Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll goes OFF THE GRID! She writes:

I am back in Alexandria, MN, visiting my 91-year-old father whom I hadn’t seen for nearly six months. I will be here for my mother’s yahrzeit (anniversary of her passing). In the great cycle of life, it was also a chance to see the newest member of the family, my nephew’s beautiful little newborn boy.

It was a great reminder that life not only goes on, but that there is life beyond politics. We would all be so much happier and healthier if we kept this in mind, if only occasionally. (Even you Power Line boys. I have no idea how you organize your duty roster, but everybody should get at least one day to chill each week. We will all survive.)

I had been consumed with packing for a two-week trip, the early morning flight, the rental car process, the family gathering at my nephew’s in the Twin Cities for a Carb-o-licious Brunch at which I ate one, or possibly five doughnuts and a few muffins the size of my head. I had advised my nephew to get “mini” muffins, but he thought the ones on offer were way too mini. And other guests brought the unauthorized dang doughnuts, as close as it comes to crack cocaine for me. Sigh. Without Mr. AG to monitor me, I was like a cow in a cornfield.

There followed the 140-mile trip north of the Twin Cities to settle in to my home-away-from-home hotel for the 12-day visit. It was a balmy 61 degrees, sunny, but with a fierce wind that did not bode entirely well.

At some point, I realized that I had not watched a television or opened my laptop in three days, can you imagine? And you know what? The wretched outside world went on quite merrily without me. It was very restful. I bounced a smiley baby for two of those days, conversed with every family member, and cried through an entire novel about a dog.

Sure, there were dozens and dozens of emails, almost all of them from people wanting my money. Purveyors of citrus fruit, pears, chocolates, cars and clothing let me know that they missed me. Perhaps I have forgotten that my second-cousin, once removed, has a birthday coming up in just two months and would dearly love some more pears? Would I care to peruse online the St. Patrick’s Day catalogue for Harry and David? Am I interested in trading in my perfectly-excellent four-year-old Hyundai for a new one?

In my absence, President Trump evidently slipped his leash and Tweeted startling things – surely not! – and his adversaries-in-perpetuity responded with their usual hysteria. An Executive Order got rewritten and the GOP, which has only had seven short years to think up an alternative to Obamacare, maybe possibly has come up with a rough draft to replace the unsustainable 3,000 page monstrosity.

They remind me of O.J. Simpson, who, in his criminal trial, had no credible story for where he was when the limo came to take him to the airport for his alibi flight. (Hitting golf balls in the dark? Napping so he could be wide awake for his Red Eye Flight?) And several years later, in his civil trial, he STILL didn’t have any better story despite many months to think one up.

But, see, I’ve already meandered back into the political area. In about an hour I am going to take my father for a haircut. It will be the highlight of our day, An Outing! Everything about the process is slow, and that’s O.K. Last night we had a “fancy” dinner out: shrimp at Perkins. He takes a considerable time to walk from his cute little Assisted Living apartment to the outside door where I have, possibly illegally, parked the car. We remove the petrified cookie wrapped in a napkin from the basket on his walker so we can fold it up and stow it in the trunk (the walker, not the cookie). I joke with him that he better behave lest I fulfill a lifelong ambition to tell him, “Don’t make me stop this car.”

When we get to his barber today, he will be admonished to stay in the car out of the fierce, cold wind while I retrieve his walker and make it stable. Did I mention that to welcome me back to Minnesota, it went from 61 to 25 overnight, plus added light snow? It goes without saying that the wind remained, in fact increased.

We may get a cuppa Joe after the shearing and we plan to watch Sully tonight if either of us can figure out his DVD player and he hasn’t lost the remote yet. When it comes to electronics, it’s the blind leading the blind with Daddy and me. Maybe somebody will be visiting the facility with a five-year-old.

I will try to make him laugh and we will talk about happy memories.

It looks like, politically, the next four to eight years will be filled with bitterness, acrimony, and rage at a level I’ve never seen in my considerable lifetime. My advice, dear friends, is to take one or even two days a week and just DISCONNECT – from your phone, from your computer, from the television. That level of hatred and anger is toxic.

Hang out with the little people in your life if you are lucky to have them, and the elders, if you are luckier still. Learn and write down family history; take photos. Laugh. Read a good book. See a play. Go to a concert. Political crap comes and goes, and usually we can’t do a damn thing about it; each crisis lasts for a few days or weeks and then is replaced by a brand new one. Family is forever. Or so we think. And then, one day, it’s not. As the late Robin Williams advised in Dead Poets Society, “Carpe diem.”

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