Hangover

Someday’s one wakes up and just drags the rest of the waking hours yawning, and desiring sleep even after eight hours of uninterrupted slumber. It is now four hours since hauling myself out of bed to take on a new day. Finally, it occurred to me that drinking a bottle of wine followed by a vodka chaser may not have been such a good idea last eve. When will I learn that mixing booze is not smart? Or maybe that too much booze is not healthy either.

Sunday, October 15, 1961

Writing should be easy today, but it isn’t. My fingers feel heavy and reluctant to find the keys. My mind seems to be in low gear struggling to climb the hill without any power. I need to downshift and get some torque going or I’ll never get to the peak. A memory pops into mind of my first long car trip in nineteen sixty-two when I drove a Volkswagen Bug across country. It was dark and I was tired, and I was passing through the high Sierras somewhere in northern California. This was before Interstate travel and limited grades. I screamed down hills at full speed headed toward pegging the speedometer at seventy-five. All thirty-nine horses were galloping full speed. Then, the tiny bug reached the vale and began the ascent of the next endless hill that extended into the black sky beyond the reach of the headlights. Passing anybody in the way until the speed dropped to sixty, then fifty, then down shifting into third gear to keep the engine pulling at max effort, then down to second and eventually into first gear and that is where the little bug that could stayed roaring away at full throttle and straining at fifteen mph eventually dropping to five miles per hour toward the apex. It seemed like eternity before reaching the crown, and the process reversed shifting through the gears to pick up speed and then bottoming at max speed before losing velocity up the next hill.

That was a long night driving that road, but I made it through in good shape because I knew how to shift gears and change with the need. Eventually, the little bug that could made it across America and back to Illinois. I learned why I wanted a car with more horsepower on that trip, thirty-nine horses is not enough to pull a lightweight car like the bug up those endless long hills. My gas mileage was great, but I paid for it with time and effort shifting gears. I didn’t learn my lesson too quickly however because I traded my bug for a high powered forty horsepower VW Karmann Ghia.

Hangovers are the body’s way of sending the owner a message about the dangers of pushing life limits too far. Although I am enjoying the solitude of this day my body is screaming at me with a warning to sl-o-o-ow down. My heart pump is working overtime trying to transport oxygen to all the sister components needed to sustain life. No doubt the fluid of life flowing within is also altered with too much alcohol and thus is not as effective as it could be. Brain power is severely limited and response to suggestion is sluggish. Like the little bug that could I feel like I am roaring at max effort to climb an imaginary hill that is seemingly endless. Hopefully, as the day wears on the crest will appear and the effort required to climb will ease a bit.

In the meantime, I don’t think I am going to drink like that again.

A Dark Stormy Day

A week ago I posted a piece titled Dreams. In order to enhance the piece I added some photos from my collection of family pictures. I found two pictures that I was looking for for years. I remembered these shots very clearly. I accidentally found them on that day. What this did was to open a brain lobe to memories from long ago. The photo of the beautiful young lady posing with the VW bug is burned into my memory forever. The day I took this photo was October 15, 1961. I remember because the photo was of my two first loves. My wife Barbara, and my first car. October 15 is one day after Barb and I got married. The place was on the Lake Michigan shoreline near the Adler Planetarium. One could say this was the first page of the first chapter of our love story.

Sunday morning a summer storm raced through Frankfort. At five a.m. I rolled out of bed to make pit stop, and the morning sky was bright blue with July sunshine. I jumped back in bed and was sleeping soundly for the second time when thunder and lightening woke me up at eight-thirty. The day was dark and stayed dark all morning and into the early afternoon. The storm did not be finish until late afternoon. It is the kind of day that Barb and I would have said let’s just spend the day in bed lolling around. Often on days like this we did just that, with one exception lolling evolved into loving, and loving took us back into deep sleep. My how a person can dig up these memories from so long ago, in this case it has been fifty-nine years. In my mind I long to return to those days, but my body tells me no, don’t even try. Number-one I don’t have a partner any more, and number-two my libido has all but disappeared, and three, if I did have a drop of libido left it wouldn’t be enough to make the magic happen.

