“You are not going out with that boy unless his parents are driving and that's that. I'm not just Spitting Grits here, young lady!”

. . . My father, John Thomas Cravey, USAF, to me in 1956.

The Moral of the Story

I almost didn’t go. Here’s what would have happened had I not gone:
The situation that almost held me back from going would have unfolded anyway – it is still unfolding – and I would have missed two big events. I would have missed standing at the edge of the Pacific Ocean while reunioning with my AHS Class of ’61 pals in Lincoln City, Oregon, and coming home to a memorable Welcome Home party.
DSC00999Standing at the edge of the Pacific

Welcome Home

Despite having grown up as an Air Force brat and lived a bunch of places, I’ve only stood at the edge of or seen the Pacific Ocean once before, in San Diego, where the Pacific’s sanguine nature lures even the most timid of temperaments. The Pacific of the Oregon coast can be phlegmatic, boisterous, hostile, even angry. Only the bold venture beyond the beauty of its shoreline.
First, what is unfolding: I mentioned in my last post that on September 1 last year a cold-contact e-mail popped into my in-box, from some stranger in Austria, which I almost deleted. Thank goodness I didn’t, as that one e-mail has led me, my sister, Susan, and my cousin Emory on a fantastic journey to discover the real story behind my father’s World War II bailout over the Alps, the plane’s crash, and dad’s eventual survival. There will be lots and lots more to come on that story.
Second, I would have missed our mini-reunion in Oregon. The year before, June 2011, the AHS Class of ’61 held its 50th high school reunion in Anchorage, Alaska. A group of us from the lower 48, many from the West Coast, met in Vancouver, Canada, to begin a cruise to Anchorage via Alaska’s magnificent Inside Passage to Seward where we boarded a bus to the reunion. Last year I had a lot to say about that.
And third, Joanna Leigh had a wonderful surprise party waiting for me when I got home. I walked in the house at 8 p.m. from the Birmingham airport. She threw open the door from the kitchen to the dining room, and THERE IT ALL WAS, in all its splendor. My husband said she had gotten started on this surprise on Saturday after I left on Thursday. She had roamed around the dining room in the china cabinets, buffet, drawers, everywhere. And VOILA.

She had decorated with silver, china, crystal, the cake plate, these funky footed cupcake holders, a Happy Birthday Princess banner I had used at her birthday party, ribbons, her bandana, you name it. The whole scene was topped off with her Dora umbrella sticking out of my grandmother’s silver water pitcher. She embellished everything, like putting princess and fairy stickers on the crystal wine glasses. And a present from me that she had gotten on Monday at her ballet store: A DIAMOND bracelet in a gift sack.

She is a Priss Pot, embellisher, accessorizer, decorator, none of which she gets from me. Honest.
Then came the scary part. Bright and early Thursday, 7:30 a.m., after finally getting home late Wednesday night from Portland, I had to go in for an appointment with my internist. Oh, shit, I thought. What is he going to find in my system?
I really didn’t want to have to get on blood pressure or cholesterol medicine, but I knew he’d put me on it if I really flunked bad. So, I had it all mapped out what I would say. “Look, about the blood alcohol level, the weight gain, the cholesterol, my blood pressure. . . .”
“Yes,” he said, “your numbers are great. You’ve dropped 50 points on your cholesterol, lost a few pounds. . . .” I sat there dumbfounded. “What do you attribute this to” he asked. I sat there.
Then I said, “Well, laughing my head off for five days in Oregon.” What else could I say? I am NOT making this up.
The moral of the story is: If you want to shine in your internist’s office, go somewhere fabulous to meet up with old friends; then eat, drink, and laugh. It works wonders.

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