My son H and daughter-in-law V are in Belgium, working on a cattle farm, living WITH the land. They’ve helped deliver four calves, one by C-section. Other son J, daughter-in-law L, and Mr. Pomp-adore are leaving NYC.
Meanwhile, I’m restless. It’s the particular time of year, approaching the anniversary of my husband Charles’s death. I have an urge to molt and bolt. I want to shed all my STUFF, except what fits in a small suitcase, and flee. I just don’t have a destination.
Complicating all this is my little unit here, Laura and Erma. We’re the Sisterhood, and we’ve added Casey, even though she’s much younger. She’s the nurse among our clan. Laura has Raynaud’s, Erma has allergies and asthma, I’ve developed allergies to pine and oak, and Casey has two children at home. So, where to go that’s suitable for three with infirmities and one with two boys in high school?
Yet with so much indecision bumper-car colliding in my cranium, I’ve made a clear-headed choice, worthy of publicity and mucho fun-raisers. (Please note the elimination of “d” in the preceding sentence.)
Ta-da ……….. I’m running for president.
Allow me to introduce the first female president of the USA! USA! USA!: Missy Beattie.
I’ve catalogued my qualifications for you previously, in another article—some time ago. I remember writing that I have business experience—had a yard sale once. And I can balance a budget.
Here’s an illustration:
When Charles was chairman of his department at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, a colleague recommended a plan for saving money—the envelope system. Charles came home and enthusiastically explained that we should determine reasonable amounts spent on groceries, clothing, gasoline, dry cleaning, and entertainment. At the beginning of the month, we’d place cash in the envelopes, each labeled for its purpose: groceries, entertainment, etc. If an envelope was depleted before time to replenish, someone wanting something from the empty category was shit out of luck: “Too bad, no gas for YOUR car this week.” I wasn’t keenly interested in participating in the frugality but reluctantly agreed.
One morning near the end of the month, Charles said, “Honey, I’m craving leg of lamb.” I looked in the grocery envelope, waved it in his face.
“Darlin’, I’m sorry. There’s not enough cash for leg of lamb. Maybe next month.” We laughed. Because we could. Because we were fortunate in not HAVING to practice this austerity. Still, we exercised discipline and continued the experiment for months.
Sooooooo, I sincerely believe my capabilities qualify me to stand resolute against anyone demanding more, more, more for drones, drones, drones, war, war, war.”
I definitely could say:
“Gen. Dempsey, I just took a looksee and the multi-millions of monthly dollars in the envelope, Overseas Contingency Operations, are gone, will not be funded. Nothing left for ravaging ANOTHER country. Close the military bases.”
“I’ve created a Department of Peace envelope.”
“Ashton, Ashton, Ashton, the Israel envelope is EMPTY. Time to sever THAT umbilical cord.”
“The reparations envelope is bulging, as is the envelope to prosecute the Bush and Obama Administrations for crimes against humanity.”
“There’s plenty in the infrastructure envelope, the restoration of social programs envelope, a guaranteed income envelope, universal healthcare from cradle to grave…”
And later, I’d remind them why I was elected president—that I campaigned on something I borrowed from Jeb Bush, words that required a little tweaking: “I’m my own woman.”
Okay, I’m embarrassed by all the me, me, me self-promotion, so I’ll close now with: “You’re welcome.”
Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Baltimore. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org