Between the gloomy day, and finding those old pictures I started looking at photos from days gone by. Like when my kids were little, and then their wedding pictures and all the way up to the birth of their kids. I finally began slowing down taking pictures when the grandkids were in college.

I have seven natural grand children and three step grand children from Peggy. Of the seven one is now a pharmacist, her sister is a nurse their brother is a junior at Texas A&M University studying Astro Engineering. My Daughter’s son is a chef, his sister is a junior in high school, and my oldest son’s oldest son is a junior in high school, his young brother is just starting high school. Ding Dong! The door bell rings, and my daughter arrives with her husband. This post stops.

Now it is Monday, and I have lost the thread of thinking that started this post. It had something to do with old pictures, but I lost the direction I was headed in. Right now I must change the theme and wake up another brain cell to complete this story. All I can conjure is that after finding two old pictures on a very gloomy stormy day I spent an hour looking through my file of 26,000 digital photos to open many old memories. The day went by fast.

I think I was headed in the direction of how time flies, and reviewing old photos reminds us of that time. I often remark to my friends how quickly the days pass, and then remind myself that when the days begin to drag my clock spring may be wearing out. Eventually, the days will drag to the point of making life unbearable. Since Peggy died my days seem longer, and I believe that dragging time in my life is nearing, I can tell.

Dull Day

It must have been all the partying I did on Father’s day but today, I’m feeling punk, no energy, no motivation, no desire for anything. I forced myself to take a walk during the hottest part of the early afternoon, and I am glad because it started raining shortly after I returned. We had a typical summer thunder boomer with high wind, hail, and lots of heavy rain. Now, we are in after rain stillness. It is the kind of day when one would benefit by taking a nap.

Summer has officially arrived in Illinois and for once we had a normal spring which transitioned into a summer. The past few years we had winter followed by a couple days of really cold spring followed by the heat of peak summer. In other words no smooth transition.

COVID-19 is still around here with fifty new cases in our county today. We also have an abundance of testing sites. Manufacturing companies are screening employees in the parking lot before they are even allowed to park. If one has a temperature he just keeps on driving to return home. The attitude in general still prevails with masks and social distancing unless you are in an outdoor eating and drinking establishment. Evidently the virus does not like outdoor eating and drinking.

This morning I had to make a deliberate trip to the gas station to fuel up. Why? my tank showed one gallon left. It is the driest I have ever allowed my car to get in the past fifteen years. I use the dash board display which shows the number of miles remaining in the tank and have always gotten fuel when approaching 100 miles remaining. Today, the meter showed twenty-five miles left.

When I was a young man and my first car was a Volkswagen bug I had the habit of running out of gas with great regularity. The bug didn’t have a gas gauge, but when the tank level reached one gallon the car started to cough and stall and hesitate. That was the signal for the driver to stretch his leg to the firewall and move a lever from vertical to horizontal. That little trick opened the tank to allow the final gallon of gas to be burned. If I was within thirty-five miles of a station I was safe. If not, I walked. When I first bought the car I used the final gallon trick constantly, except I kept running out of gas. It turned out that the final gallon valve didn’t work. I kept complaining to the German service agent at the dealer that the thing didn’t function. He only stared at me in misbelief and refused to check it out. In order to convince him that the valve didn’t work I ran the car out of gas, and my dad towed me to the dealership. I didn’t tell them what the problem was, I just told them the car would not start. A day later they called to tell me the car was fixed. Dad drove me to the dealer and I retrieved my bug. I asked what the problem was and the answer was. . . drum roll, the gas valve didn’t work, and they replaced it. I never ran out of gas again.

A year later I traded the bug for a brand spanking new Karmann Ghia. What a beaut it was. It was really just a bug dressed in Italian clothes. It still relied on the final gallon gas valve for gauging the fuel. On days when I forgot to refill and I knew it was low, I’d take my wife’s car to work and leave her with instructions to go to the gas station before she went anywhere. On several occasions she ran out of gas within a few yards of the fueling station. Poor lady would end up pushing the damn thing the final fifty feet. She never forgave me those incidents and was always my talking gas gauge afterwards. Whenever we got into the car together her first words were “do you have gas?”

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