other end of that line, but sounds like they better get up and start moving towards Tulsa.

"They got that test back, on the SPLEEN. Last I heard she was in dialysis [Die-AL-uh-SIS…slowly spoken]. How does she look?"

"Well, What room is she in…3132…that's 3-1-3-2…got it. I'll be there in a couple of hours…I'll get checked in to the hotel and …what, moved to 272? What the hell woman?"

Now, I'm really into this conversation…and I really wish I could see who was on the other end. I don't think you want to be yanking Aunt Bea's chain, or pulling her cane as it were.

"Well, they were at the horse show, and you know they moved all the qualifiers….yes, all the qualifiers got moved, 'cuz of the snow…Yeah, we'll be there for a while and then we'll go hang with Steve and his gang."

Horses and gangs…and I don't know about you, but my grandmother doesn't really "hang", except maybe…well, never mind. On with the show…

"Well, I don't really know how HE'LL be feeling…you know he's hard to talk to on the phone, what with all that wheezing all the time. YES, he still goes down to that damn bar, with all that smoke…you believe that?"

"Hey, that reminds me…you remember Hal Leonard? No, No, NO, used to live across from mom and dad…Yeah, him. Well, you know they amputated on him, and he's not doing…no, no good at all."

"How long do they take for their…oh, well, he's only got a few months…and the VA, well they just go there to die, or get well and leave…either way, they said he's 82 on the list and busted…he's having mental issues too, and he's number 82 on the wait list…No, she cain't take care of him."

"Well, Cowboy's gonna come home on Emergency Leave. They're trying to get him home to see his daddy one more time. He's with the Red Cross in Afghanistan…what, yes, I'm sick…but didn't sleep a wink, just hacked all night…but, I'll be ok, I got some kick-ass herbals from a guy here…something about some AKIE berry or something…what? that's Uh-Sigh berry…oh, well that, I'll be ok."

"Yeah, they want Cowboy come home, 'cuz he's so damned proud of that boy for making something of his life…shame if that boy don't get to see him before he goes."

"What…I thought he was coming? Hasn't anyone even called the Red Cross? Well, you just dial the damned number and start asking questions, starting with, 'we need to get in touch with a boy who's father is about to die'."

At this point, I had to get up and move, because Aunt Bea got off the phone and I needed a better vantage point to watch my quarry…I am now a Voyeur Extraordinaire…no use trying to deny it.


Round 2 (Aunt Bea sat back down and begins dialing her phone again…not clear if this is the same person or not, on the other end of cellular cyberspace)


"Well, listen here, this is really pissin me off now…we, you and me are gonna have to go all Bee-Yatch on them when I get there, you got it!"

"You gotta get someone to call the Red Cross, they'll go find that boy, that's what they do…he needs to get home to his dying daddy…that man loves that boy."

"Well mess with my mouth for just thinking about it, but that's got to get done."

"I didn't realize we was walking into a snake pit. Sounds I'm gonna have to go all Janitor on them when I get there [This is the correct phrasing]."

"Well, you better get down there and change the damned locks then…I told them they got no business being down there…who gave them the key…Jesus, oh Jesus, you can't save people from themselves, can you?"

"Well, you can tell them now, that they don't want to be there when I get there, I'll be kicking their asses out, they might oughtta leave while they can on their own legs."

"You call Derrick and tell him I'm callin in a solid…I want them locks changed before I get there [It's a 40 minute flight]."

Derrick better get his dead ass over there and change the locks.

"Yes, I ate something at that French place in the airport Owe Bawn Pain."


At this point, we are called to board, and she gets off the phone.


On the plane, I see no signs of Aunt Bea, but after my upgrade, it occurs to me that she probably could have done with the upgrade more than I. While I was thoroughly entertained by her drawl and sense of "I'm gonna kick someone's ass", I was also drawn into her story. Her family is getting older and they are in a constant state of falling apart. Older people that grow sick and can't take care of each other…older parents that can't say no to their kids, when all they do is take advantage of their aging parents. I could see the worry in her eyes, while the bravado worked to take charge, and create some structure to what sounded like a family in chaos. I'm not sure who she's going to see…the lady on dialysis or Cowboy's daddy, maybe both. It was clear that she was going to make sure things got done. I'm grateful that they have someone in their family that can think while the world continues to fall apart. I was reminded of my own grandmother, as she ages, and can remember at times, scenes like this playing out in my own home…where someone had to come take charge in a completely broken situation, with a completely broken family.

I do hope Cowboy made it back to see his daddy one more time...



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