Becoming a Preschooler

No one ever told me that passing 50 meant I would become a preschooler.

I’ll explain.

Recently, I felt I deserved an extra dose of happiness, better known as a chili dog. It was an hour before dinner so I figured it was an appetizer. It was also top secret, meaning my wife was never supposed to know about it. 

Big mistake. 

I purchased my extra dose of happiness from the cheapest fast food place available, pulled into the street, and took an enormous bite all the while trying to balance my food so it wouldn’t drip the overdone chili into my lap. 

My happiness turned to sorrow when my first bite got stuck in my esophagus.

I parked in front of a Burger King and stood to my feet, thinking that would help. It didn’t. 

I raised my arms over my head to help the food go down. It didn’t.

I took a big drink of soda thinking it would force it down. It didn’t. Instead, the drink mixed with the chili and I vomited it all over the Burger King parking lot which I’m sure was an appetizing site for those inside the restaurant window while trying to enjoy their Whopper.

Fortunately, I could breathe, but the food was still stuck in my throat. 

I drove home, stopping to spit up in front of various homes and businesses. Finally I walked through my front door, thinking that being home and seeing my wife would magically cause the food to go down. It didn’t. 

In between non productive vomiting spells, I explained the situation to my wife. Very calmly, she grabbed her purse and keys and said, “Come on, let’s take you to the doctor.” 

As she drove me to the nearest urgent care, I sat with a garbage pail between my knees and realized she wasn’t going to destroy me over this. 

Later, in the examination room, I managed to tell a doctor about what had happened. The doctor, who was at least 13, nodded without saying much. She left the room and came back with what she called an upper G.I. cocktail.

“Drink this,” she said. “It will relax your throat and help you swallow.”

“If I drink that, I’ll throw up,” I said.

“No you won’t,” she said. 

So, I drank the cocktail and instantly threw it back up in the small sink.

“Ooo, that’s pretty gross,” she said. Not sure I’ve ever heard a medical professional say that in front of a patient before. “Let me get you another one.”

Thankfully, the second dose relaxed my esophagus and my food finally found its home in my stomach. I thanked my doctor, wished her luck at her upcoming Jr. High Homecoming dance, and drove home.

The moment I parked the car, my wife went berzerk. Her eyes grew to the size of basketballs and stared straight into my soul. Her mouth opened wide enough to swallow giant watermelons. Her mouth moved so fast that I heard the boom of the sound barrier break. Our neighbors opened their doors to see if some sort of explosion had taken place. 

I deserved it. She was right. 

Now, in regards to food, I feel like a preschooler. My wife regularly reminds me what I can and cannot eat and does so almost daily. I get the privilege of trying to digest kale and passing on most fast food delights. I often get the stink eye when ordering in restaurants. Sometimes, I even have to change my order because I’ve made the wrong choices.

Yeah, it’s the little things that make you feel loved. And even though I complain, I have to admit that she loves me. I know it’s her way of showing me. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I just heard the recess bell ring.

Thank You…

It’s etched into my memory. 

From the back seat of our gold Chevy Impala, the small white tombstones seemed to go on forever. My daddy explained to me that these graves contained the bodies of Veterans who had served our country to protect our freedom.

“Did all of them die in the war?” I asked.

“Many of them did,” he said. 

“Ok,” I replied, looking out at the tombstones once again, thankful that one of them wasn’t marking my daddy’s grave.

Daddy served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 22 years. He spent two tours of duty in Vietnam and continued to serve his country even when he returned to less than honorable fanfare.

He didn’t do it for the fanfare.

He did it for me. He did it for my Mama and my sisters and their families. He did it for you and your family and for families across this nation.

He wasn’t alone. He served alongside countless others in the armed forces that we call our Veterans. Brave men and women, giving of themselves for the rest of us.

On this Marine Corps birthday (Nov 10th), on the eve of Veteran’s Day (Nov 11th), I echo the words of Pastor Rick Warren in honoring our Veterans. 

“It’s important for everyone to remember who it is who has secured the freedoms we enjoy.

It’s our Veterans, not reporters, who give us the freedom of the press.

It’s our Veterans, not poets, who give us the freedom of speech.

It’s our Veterans, not political organizers, who give us the freedom to assemble.

It’s our Veterans, not lawyers, who give us the freedom to have a fair trial.

It’s our Veterans, not politicians, who give us the freedom to vote.

It’s our Veterans, not preachers, who give us the freedom to worship publicly.”

To those of you who serve or who have served, especially my dad, on behalf of a grateful nation and a grateful son, “Thank you.”

*Photo courtesy of Suzy Turbenson