Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Lord's Prayer

We have a tradition in my family. Of course, I guess every family has a family tradition or two, otherwise why would Hank Williams, Jr. have bothered to write a song about them? But the tradition I hold most dear to my heart is one that my Dad started long before I was born: The saying of the Lord's Prayer as we head out on any long journey.

Steve, me and Dad on one of my first trips - Daytona Beach, FL - 1964

Dad worked for Delta Air Lines for over 40 years, and one of the wonderful perks (and one of the reasons that I to went to work for them too) is the generous travel benefits. In his years at Delta and in retirement, Dad has managed to hit 48 of the 50 states (he's missing the Dakotas) and every continent except for Australia (he's even been to Antarctica.) That's pretty good for a poor kid from East Point, GA who was born during the Depression.

Me & Dad at the Petrified Forrest, Navajo, AZ - 1971

When traveling on an airline employee pass, you typically are traveling standby/space available. So, to give ourselves the best chance to get on a flight, we always tried for the first flight of the day. That usually meant getting up at 3:30 a.m. and leaving for the airport at 4:00 a.m. to try and catch a 6:00 a.m. flight. So many an early morn, well before dawn, we would load up in the car, back out of the driveway onto 1st Avenue, and then, as Dad put the car in drive, he would say, "Let's say our prayer." And as one, we would all begin:
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Me, Dad & Steve - Disneyland, Anaheim, CA - 1976

We lived so close to the airport, that by the time we were finished with our prayer, we were pretty much pulling into the parking lot. Around the time I was 7 or 8, I remember wondering how Dad managed to drive all that way with his eyes closed. I was probably about 11 before I worked up the nerve to sneak a peek during the prayer and see if his eyes were indeed closed. For the record, they were open. Good thing I learned that before I became the one who did most of the driving to the airport.

Dad & me in Squaw Valley, CA - July 1980

It wasn't just airplane trips that brought out the prayer - we did it on road trips, heading to hospitals for surgeries, basically any time we were going to need some strength and protection from above. My brother told me that just before Dad took Mom to the hospital for my birth, the three of them said the prayer together.

Me & Dad at the Rhine River in Lorch, Germany - September 1983

Today I sat with Daddy at the hospital for a few hours and watched him as he slept. He goes through bouts of confusion, the doctors say because of all the mediation they've had him on, but there is some thought that he may have also had a minor stroke in the last few days as well. So, when I can, I try to let him sleep. But he woke up for a few moments and said, "How you doing, Tune?" (Tune is one of his silly nicknames for me, short for Petunia. Not sure if Petunia came from the flower or the Looney Tunes pig, but I've always hoped it was from the flower.) Then he asked me if I was ready to say our prayer.

Me and Dad in front of the Houses of Parliament, London - September 1984

I held his hand, we closed our eyes and we began to recite as we have so many times before. I held back a little, wanting to see if he could remember the words on his own, and he did. Although his voice was weak, he spoke every single word correctly. Then when we finished, with his eyes still closed, he said "I'm ready for the trip."

Mom & Dad on the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper, Alberta, Canada - October 1999

I pretty much lost it at that moment, thinking he was speaking of that last, metaphorical trip, if you understand what I mean. As the tears began welling up in my eyes, and I was trying so hard not to make a noise or let the dam break in front of him, without even opening his eyes he quietly said, "We'll make it to Australia like we planned, Tune. I promise you."

I really pray we do.

Dad kicking back in BusinessElite on the way to Buenos Aries, Argentina - February 2008

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

12 of 12 - May 2010

Aaahhh - another 12 of 12. Not nearly as eventful as last month's, as all the eventful stuff this month happened to me on the 10th when I ran home from work at lunch to pick up a package to mail and ended up falling down my stairs and hurting myself. Unable to get up off the floor and trapped in a locked house - every single woman's dream.

So you know, I had to make that "I've fallen and I can't get up" call to my neighbor Katie. (I really thought I'd be at least past 50 before I ever had to make that call.) God love Katie, she just dropped it all, left work and came home to save me. And in true Joni/Katie form, she walked in and found me crumpled in the floor, she ascertained that I was still alive, went to the freezer and got me an ice pack and then completely laughed her ass off at me. And then I told her that her outfit was cute. Cause it was. Afterward, we moved on to the other, less important topics like should we call 911 or our neighbor Kirk. We went with Kirk. We figured Kirk is a computer genius, Katie is an engineer, and I myself am an analyst - between us we could figure out how to get me up without doing any further damage to my hip and knee (although my pride and dignity may have been damaged beyond repair.)

