As I sit on the sun-warmed dock at this vacation lake deep in the North Woods to the north, I struggle with mixed feelings: In a way, I feel as cool as yesterday’s gazpacho, as mellow as wet cement, as laid back as road-kill, (post-rigor mortis).
Yet I feel so distracted that I can’t remember basic things, like whether the North Woods would still be the North Woods if you lived to the north of them. Or would they then be the South Woods?
The reason for all the anxiety: I have no idea if our house back home (to the south) has blown up. (Oddly, if I happened to be a bit north of here and these woods were suddenly the South Woods, my home would still be to the south, unless the South Woods were actually south of my house, in which case I probably would be unable to see the forest for the trees.)
My fear that our house has blown up is probably irrational. In fact, K-Mac has just rolled her eyes and said in her “BINGO!” voice “OF COURSE IT HASN’T BLOWN UP!”
I note, however, that as we are 500 miles away from our house (probably to the south, unless it has blown up north) how can she be so sure it’s still in regular eens and not smithereens?
Usually, when we head north to the peaceful and care-free North Woods, I ask the neighbors on either side of us to call in case the house blows up. It’s always better to know right away that your house has vaporized, as opposed to turning down your street in the last moments of your vacation — the final verse to “Ninety Nine Thousand Bottles of Beer on the Wall” trilling softly from your lips — when suddenly you notice a smoldering crack in the earth where the house used to be.
So far, the neighbors haven’t had to reach us with explosive bad news. And whenever I’ve called from the North Woods with an anxious “House still standing?” or “What was that loud noise?” they’ve always responded with good-natured ribbing in their “HELP! MURDER! POLICE! voices, suggesting we are “CERTIFIABLE LUNATICS!”
“Keep me out of this,” K-Mac explained last year. She then texted the neighbors “That’s lunatic without an s.”
This year, however, all the neighbors have gone on vacation the same week. Not only can’t they verify that our house is still standing, we can’t call them, as we did last year when they were away, and say “I think I hear a fuse hissing in your garage. Have notified bomb squad. Stay tuned.”
It turned out not to be a bomb, but as the chief of the bomb squad explained to me after breaking down the neighbor’s garage door “While it’s always better to be safe than sorry, I think in your case it’s better to put your sorry butt in a safe, wrap it in a large chain and drop it into the Marianas Trench.”*
I wasn’t offended. I know they kid because they love.
Anyway, I’ve decided to put my anxieties into the hands of a higher power. Mr. Big, of course, is way too busy with serious issues (Putin’s shirtlessness and endless prayers begging for the return of human beings** to Congress). That’s why there are saints. I fired off a prayer to the patron saint of home blow-up prevention, St. Krakatonius.
Dear St. Krak
Please talk Mr. Big into keeping our home safe from things that could blow it up while we’re in the North Woods (up north), such as dynamite, nitroglycerine and/or the leftovers from K-Mac’s famous but highly flammable Gunpowder Baked Beans that we forgot to put in the fridge before we left.
Please keep our home safe from those who would blow it up, such as terrorists, arsonists and careless burglars who refuse to step outside the house to smoke. Also, please…Wait! Did you hear that loud noise? Let me get back to you. I have to Google “House Explosions, Maryland” (down south***).
*Not to be confused with Mary Anna’s Deep Dish Apple Pie.
**Preferably with cojones.
***Can’t rule out the possibility that it’s down north.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2014, all rights reserved.