Ch. 7

Rollin' rollin' rollin'. Rollin' rollin' rollin'. Rollin' rollin' rollin' the big stainless-steel box on wheels ~ the cart ~ the cart full of nutritious meals, piping hot & on time. Yours truly is rollin' it up & down the hallways of the Veterans Administration Hospital, never running into anybody, never knocking over any patients in wheelchairs, just an occasional "wet-floor" sign.

I push the cart with florish & swerve into the elevator, crack jokes hilarious & witty with the elevator gang. I push the cart tactfully out & around the corner missing by inches the group of doctors in the hallway discussing grave matters. We're rollin', the hot meals & me. We're rollin' into the future, our destiny, and it's spring.

The birds tweeter. It's tempting to discard my long-johns. Blooming trees. Allergy sneeze. Pretty knees. Cutie-pie squeeze!

We're rollin' rollin' rollin' ~ the big stainless-steel cart full of hot meals & I ~ along a back desert trail, beneath the balmy spring sky, pacing a long graceful red-racer snake!

I expertly bring the speeding cart to a halt at the first patient's room in the first ward of the evening, park close to the wall almost out of the way of anybody passing by. I swing the cart door open, slip outta the cart the poor man's piping-hot meal on a tray, covered, accouterments perfectly placed.

I enter.

The patient, a wizened old man winking & blinking, is hanging upside-down from the ceiling like a bat. Both his arms are cut-off. His face is flushed red, probably from hanging upside-down up there.

"Food service," I announce.

Just when I'm about to place his meal on the table next to his bed, he requests, "Would you please place it on the ceiling."

Dumbfounded, tray in hand, piping-hot meal growing cold, I reply, "But, sir, I cannot reach the ceiling."

"Throw it up here." he grumpily, impatiently demands. "Some of it is bound to stick." The stumps of his arms, wrapped in bloody bandages, wiggle back in forth in a sorry attempt to motion me to hurry.

I attempt to argue instead, "Yes, but, but..."

The dream fades, ends. I'm in my UFO tent, snug & warm in my recently adopted sleeping-bag culture. I sigh with relief. And in the starry starry forest night I howl like a coyote. The echo resounds from tree to tree to tree.

A moment later my protective neighbor, the owl, softly hoots.




top two photos:

Keren, daring Arizona belly dancer

at the bottom:

A delightfully congenial mariachi group strums along in the lobby

of the Albuquerque, New Mexico, VA hospital.