One trip to the ER later, we find that thankfully nothing was broken, just sprained and contused. So, today I'm still trapped in my house, can't get around too well, and am doped up to the gills. Should be a pretty lame 12 of 12, just like me.

12:07 a.m. - I was doped up on pain killers and the like on Tuesday, so I slept most of the day. So of course, midnight/Wednesday morning comes and I'm wide awake. Over the weekend, I saw my best friend and she sent me home with her stash of prom photos from 1981 and 82 to scan and post on Facebook, so figured I could get that done for her. I'm the one in the upper left-hand corner, and BFF Traci is in the shot next to me and below me (2 different proms). Dang I wish I was that skinny again.

12:10 a.m. - Knowing that my 12th is probably not going to expand too far from my desk, couch and bed, I figured I should load up on random photos of items in the house. Here is a little plastic airplane on my desk. I got this on our first trip on the L-1011 Tri-star back when I was 9. I also got one of my trip back and I've saved them both for all these years - the other one is in my desk at Delta. And see - I managed to squeeze a Delta thing in there even though I'm not at work.

12:20 a.m. - Wanted to point out the issue with my stairs that led to my fall (lest you all think I'm dumber than I really am.) This is a shot of the stairs from the ground level. See how the last step before you get to the floor is not carpeted?

12:22 a.m. - and see how that step just disappears when you look at it coming down the stairs? The white post on the right is where the last step is. The floor is about 10 inches below that. So, instead of going down two steps, I went down three and just went straight over and flat out onto the floor. My left hip and knee took the brunt of the fall, but I also got the wind knocked out of me, cut my hand on my ring (which got bent up and smashed while still on my finger) and have about a dozen bruises on my arms, legs, hip, and ribcage. So now I'm doing the Tim Conway/old man shuffle as I move through the house with my knee brace and cane.

10:52 a.m. - Time to wake up and make my moves in my various Words with Friends matches. Wow - I'm bed ridden, doped up and playing in the dark on a cracked iPhone. How am I not winning more of these matches?

11:15 a.m. - One of my most favorite gifts ever. I love to get the dyed daises every spring because it makes the water in the little vases turn colors after a couple of days.

11:45 a.m. - Damn TiFaux did not record my Glee for me last night, so I'm forced to watch in on my computer. But - plus side is they trotted out some Rick Springfield which melded nicely with my desire to listen to Aussies from the 80s over the last few days. I've rocked out to the entire INXS catalog, Crowded House, the Church, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, and AC/DC. If you are gonna be in pain, you might as well have good tunes.

12:30p.m. - I recently found a a large envelope with my other BFF Tony's name on the front, and figured now was as good a time as any to see what it contained. Turned out it was a cache of letters, cards, jokes and Top Ten Lists received from him from way back in the early 90s when we had just started becoming friends and were bonding over our shared love of baseball. I was laughing so hard it hurt by the time I got to the end of the stack. The item on top is from a Baseball Trivia calendar I gave him which made mention of the little known 4th Alou brother, Boog, who quit baseball to become a record producer. It was the April 1st entry, and is still one of my favorite stupid jokes.

12:37 p.m. - Also found a card announcing a 1995 art show for Tony's other best friend Scott (aka Lamar Smith). This is one of Scott's paintings from that show. I always loved the dreamy quality of his work in this set of paintings. I'm fortunate to have some of Scott's paintings in my home. I love having something done by an artist I really know - it means so much more than just having a random painting by some dead artist.

4:26 p.m. - Took a drug-induced nap and then woke up to face several more hours of boredom. But there in my in-box was a message from my old friend JD - a link to the movie Animal Crackers - Classic! JD always comes through when I need him to entertain me (and not just because he feels guilty because I fell retrieving a package I was mailing to him. ;-)) Love you babe, and thanks for helping to keep me sane over the last couple of days. Your friendship is a gift from "Gos."

5:40 p.m. - Took a little break from the movie and hobbled out to the front porch to sit for a spell so I could get some fresh air (i.e. pollen and jet fuel). This is my bonus photo because it is sort of a recreation of one I had in the January 2008 12 of 12 taken from about 15 feet further back on my front porch.

7:12 p.m. - Back inside and trying to find something new to photograph. Extreme close-up on the fake hydrangea in the powder room...

7:15 p.m. - and weird angle on a candelabra with a Cloisonne butterfly I got on a trip to visit my aunt up in the North Georgia mountains.

And so, if my counting ability is still working through the haze, that's 12 plus a bonus. Hope next month's 12 of 12 will take me far, far away from this house, these couple of rooms and all this pain. See you then.